2000 Years of Climate Change

Dr. Eric Blinman will speak to the San Juan Basin Archaeological Society on “2000 Years of Climate Change and Human Response in the Southwest” at the Fort Lewis College, July 10, at 7:00 p.m.  The public is cordially invited

 Dr. Blinman has been involved in archaeology since 1967, and he has focused on the history of Southwestern peoples since 1979. His training was at UC Berkeley and Washington State University. He joined the Museum of New Mexico’s Office of Archaeological Studies in 1988 and has served as the division director since 2006. Research activities have included climate change studies, the cultural affiliations between ancient and modern peoples, archaeomagnetic dating, and reconstructions of social and economic evolution in the Southwest.

The quality of the combined archaeological and environmental record in the northern Southwest is easy to take for granted because we have grown up with it. The climate detail provided by tree-rings and the quality of chronological data from tree-rings and associated pottery is unparalleled in the world. The result is a remarkably detailed picture of economic, social, and demographic adaptation to environmental and climate change by Puebloan and Athapaskan peoples over the past 2000 years.


It isn’t a story of failure, but of adaptation, including climatic support for the florescence of ninth century villages and the later developments at Chaco. How people respond to opportunity or crisis is not strictly determined by climate, but respond they must, and the lessons of the past have useful implications for our ability to shape our own future.

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