Eolian Deposition and Soil Fertility in a Prehistoric Agricultural Complex in Central Arizona, USA

Dana K. Nakase, Anthony S. Hartshorn, Katherine A. Spielmann, Sharon Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prehistoric farmers in arid and semiarid ecosystems commonly used rock alignments to concentrate water and sediments on their fields. Previous research has emphasized the importance of runoff from organic matter-rich uplands as a mechanism for soil nutrient replenishment. However, eolian inputs to these dryland ecosystems might also contribute substantially to mineral-derived nutrient pools. We explored the relative importance of eolian deposition, prehistoric agriculture, and the presence of rock alignments on soil properties in a semiarid grassland in Arizona. Subsurface soils behind natural rock alignments are finer in texture than soils unbound by rock alignments, while subsurface soils behind agricultural rock alignments coarsen relative to unbound soils. Neither rock alignments nor estimated crop yields had detectable effects on mineral-derived nutrient pools. In contrast, eolian deposition is an important source of soil mass and nutrients to modern soils. While dust deposition likely reduced soil heterogeneity across this landscape, it could have also contributed to the sustainability of prehistoric agriculture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-97
Number of pages19
JournalGeoarchaeology
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

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soil fertility
fertility
agriculture
rock
farmer
sustainability
soil
water
nutrient
ecosystem
mineral
soil texture
agricultural soil
soil nutrient
crop yield
alignment
Soil Fertility
Soil
Deposition
soil property

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

Cite this

Eolian Deposition and Soil Fertility in a Prehistoric Agricultural Complex in Central Arizona, USA. / Nakase, Dana K.; Hartshorn, Anthony S.; Spielmann, Katherine A.; Hall, Sharon.

In: Geoarchaeology, Vol. 29, No. 2, 03.2014, p. 79-97.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nakase, Dana K. ; Hartshorn, Anthony S. ; Spielmann, Katherine A. ; Hall, Sharon. / Eolian Deposition and Soil Fertility in a Prehistoric Agricultural Complex in Central Arizona, USA. In: Geoarchaeology. 2014 ; Vol. 29, No. 2. pp. 79-97.
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