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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Subject
Date Range
2010 2019


This study investigates the vulnerability of subsistence agriculturalists to food shortfalls associated with dry periods. I approach this effort by evaluating prominent and often implicit conceptual models of vulnerability to dry periods used by archaeologists and other scholars investigating past human adaptations in dry climates. The conceptual models I evaluate rely on an assumption of regional-scale resource marginality and emphasize the contribution of demographic conditions (settlement population levels and watershed population density) and environmental conditions (settlement proximity to perennial rivers and annual precipitation levels) to vulnerability to dry periods. I evaluate the models and the spatial scales they might apply …

Contributors
Ingram, Scott Eric, Nelson, Margaret C., Abbott, David R., et al.
Created Date
2010

Patterns of social conflict and cooperation among irrigation communities in southern Arizona from the Classic Hohokam through the Historic period (c. 1150 to c. 1900 CE) are analyzed. Archaeological survey of the Gila River Indian Community has yielded data that allow study of populations within the Hohokam core area (the lower Salt and middle Gila valleys). An etic design approach is adopted that analyzes tasks artifacts were intended to perform. This research is predicated on three hypotheses. It is suggested that (1) projectile point mass and performance exhibit directional change over time, and weight can therefore be used as a …

Contributors
Loendorf, Chris Ronald, Simon, Arleyn, Clark, Geoffrey, et al.
Created Date
2010

This study analyzed archaeological residential inventories from the center of Sauce and its hinterlands to address the possible appearance of markets and the structure of exchange during the Middle Postclassic period (A.D. 1200-1350) in south-central Veracruz, Mexico. Economic development is rarely the result of a coherent strategy either on the part of managing or consuming elites or on the part of the average consumer. Instead, a combination of strategies and overlapping exchange systems provided the context, rather than any one explanation, for how commercial market exchange develops. Identifying the context is challenging because economies have multiple exchange mechanisms, which require …

Contributors
Ossa, Alanna Elizabeth, Stark, Barbara L., Cowgill, George L., et al.
Created Date
2011

This dissertation investigates socio-economic strategies adopted by a small craftworking community situated on the edge of one of the earliest, largest and most complex cities in Mesoamerica. The focus of investigation is San Jose 520, a hamlet located on the southeastern margin of Teotihuacan and occupied primarily during the Tlamimilolpa and Xolalpan phases (ca. A.D. 200-500). Its inhabitants were potters of low socio-economic status living in small, architecturally simple residential structures. The investigation complements much more numerous studies of higher-status groups residing in Teotihuacan's famous apartment compounds, much larger and architecturally more formal structures clustered primarily within built-up parts of …

Contributors
Cabrera Cortés, Mercedes Oralia, Stark, Barbara L., Cowgill, George L., et al.
Created Date
2011

There has been debate and uncertainty on two important issues in the Basin of Mexico: the formation of Epiclassic city-states following Teotihuacan state collapse (ca. A.D. 650), and the nature of the subsequent Early Postclassic Tula state expansion. I evaluate the Basin as a case of regeneration of socio-political complexity using stylistic and compositional pottery analysis to examine patterns of interaction from the Epiclassic (ca. A.D. 600/650-850) through the Early Postclassic (ca. A.D. 850-1150). I selected representative specimens of temporally diagnostic pottery from the three large settlement clusters in the northwestern Basin (Tula and the Zumpango region), the northeastern Basin …

Contributors
Crider, Destiny Lynn, Cowgill, George L, Simon, Arleyn W, et al.
Created Date
2011

This dissertation explores the interrelationships between periods of rapid social change and regional-scale social identities. Using archaeological data from the Cibola region of the U.S. Southwest, I examine changes in the nature and scale of social identification across a period of demographic and social upheaval (A.D. 1150-1325) marked by a shift from dispersed hamlets, to clustered villages, and eventually, to a small number of large nucleated towns. This transformation in settlement organization entailed a fundamental reconfiguration of the relationships among households and communities across an area of over 45,000 km2. This study draws on contemporary social theory focused on political …

Contributors
Peeples, Matthew A., Kintigh, Keith W, Hegmon, Michelle, et al.
Created Date
2011

