What More We Need to Know About "Southwest" Agriculture
By Paul E. Minnis
Paul Minnis, an archaeologist and ethnobotanist, agreed to write the final chapter for the volume and consider what had and had not been accomplished. He outlines the major remaining gaps in our knowledge, including (1) the full range of crops domesticated and cultivated, (2) the geographic distribution of research, (3) the dynamic social and historical contexts of agriculture, and (4) the ecological consequences of intensive and/or extensive farming. Despite these gaps, he finds that the results of the research are impressive, and future investigations will greatly expand our understanding of ancient history. He also advances a strong argument, with specific examples, of the relevance of ancient farming to specific stakeholders and more broadly to the modern world. Following Minnis, we conclude this introduction with discussion of the modern relevance of the study of traditional arid lands agriculture.