To survive in large, complex communities, such as those found throughout Oasis America , particularly at Paquimé, Chaco Canyon , Pueblo Grande, and Casa Grande, advanced agricultural technologies and strategies are essential. To ensure sufficient food supplies, these must include production of fertilizer, reliable long distance transport, and efficient long-term storage of food. I will present compelling historical (Aztec), archaeological, and ethnological (Tarahumara Indian) evidence that these technologies and strategies were practiced by the Paquimé, Anasazi, and Hohokam cultures between about AD 700 and AD 1450/1475. As corn was the basis of life for these cultures, it is not surprising that religious designs and symbolism are found to permeate articles associated with agriculture. Corn alone cannot sustain health, however, and as the ready supply of dietary iron and to a lesser degree animal protein for such large aggregates of people began to disappear, the entire structure broke down, as well. Using this original but well-supported analysis, I am able to present a more complete picture of the rise and fall of Oasis America than has previously been possible.
The foundation for my analysis is a natural and human systems model . This involves applying a global, historical approach to the data being studied, in this case, the Paquimé/Anasazi/Hohokam cultures. As defined by David Keys in Catastrophe (1999:ix), his theory of “evolved determinism” states that forces of nature and “a plethora of consequent ecological, political, epidemiological, economic, religious, demographic, and other mechanisms” interact with each other and ultimately determine the course of human history – outweighing the influence of specific actions or achievements of humans. In this way, irreversible change is effected, such as that experienced by the Oasis America cultures.