In recent years, southern Africa has figured prominently in the modern human origins debate due to increasing evidence for precocious behaviors considered to be unique to our species. These significant findings have included bone tools, shell beads, engraved ostrich eggshell, and heavily ground and engraved ochre fragments. The presence of ochre in Middle Stone Age (MSA, ~250-40kya) archaeological sites in southern Africa is often proposed as indirect evidence for the emergence of symbolic or artistic behavior, a uniquely modern human trait. However, there is no remaining artwork from this period and there is significant debate about what the ochre may …

Contributors
Bernatchez, Jocelyn A., Marean, Curtis W, Bearat, Hamdallah, et al.
Created Date
2012

The ability of Neandertals to cope with the oscillating climate of the late Pleistocene and the extent to which these climate changes affected local Neandertal habitats remain unanswered anthropological topics of considerable scientific interest. Understanding the impact of climatic instability on Neandertals is critical for reconstructing the behaviors of our closest fossil relatives and possibly identifying factors that contributed to their extinction. My work aimed to test the hypotheses that 1) cold climates stressed Neandertal populations, and 2) that global climate changes affected local Neandertal habitats. An analysis of Neandertal butchering on Cervus elaphus, Rangifer tarandus, and Capreolus capreolus skeletal …

Contributors
Hodgkins, Jamie, Marean, Curtis W, Reed, Kaye E, et al.
Created Date
2012

The causes and consequences of stylistic change have been a concern of archaeologists over the past several decades. The actual process of stylistic innovation, however, has received less attention. This project explores the relationship between the process of stylistic innovation on decorated pottery and the social context in which it occurred in the Hohokam area of south-central Arizona between A.D. 800 and 1300. This interval was punctuated by three episodes of reorganization, each of which was characterized to varying degrees by significant shifts in ideology, economics, and politics. Each reorganization episode was also accompanied by a rapid profusion of stylistic …

Contributors
Lack, Andrew Duane, Abbott, David R, Hegmon, Michelle, et al.
Created Date
2013

The Hohokam of central Arizona left behind evidence of a culture markedly different from and more complex than the small communities of O'odham farmers first encountered by Europeans in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries A.D. Archaeologists have worked for well over a century to document Hohokam culture history, but much about Pre-Columbian life in the Sonoran Desert remains poorly understood. In particular, the organization of the Hohokam economy in the Phoenix Basin has been an elusive and complicated subject, despite having been the focus of much previous research. This dissertation provides an assessment of several working hypotheses regarding the organization …

Contributors
Watts, Joshua, Abbott, David R, Barton, C Michael, et al.
Created Date
2013

Understanding agricultural land use requires the integration of natural factors, such as climate and nutrients, as well as human factors, such as agricultural intensification. Employing an agroecological framework, I use the Perry Mesa landscape, located in central Arizona, as a case study to explore the intersection of these factors to investigate prehistoric agriculture from A.D. 1275-1450. Ancient Perry Mesa farmers used a runoff agricultural strategy and constructed extensive alignments, or terraces, on gentle hillslopes to slow and capture nutrient rich surface runoff generated from intense rainfall. I investigate how the construction of agricultural terraces altered key parameters (water and nutrients) …

Contributors
Kruse-Peeples, Melissa, Spielmann, Katherine A., Abbott, David R., et al.
Created Date
2013

This project examines the social and economic factors that contributed to the development of a specialist-based economy among the Phoenix Basin Hohokam. In the Hohokam case, widespread dependence on the products of a few concentrated pottery producers developed in the absence of political centralization or hierarchical social arrangements. The factors that promoted intensified pottery production, therefore, are the keys to addressing how economic systems can expand in small-scale and middle-range societies. This dissertation constructs a multi-factor model that explores changes to the organization of decorated pottery production during a substantial portion of the pre-Classic period (AD 700 - AD 1020). …

Contributors
Kelly, Sophia Elizabeth, Abbott, David R., Darling, J. Andrew, et al.
Created Date
2013

This dissertation investigates the long-term consequences of human land-use practices in general, and in early agricultural villages in specific. This pioneering case study investigates the "collapse" of the Early (Pre-Pottery) Neolithic lifeway, which was a major transformational event marked by significant changes in settlement patterns, material culture, and social markers. To move beyond traditional narratives of cultural collapse, I employ a Complex Adaptive Systems approach to this research, and combine agent-based computer simulations of Neolithic land-use with dynamic and spatially-explicit GIS-based environmental models to conduct experiments into long-term trajectories of different potential Neolithic socio-environmental systems. My analysis outlines how the …

