Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationArizona, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9422
Approve DateApril 18, 2017
Project TitleMathwich, Nicole M., U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid resesarch on 'Livestock in the PimerÃa Alta: Negotiations of Ecological Colonialism,' supervised by Dr. Mary Stiner
NICOLE M. MATHWICH then a graduate student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, received a grant in April 2017 to aid research on “Livestock in the Pimería Alta: Negotiations of Ecological Colonialism,” supervised by Dr. Mary Stiner. This project examines the effects of introduced colonial livestock on indigenous resources at five Spanish colonial settlements in the Pimería Alta (AD1690–1820) in the Santa Cruz River Valley in southern Arizona. Unlike other regions of Spanish America, research into regional ecological impacts of colonialism has been slow in the Pimería Alta and has focused on the colonial settlements rather than surrounding landscape. Isotopic samples spanning the length of the Santa Cruz River Valley were collected from archaeological cattle and caprine specimens from the sites of Tumacácori, Guevavi, Tubac, Tucson, and Agustín. The results of the isotopic analysis of bone collagen and tooth carbonate have generated: 1) new insights into native and colonist reliance on semidesert grassland resources and stored water for livestock, about whose management relatively little is known from either archaeological or written sources; 2) a more nuanced understanding in how different species’ consumption patterns impacted water and range resources 3) a regional pattern in livestock management consistent across both fort and mission sites, suggesting the management practice was a local ecological adaptation to the Sonoran Desert. This project offered learning opportunities to local archaeology students to learn how to drill tooth enamel samples and results were presented at public outreach events hosted by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society.