Biology ETDs

Publication Date



This ecological study is one part of a major archaeological investigation which began in the summer, 1970. The excavation of the pueblo ruins (Laboratory of Anthropology Site 12) southeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is under the supervision of Dr. Douglas Schwartz, Director of the School of American Research, and is supported primarily by a grant from the National Science Foundation (grant no. GS28001X2). The objective of the study was to determine those present environmental qualities which would support or affect in some manner a primitive agricultural society. The environmental factors examined were geology, physiography, soils, climate, hydrology, and vegetation. Geology, soils, and vegetation of the area were mapped. The geologic formations of the immediate area account for 53% of the kinds of rock material recovered during the summer, 1972 excavation. The only permanent water supply in the area is associated with the Arroyo Hondo fault. The present topography, which is a result of faulting, erosion, and deposition, has influenced the development of soils. Soils with the best agricultural potential amount to 1,600 acres with an additional 7,000 acres of less suitable land within the area of the pueblo. Dry-farming techniques in recent (1890's to 1950's) history have successfully produced crops on the better soils. The climate is amicable to agriculture when sufficient moisture is available. Only the severe drought of 1941-1956 forced a halt to dry-farming of corn and beans. The water supply is precarious, with periods of below-average precipitation reducing the ground water discharge to a rate insufficient to maintain a surface stream through the canyon. Five vegetational types are distinguished: pinyon­juniper, ponderosa pine-pinyon-juniper, rabbit-brush, riparian, and domestic. The line-strip method of Woodin and Lindsey (1954) was used to collect data to determine cover and density for all types but domestic. The local vegetation supplied the prehistoric pueblo with building material, firewood, and a supplemental food source. The pinyon constitutes the major commodity of the area. The area could support a primitive agricultural society during periods of relatively stable precipitation (average or above average) conditions. The environmental conditions of the period 1900-1950 approximates those of the pueblo's occupational intervals.



Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Loren David Potter

Second Committee Member

Douglas W. Schwartz

Third Committee Member

Ivan Bennett

Fourth Committee Member

James Roman Gosz

Included in

Biology Commons