Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/609107
Title:
Piman Indian Historic Agave Cultivation
Author:
Dobyns, Henry F.
Affiliation:
Newberry Library
Publisher:
University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
Journal:
Desert Plants
Rights:
Copyright © Arizona Board of Regents. The University of Arizona.
Collection Information:
Desert Plants is published by The University of Arizona for the Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum. For more information about this unique botanical journal, please email the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Publications Office at pubs@cals.arizona.edu.
Issue Date:
1988
Abstract:
The lands occupied by northern Piman Indians yet display remains of old ways of life, the hallmark being ruins of massive "casa grande" style architectural complexes within puddled adobe walled compounds. Vestiges of "rockpile" fields occur on desert bajadas that seem to have little potential for traditional hispanic or anglo agriculture. Evidence has accumulated that critical population pressures once exerted heavy demands on the food supply in this region, with resultant internecine strife and competition, the massive walled architectural complexes functioning as defensible storehouses for food that was harvested from the resource area controlled or exploitable by the inhabitants. The rockpile fields were used for agricultural production of the sweet foodplant Agave, using an innovative technology that made use of agriculturally marginal land (see Desert Plants Volume 7, pp. 107 -112, 100). The European encounter of Pimans occurred to the south long before it occurred to the north, at a time when ways of life were rapidly changing. A rare glimpse of southern Piman life about 1613 by Rev. Andrés Pérez de Ribas presents an historic picture of Agave cultivation by people living in houses with massive puddled adobe walls. This Piman way of life at that time in the southern region is altogether consistent with the vestiges of what seems to have been the same lifestyle in the north. Old World diseases brought a general collapse of Native American populations; the pressures that generated casa grande style architecture, earth defensive walls, and Agave cultivation in Piman territory diminished, a terminal date for the complex more likely to have been after A.D. 1613 than the traditional date of "Classic Hohokam" demise about A.D. 1450. Introduction of Old World cultivars high in sugar (melons, peaches, apricots, quinces, pears, apples, sugar cane) also reduced Piman demand for sweet pulp of Agave. Watermelons were already substituting as a functional equivalent of Agave by 1698 among northern Pimans. Both the casa grande style ruins and the rockpile fields were abandoned by the time European civilization reached the northern Pimans. Both have been classified as "Hohokam" by archaeologists, using the plural of the Piman language word meaning "all used up" or "defunct."
Type:
Article
ISSN:
0734-3434

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorDobyns, Henry F.en
dc.date.accessioned2016-05-11T21:53:40Zen
dc.date.available2016-05-11T21:53:40Zen
dc.date.issued1988en
dc.identifier.issn0734-3434en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10150/609107en
dc.description.abstractThe lands occupied by northern Piman Indians yet display remains of old ways of life, the hallmark being ruins of massive "casa grande" style architectural complexes within puddled adobe walled compounds. Vestiges of "rockpile" fields occur on desert bajadas that seem to have little potential for traditional hispanic or anglo agriculture. Evidence has accumulated that critical population pressures once exerted heavy demands on the food supply in this region, with resultant internecine strife and competition, the massive walled architectural complexes functioning as defensible storehouses for food that was harvested from the resource area controlled or exploitable by the inhabitants. The rockpile fields were used for agricultural production of the sweet foodplant Agave, using an innovative technology that made use of agriculturally marginal land (see Desert Plants Volume 7, pp. 107 -112, 100). The European encounter of Pimans occurred to the south long before it occurred to the north, at a time when ways of life were rapidly changing. A rare glimpse of southern Piman life about 1613 by Rev. Andrés Pérez de Ribas presents an historic picture of Agave cultivation by people living in houses with massive puddled adobe walls. This Piman way of life at that time in the southern region is altogether consistent with the vestiges of what seems to have been the same lifestyle in the north. Old World diseases brought a general collapse of Native American populations; the pressures that generated casa grande style architecture, earth defensive walls, and Agave cultivation in Piman territory diminished, a terminal date for the complex more likely to have been after A.D. 1613 than the traditional date of "Classic Hohokam" demise about A.D. 1450. Introduction of Old World cultivars high in sugar (melons, peaches, apricots, quinces, pears, apples, sugar cane) also reduced Piman demand for sweet pulp of Agave. Watermelons were already substituting as a functional equivalent of Agave by 1698 among northern Pimans. Both the casa grande style ruins and the rockpile fields were abandoned by the time European civilization reached the northern Pimans. Both have been classified as "Hohokam" by archaeologists, using the plural of the Piman language word meaning "all used up" or "defunct."en
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.publisherUniversity of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)en
dc.rightsCopyright © Arizona Board of Regents. The University of Arizona.en_US
dc.sourceCALS Publications Archive. The University of Arizona.en_US
dc.titlePiman Indian Historic Agave Cultivationen_US
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentNewberry Libraryen
dc.identifier.journalDesert Plantsen
dc.description.collectioninformationDesert Plants is published by The University of Arizona for the Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum. For more information about this unique botanical journal, please email the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Publications Office at pubs@cals.arizona.edu.en_US
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