What is the Coalescent Communities Database?

Archaeology Southwest has a long-standing interest in examining the relationships among migration, population aggregation, and subsequent demographic decline across the southern Southwest in the centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards.

One of our most important tools has been the Coalescent Communities GIS Database, which includes spatial and temporal data on all post-A.D. 1200 sites with more than twelve rooms in the Southwest. The database was originally created by Archaeology Southwest, Museum of Northern Arizona, and Geo-Map, Inc. We reexamined artifacts from a number of Classic period (A.D. 1200–1450) sites in the Phoenix, Tonto, and Safford basins, as well as Perry Mesa. We focused on collections curated at the Pueblo Grande Museum, the Archaeological Research Institute at Arizona State University, Western Archeological and Conservation Center, and the Arizona State Museum.

Because it contains information about Southwestern archaeological sites with more than twelve rooms, as well as the number of rooms within these sites, the Coalescent Communities Database can be used to illustrate changes in population density through time. Here we see population density in A.D. 1200, 1300, and 1400. Note the dramatic changes in the Four Corners region.

The Coalescent Communities Database has been superseded by the Southwest Social Networks Database, which builds directly on the former and informs a wide range of archaeological research being conducted by Archaeology Southwest.

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