August 27, 2016

New Dates for the Presence of Scarlet Macaws in New Mexico

New dating methods of scarlet macaw feathers imported from Mesoamerica taken at Pueblo Bonito and a Mimbres Site in New Mexico and the Grand Gulch Site in Utah show that six of the Chaco birds date to 885-990 CE, before Chaco had reached its florescence. It was thought these birds reached Chaco during its boom time. Six other birds were dated to 970-1035 CE, shortly before the building boom at Chaco. And some were dated to 1015-1155 during the boom. The dates show importation of the scarlet macaws was sporadic. One of the Mimbres birds was dated to 895-1020 and the other three to 1015-1155 CE as did the two Grand Gulch birds. So Chaco was the first to import these birds into New Mexico.  Macaws have been found at Hohokam sites in Arizona even earlier than Chaco, but these have not been directly dated. We still do not know the exact trade routes to the south.

The research is published in:
Watson, A., Plog, S., Culleton, B., Gilman, P., LeBlanc, S., Whiteley, P., Claramunt, S., & Kennett, D. (2015). Early procurement of scarlet macaws and the emergence of social complexity in Chaco Canyon, NM Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(27), 8238-8243 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1509825112

Gambler’s House has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Aztlan World

Mike Ruggeri’s Casas Grandes World Magazine

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