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An examination of food storage in Grand Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Engleman, Jenny (2018) An examination of food storage in Grand Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Ancient occupation of the American Southwest was full of uncertainty. Precipitation was unreliable, and sufficient edible plants and animal resources were linked to the productivity of the environment. Communities had to be resourceful and flexible in the face of scarcity. To ensure reliable food sources, ancient peoples often stored crops and other plant foods in sealed masonry structures, or granaries, protected in alcoves high on canyon walls. This thesis research compares ancient methods for coping with scarcity by examining the presence of patterns in prehispanic granary construction in the Grand Canyon and the Fiftymile Mountain region of Grand Staircase-Escalante. Granaries in the two regions date between A.D. 1000 and A.D. 1250 and are associated with three main cultural groups: the Kayenta branch of the Ancestral Puebloans, the Virgin branch of the Ancestral Puebloans, and the Cohonina. Food storage practices are analyzed using adaptive concepts of optimization and risk minimization, adding to the understanding of the complex nature of human interaction with the environment. Although similar Ancestral Puebloan groups occupied the Grand Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante, the results of the research show variability in how granaries were incorporated into scarcity management.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: corn; food; granary; storage; National Park
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Anthropology
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2019 22:45
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5425

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