TARL TAM 2020 Lecture Series: Peopling of the Americas and the Origins of Agriculture

This October for Texas Archeology Month, TARL is offering a series of online lectures, free and open to all. Our first lecture took place on October 15 and is available for viewing below.

Dr. Andrew Somerville, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Iowa State University, presented on his recent research.

Peopling of the Americas and the Origins of Agriculture: New Insights on Old Questions from the Tehuacan Valley, Mexico

The Tehuacan Valley of Central Mexico is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its high biodiversity and rich archaeological record. During the 1960s, excavations led by Richard S. MacNeish registered over 10,000 years of human occupation within the valley and discovered thousands preserved botanical remains, including early examples of domesticated plants such as maize, beans, and chili peppers. Recent studies have returned to the collections recovered by MacNeish and apply new analytical techniques to further our understanding of the ancient history of this region. In particular, stable isotope analysis of animal bones documents significant environmental and dietary changes over time. Additionally, new radiocarbon analyses reveal surprisingly early dates and cause us to reevaluate the timing of the arrival of humans to the region and to North American more broadly. This presentation summarizes these recent findings and discusses their implications to questions about the peopling of the Americas and the origins of agriculture.



We have three more talks scheduled for this month. The first two will be streamed live over Zoom and all three will be posted here for future viewing.

October 22: Dr. Adam Schneider of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado at Boulder, will present “A Trade-Friendly Environment: Climatic Influences on Early Bronze Age Maritime Trade Between the Near East and Indus Valley” 

October 27: Dr. Casey Wayne Riggs, Steward with the Texas Archeological Stewards Network, will present “Careless, Spiny, and Succulent: Terminal Late Prehistoric (A.D. 1250-1535) Plant Foods of the Eastern Trans-Pecos

October 29: Alan Slade of the Prehistory Research Project (Gault School of Archeological Research) will present a pre-recorded talk, “Clovis Points in Texas: A Further Update to the TCPPS, 4th Edition

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