Environmental History of the Southwest
Study Guide for Exam #2Prehistoric Environments and Cultures
NOTE: The exam will be made up of multiple-choice, fill-in, true-false, and short-answer questions.
PleistoceneHolocene Vegetation and Climate
- Relative to today, describe the climate for each of the following: Late Pleistocene, Early Holocene, Middle Holocene, and Late Holocene.
- How did vegetation of what is now the Sonoran Desert of the American Southwest change from Late Pleistocene to now?
- How did vegetation of Sky Island mountain ecosystems of the American Southwest change from Late Pleistocene to now?
- Define and describe the use of alluvial stratigraphy in paleo-environmental studies in the Southwest.
- Define and describe the use of dendroclimatology in paleo-environmental studies of the Southwest.
- Summarize how climate of the SW has changed over the past 10 to 15 thousand years? Consider various temporal scales.
Early Humans and Megafauna in the SW
- When and where did humans first arrive in North America?
- What are some examples of Pleistocene megafauna?
- What happened to the American megafauna at or near the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary?
- Give arguments for and against the hypotheses that climate change or human overkill caused the extinction of American megafauna at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary.
- Provide an example of a large mammal that survived this time period and give a possible reason for how it survived.
- Give an environmental argument for restoring to the Southwest an animal species that has been extirpated from the wild.
Ancestral Puebloan: Chaco
- Describe the immigration of corn into the Southwest.
- What were the disadvantages and advantages of converting from a nomadic hunting-gathering lifestyle to a sedentary farming lifestyle?
- Know the Chaco time line (human chronology) and unique characteristics (e.g., great houses, kivas, etc.).
- Describe sensitivity analysis in environmental science.
- Describe woodland resource usage at Chaco, both for structural beams and for firewood.
- When did the Chacoans leave Chaco Canyon and surroundings?
- What environmental changes coincided with the Chaco abandonment?
- Are environments naturally stable through time? Can humans alter environments?
Ancestral Puebloan: Mesa Verde and Kayenta
- Know the human chronology (time line) for the Mesa Verde and Kayenta Ancestral Puebloans.
- How were the farming techniques for these two geographical communities different? Why?
- Compare and contrast drought vs. sediment loss as possible environmental factors for Mesa Verde and Kayenta.
- Where might they have gone?
- Are the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) ancestral to the Navajo?
- Know the human chronology for the Hohokam.
- Describe types of constructions unique to the Hohokam (e.g., ball courts, irrigation canals, etc.)
- Differentiate three farming methods used by the Hohokam.
- Describe the environmental zonation concept of the Hohokam.
- Describe soil salinization in desert areas.
- What might have caused Hohokam to abandon their sites? Discuss arguments for and against the alternative hypotheses.
- How is the environmental history of the Hohokam relevant to modern-day Southwesterners?
Mogollon and Sinagua
- Know the human chronology for the Mogollon.
- Discuss some differences (agricultural and subsistence) between the Sinagua and Mogollon.
- What does "riparian" mean, and why is it an important environmental concept?
- When did the Mogollon abandon their sites?
- Discuss environmental differences between Northern and Southern Sinagua.
- How was the eruption of Sunset Crater dated?
- How did the Sunset Crater eruption affect the Northern Sinagua living nearby, both in the short term and the long term?
- What does "substitution of space for time" mean in paleoenvironmental studies?
- Discuss environmental advantages of living in an ecotone.
- Show math on passive solar heating-cooling at Montezuma Castle. Bring numbers.
- Describe cultural/geographical traits of Pecos that made it a "crossroads" (gateway) site.
- Describe the Law of Superposition as a dating tool.
- Describe lifeways of the people of Pecos.
- Pueblo vs. Basketmaker.
- What was the problem with tree-ring dating at Paquimé, and how was it resolved?
- Compare and contrast lifeways of Paquimé with other cultural centers of the SW?
- How was Paquimé a "crossroads" (gateway) site?
- Know about the analysis of historical documents in researching past events.
- Define underlying principles of paleoenvironmental reconstruction that are held in common by (a) analysis of historical documents and (b) analysis of natural archives.
- Know dates of major events of early Spanish contact in the Southwest.
- What broad geographical-environmental differences might have contributed to Europeans effectively dominating Native Americans at their first contact in the New World?
- What environmental innovations did Europeans bring to the Southwest from the Old World?
- What environmental innovations did Europeans learn from Native Americans?
- Know the origin and timing of early Athapaskans in the Southwest.
- What are the basics of glottochronology and how has it been applied to these SW cultures?
- Compare underlying fundamentals of glottochronology versus C14 as dating techniques.
- Are Navajo directly descendant from Ancestral Puebloans? Are Southwestern Apache directly descendant from Mogollon?
- List environmental explanations for the failure of the Bosque Redondo internment.
- Discuss the concept of carrying capacity with respect to Navajo sheep grazing. Bring units.
- Describe notable features of the environmental lifeways of the Apache (i.e., hunting, farming, gathering).
- How might Apache farming be a model for late-Archaic adoption of agriculture.
- Describe peeled trees and how they have been studied.
- Discuss the advantages of minimalist housing used by early Western Apache.
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Revised October, 2017