Contributors
Ullah, Isaac Imran Taber, Barton, C. Michael, Banning, Edward B., et al.
Created Date
2013

This dissertation research investigates both spatial and temporal aspects of Bronze Age land use and land cover in the Eastern Mediterranean using botanical macrofossils of charcoal and charred seeds as sources of proxy data. Comparisons through time and over space using seed and charcoal densities, seed to charcoal ratios, and seed and charcoal identifications provide a comprehensive view of island vs. mainland vegetative trajectories through the critical 1000 year time period from 2500 BC to 1500 BC of both climatic fluctuation and significant anthropogenic forces. This research focuses particularly on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus during this crucial interface of …

Contributors
Klinge, Joanna Marie, Fall, Patricia L, Falconer, Steven E, et al.
Created Date
2013

This research addresses human adaptive decisions made at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition - the transition from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the climate regime in which humankind now lives - in the Mediterranean region of southeast Spain. Although on a geological time scale the Pleistocene-Holocene transition is the latest in a series of widespread environmental transformations due to glacial-interglacial cycles, it is the only one for which we have a record of the response by modern humans. Mediterranean Spain lay outside the refugium areas of late Pleistocene Europe, in which advancing ice sheets limited the land available for subsistence and …

Contributors
Schmich, Steven, Clark, Geoffrey A, Barton, Michael, et al.
Created Date
2013

Irrigation agriculture has been heralded as the solution to feeding the world's growing population. To this end, irrigation agriculture is both extensifying and intensifying in arid regions across the world in an effort to create highly productive agricultural systems. Over one third of modern irrigated fields, however, show signs of serious soil degradation, including salinization and waterlogging, which threaten the productivity of these fields and the world's food supply. Surprisingly, little ecological data on agricultural soils have been collected to understand and address these problems. How, then, can expanding and intensifying modern irrigation systems remain agriculturally productive for the long-term? …

Contributors
Strawhacker, Colleen, Spielmann, Katherine A, Hall, Sharon J, et al.
Created Date
2013

In this dissertation I argue that medieval peoples used a different style of identity from those applied to them by later scholarship and question the relevance of applying modern terms for identity groups (e.g., ethnicity or nationality) to the description of medieval social units. I propose we think of identity as a social construct comprised of three articulating facets, which I call: form, aspect, and definition. The form of identity is its manifestation in behavior and symbolic markers; its aspect is the perception of these forms by people; and its definition is the combination of these perceptions into a social …

Contributors
Roberts, Christopher Matthew, Hegmon, Michelle, Bjork, Robert, et al.
Created Date
2013

My dissertation contributes to a body of knowledge useful for understanding the evolution of subsistence economies based on agriculture from those based on hunting and gathering, as well as the development of formal rules and norms of territorial ownership in hunter-gatherer societies. My research specifically combines simple formal and conceptual models with the empirical analysis of large ethnographic and environmental data sets to study feedback processes in coupled forager-resource systems. I use the formal and conceptual models of forager-resource systems as tools that aid in the development of two alternative arguments that may explain the adoption of food production and …

Contributors
Freeman, Jacob C., Anderies, John M, Nelson, Margaret C, et al.
Created Date
2014

Exchange is fundamental to human society, and anthropologists have long documented the large size and complexity of exchange systems in a range of societies. Recent work on the banking system of today's world suggests that complex exchange systems may become systemically fragile and in some types of complex exchange systems that involve feedbacks there exists a fundamental trade-off between robustness (stability) and systemic fragility. These properties may be observable in the archaeological record as well. In southern Arizona, the Hohokam system involved market-based exchange of large quantities of goods (including corn, pottery, stone, and shell) across southern Arizona and beyond, …

Contributors
Merrill, Michael Lee, Hegmon, Michelle, Anderies, John M, et al.
Created Date
2014

This research explores how people's relationships with the spirits of the dead are embedded in political histories. It addresses the ways in which certain spirits were integral "inhabitants" of two social environments with disparate political traditions. Using the prehistoric mortuary record, I investigate the spirits and their involvement in socio-political affairs in the Prehispanic American Southeast and Southwest. Foremost, I construct a framework to characterize particular social identities for the spirits. Ancestors are select, potent beings who are capable of wielding considerable agency. Ancestral spirits are generic beings who are infrequently active among the living and who can exercise agency …

Contributors
Thompson, Mason Scott, Buikstra, Jane E, Kintigh, Keith W, et al.
Created Date
2014