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Emergence and Collapse of Early VillagesModels of Central Mesa Verde Archaeology$
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Timothy Kohler and Mark Varien

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520270145

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520270145.001.0001

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Modeling Agricultural Productivity and Farming Effort

Modeling Agricultural Productivity and Farming Effort

(p.85) Six Modeling Agricultural Productivity and Farming Effort
Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages

Timothy A. Kohler

University of California Press

We describe how we integrated variability in precipitation and temperature through time and across our study area with variabilityin soils to produce plausible estimates of potential maize production for each year from AD 600 to 1300, for each of the 45,400 4-ha cells in the study area. We produce Palmer Drought Severity Indices (PDSIs) as an intermediate step in this process. Tree-ring-widths provide estimates of annual temperature and precipitation variability needed for the PDSIs. Potential production is calibrated from a 30-year mid-twentieth-century series of production records from southwestern Colorado, adjusted to take into account use of prehispanic maize, different prehispanic cultivation practices, and the possibility of soil-nutrient depletion under continuous cultivation. Agents' time budgets for farming the resultant landscape are similar to those documented ethnographically for small-scale societies.

Keywords:   maize, Palmer Drought Severity Index, PDSI, precipitation, temperature, soils, soil depletion, time budgets, farming, Village Ecodynamics Project

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