The Rise and Collapse of Villages in the Central Mesa Verde Region

Timothy A. Kohler

in Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780520270145
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520951990 | DOI:
The Rise and Collapse of Villages in the Central Mesa Verde Region

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The large-scale trends in immigration and emigration that we document for the VEP study area are due primarily to the effects of low-frequency variability in temperature; the VEP area becomes too risky for farming if temperatures decrease much below the long-term mean. Lack-of-fit between the real and simulated demographies after about AD 920 is due to the absence of low-frequency variability in our maize production estimates and the lack of an "outside option" for our agents, who cannot escape the VEP study area. Labor estimates through time collected from our agents suggest that at the population maximum in the mid-AD 1200s, people would have had to work undesirably long hours to make a living. Aggregation increases with population density and degree of violence. The earliest populations in the study area were less aggregated than expected by the model. At the end of the first cycle and during most of the second cycle, farmers in the real archaeological record were markedly more aggregated than our agents. This "unexpected aggregation" can be used as a measure for the increasing returns to human social groups through cooperation, which is not simulated by our agents.

Keywords: temperature; violence; increasing returns to scale; cooperation; intensification; great houses; Chaco; turkey; Village Ecodynamics Project

Chapter.  10034 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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