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On the Turquoise Road: Millennium-Long Seasonal Moisture Proxies from the Aztec to Anasazi Areas
Presented by Dr. David STAHLE on 14 May 2013 from 14:30 to 14:50
Type: Oral Presentation
Session: Climate of Recent Millennia I
Track: Climate of recent millennia
Turquoise, parrots, and other goods appear to have been exchanged between the ancient Southwest and central Mexico during the Classic and Post-Classic Eras. Exchange along the ‘Turquoise Road’ brought at least some Mesoamerican ideas into the Southwest, notably at Casas Grandes, Chihuahua (Paquime), and Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Major questions remain about the importance, timing, and climate dynamics of these connections, but dendrochronology has helped to constrain the chronology of this long-distance exchange. New seasonal moisture proxies have been developed from ancient trees in Mesoamerica and from old trees augmented with archaeological wood and charcoal in northern Mexico and the Southwest. Moisture reconstructions for the past 1,200-years indicate an unusual sequence of large-scale multidecadal droughts impacting both Mesoamerica and the Southwest during the mid-12th and early 13th Centuries. These simultaneous megadroughts may have contributed to cultural changes and perhaps to decline of long-distance trade along the Turquoise Road.