San Juan Basin Archaeological Society
Chapter of the Colorado
The San Juan Basin Archaeological Society... exploring, learning about, and
Next SJBAS Meeting
Fort Lewis College
The next SJBAS meeting will be held on Thursday, September 11th, at the Lyceum in the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College. After a brief business meeting, Dr. Raymond Mueller will present: Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction along the Río Verde, Oaxaca, Mexico or how Pre-Hispanic, Human Landscape Degradation Affected the Archaeology of Both the Upper and Lower Regions of a Drainage Basin.
Geoarchaeology is a subset of
the field of paleoenvironmental reconstruction and
is used to rebuild the environmental setting during
some pastarchaeological site occupation.
During the early stages of this project,
close to the Pacific coast, it became difficult to
explain the differences we were seeing in past
environments and archaeology using local
After a chance observation during a trip the
following year we realized that a possible solution
could be found in the highly populated (sites like
Monte Alban, Mitla, Yagul, etc.) highlands of the
Extensive investigation of arroyo exposures
in the Oaxaca Highlands revealed the ubiquitous
presence of buried paleosols.
These paleosols represent stable landsurfaces
separated by sediments from erosion of adjacent hill
Radiocarbon dating of 36 samples indicated that most
of the hill slope erosion and valley alluviation
occurred prior to Spanish Conquest.
Radiocarbon dates of paleosols show several
periods of sedimentation.
Mid-Holocene dates are probably associated
with climate change; more recent periods of erosion
are correlated with major changes in pre-Hispanic
land use (primarily deforestation).
Highland erosion led to profound geomorphic
and archaeological changes along the lower Río Verde
valley near the Pacific Ocean.
A network of abandoned stream channels, with
little surface expression, was revealed during
extensive soil and sediment auguring. Radiocarbon
dating of organic-rich channel sediments associated
with archaeological sites provided the means to
develop a model of changes in floodplain
Channels changed both position and form as the
sediment load increased due to changing land use in
the highland portion of the drainage basin.
Increased sediment load also formed bay
barrier islands and enclosed previously open bays,
creating new food-rich environments. These
environmental changes then influenced demography and
settlement patterns along the Lower Río Verde and
adjacent coastal areas over the last few thousand
Dr. Raymond Mueller (aka, brother of Jim) began his graduate education studying the relationship between Geomorphology and Soil Genesis. His undergraduate education was at SUNY-Buffalo with graduate education at Montana State University and the University of Kansas. Shortly after getting a faculty position at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, a series of serendipitous events resulted in a change in interest to Geoarchaeology. Early research looking at environmental change and archaeology was concentrated in the Mid-Atlantic region. He has also conducted research in Israel and other locations in the US. Dr. Mueller’s main area of research is in Oaxaca, Mexico where he has been doing research for the past 26 years.
Moki Messenger2014 CAS Fundraiser for the Alice Hamilton Scholarship Fund
Follow this link for information about the CAS raffle:http://coloradoarchaeology.org/BULLETINBOARD/Raffle-Flyer-CAS-2014.pdf
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