Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The anthropogenic landscape: Terrace construction methods in the Mixteca Alta region of Oaxaca, Mexico
by Mullen, Kira Leah, M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2013, 200; 1550121
Abstract (Summary)

Despite the multitude of exposed terraces that shape the semi-arid landscape of the Mixteca Alta region of Oaxaca, Mexico, few systematic studies have been conducted on the social organization required to construct and maintain them. Cerro Jazmín, an urban center that was occupied intermittently between 300 BC and AD 1521, contains hundreds of lama-bordo terraces constructed to mitigate erosion and trap fertile topsoil, establishing intensive agriculture in the region (Pérez Rodríguez 2008, 2010; Pérez Rodríguez et al. 2011). Deconstruction, profiling, and analysis of lama-bordo terraces at Cerro Jazmín combined with intensive research of other intensive agricultural systems led to the development of a working model of terrace construction and the degree of social organization required to build and maintain the systems. This thesis examines the hypothesis that agrarian smallholders can be responsible for intensive agricultural practices. After examining the field data, model, and previous research, I concluded that the lama-bordos at Cerro Jazmín could have been built and maintained by agrarian smallholders rather than the State. Today, erosion rates in the present state of Oaxaca are among the highest in the world. Terraces, such as lama-bordos, that held land intact for hundreds of years, are no longer maintained on a large scale. This thesis contributes to a larger body of research that is included in the Cerro Jazmín Archaeological Project (CJAP), directed by Dr. Veronica Pérez Rodríguez.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Downum, Christian E.
Commitee: Anderson, Kirk C., Perez Rodriguez, Veronica, Vasquez, Michael L.
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 52/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: Agricultural terraces, Social organization, Terrace construction methods
Publication Number: 1550121
ISBN: 9781303641053
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