October 11, 2016

New Research on Salt at Chaco Changes Past Theories

Past research claimed that the Ancestral Puebloan water management techniques in the Southwest resulted in toxic salt in the water, killing the soil’s ability to grow corn. New research challenges that claim. The new researchers analyzed 1000 year old sediment and found that salts that had accumulated there were non-deleterious sulfate minerals. The Chacoan people gathered water from the surrounding mountains after the spring thaw, and in the rainy season, captured runoff water from small canyons and arroyos. The process helped the water gain essential minerals for rich fertilizer and good irrigation. Water was collected in ceramic jars for storage during droughts. The Chacoans also used sulfates for paint segments and murals, and gypsums from the sulfates were used to whitewash dwellings.

The research is pulished in; Kenneth Barnett Tankersley et al, Evaluating soil salinity and water management in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports (2016).  DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.07.014

PhysOrg has the report here;
http://phys.org/news/2016-10-salt-secret-success-ancient-chaco.html

Mike Ruggeri’s
The Ancient Southwest
http://bit.ly/X1kCou

Mike Ruggeri’s Moundbuilders/Ancient Southwest News on Tumblr
http://mikeruggerisancientnorthamerica.tumblr.com

Mike Ruggeri’s
The Ancient Southwest
http://bit.ly/X1kCou

Mike Ruggeri’s Moundbuilders/Ancient Southwest News on Tumblr
http://mikeruggerisancientnorthamerica.tumblr.com

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