By Timothy A. Kohler
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Additional resources for Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages: Models of Central Mesa Verde Archæology
However, the bases of these summary interpretations were too 26 the ancestral pueblo occupation variable across surveyors and have changed too much over time for us to rely only on these data to infer the occupational histories of sites in our research. We needed to reinterpret the observations recorded for individual sites in light of our current knowledge of the local archaeological record. For a number of reasons, we pursued a formal (algorithmic) approach to this problem. First, the number of recorded sites is so large that it would have been impractical to revisit sites or evaluate each site form individually.
The date of building construction on these sites can be established with remarkable precision using tree-ring dating. By matching growth patterns of preserved timbers to a master sequence maintained at the University of Arizona’s Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, it is often possible to establish the exact calendar year during which a specimen was harvested for use in construction. Because of the considerable amount of excavation in this region, the common preservation of charred construction timbers in open-air sites, and the preservation of both charred and uncharred timbers in dry alcove sites, the ancestral Pueblo society of the Mesa Verde region is quite likely the most precisely dated nonliterate village agricultural society in the world.
2007:Table 2 for references). These data proved critical for the methods developed by the VEP to estimate the occupational histories of all ancestral Pueblo sites in the study area, from the largest village to the smallest hamlet. With this background on the study area in place, the remainder of this chapter focuses on the archaeological site database we developed for the VEP, the methods we used to analyze these data, and summary statements on the ancestral Pueblo settlement history of the area.