With National Science Foundation funding, Dr. Paula Turkon and Dr. Sturt Manning (Cornell University), in collaboration with Mexican and American archaeologists and dendrochronologists, will undertake a two-year project to develop a much higher resolution chronology than previously possible for Classic Period archaeological sites in Mesoamerica.
Theories to explain the mass movement of Mesoamerican peoples and their lifestyles into northern Mexico include political disintegration in the Mesoamerican core, climate change, and the development of exploitative activities and trade networks. This project will simultaneously address the chronology issue, and set the stage to examine the climate change theory, by employing dendrochronological (tree ring) data from archaeological sites in the Malpaso Valley of northern Mexico. The chronological refinements generated by this project will carry significance well beyond the local areas. This project represents the only current attempt to apply dendrochronological work on archaeological wood in Mesoamerica. The project will also provide a forum for Mexican and U.S. archaeologists and dendrochronologists, and provide a venue to train undergraduate students to explore the application of archaeological dendrochronology in Mesoamerica.