The Spatial Autocorrelation of Risk to Food Shortfall across Prehistoric Landscapes in the Southwestern United States
Through the Long-Term Vulnerability and Transformation Project at Arizona State University, our research explores the relationship between ecological and social diversity and how these measures of diversity relate to vulnerability to food shortfall in our archaeological case studies. One piece of understanding the vulnerability to failing to produce enough food is defining the risk factors that may limit crop production on a given landscape. Multiple complex socioecological variables need to be considered when defining how prehistoric communities in the Southwestern United States mediated this risk of agricultural failure. Using large spatial archaeological, historical, and ecological datasets in a GIS database, ecological risk factors are mapped and defined for each case study to understand how often different patches of the landscape may fail to produce crops across space and time. Focusing on one of our case studies – the Zuni region in New Mexico – this poster will present how to model the ecological variables that may limit crop production in this region and define how the spatial autocorrelation of risk varies across the Zuni region during different climatic regimes. By creating this ecological “risk landscape,” we can then begin to address the social strategies, such as storage or reliance on social networks, which were employed across the American Southwest when faced with food shortfall.