In early October of this year I presented the results of my undergraduate honor's thesis titled, "The Temporal Changes in the Utilization of Prehistoric Fieldhouses at Point of Pines, Arizona," at the 18th Biennial Mogollon Archaeology Conference in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Specifically, I discussed the results of the spatial analyses I conducted using Geographic Information Systems/ Sciences and archaeological survey data. The objective of my research was to analyze temporal changes in the utilization of fieldhouses in order to identify spatial patterns and relationships relative to potential environmental and/or cultural push and pull factors.
Fieldhouses are traditionally associated with agricultural intensification, population growth, and claims to resources in the prehistoric Southwest. The results of my analyses identified a natural progression of land-use patterns that had both environmental and cultural implications. The data suggested that as time progressed and aggregation targeted small optimal environmental zones for agriculture, less land was being utilized, which increased the need for multi-site (households, villages, and community centers) cooperation. This phenomenon indicates a certain level of autonomy within the population that not only decreased the need for fieldhouses as the population became more dependent on each other, but it also decreased the need to claim arable land. The results of this research not only identified push and pull factors that would have influenced land-use patterns at Point of Pines, but it also highlighted differences between highland and lowland desert agricultural practices in the American Southwest .
I am thankful for the support of my thesis advisor and mentor Dr. Tammy Stone who encouraged me to participate in the conference. The entire process was an invaluable learning experience that gave me insight into the challenges and fears that even seasoned archaeologists face, including the vulnerability that accompanies presenting the results of one's own research to a room full of your peers. In a sense, this experience was a rite-of-passage that I would encourage every prospective archaeologist to go through. For me it was an important transitionary phase of my career that not only validated that I was capable of developing something of scientific value, but that I myself was no longer just a student.