Macrohistory of Human Demography in the pre-Hispanic Greater Southwest

The pre-Hispanic Greater Southwest was characterized by cycles of demographic and organizational change. Large tree-ring datasets provide absolute chronologies for these cycles on macrohistorical scales. The geographic scale of this macrohistory depends on the spatial coverage of tree-ring datasets. Radiocarbon data have a wider spatial coverage across the Greater Southwest and could therefore enhance the geographic scale of this demographic and organizational macrohistory. However, as with any archaeological data, radiocarbon data are subject to numerous biases caused by differential preservation of sample materials, field research intensities, and the specific organizational forms of past societies. This presentation addresses these various biases by developing a new method for comparing different demographic proxy data. These comparisons enable the specific biases of different proxies to be highlighted, which enhances our understanding of their relative contributions to demographic macrohistory in the Greater Southwest. This presentation fills gaps in the demographic macrohistory of the pre-Hispanic Greater Southwest and links this history to the wider contexts of neighboring regions.