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The herding of sheep and goats was first introduced during the eighteenth century, although agriculture was the major focus of subsistence activity (Bailey and Bailey 19).Navajo families moved camp seasonally, with settlements being located either in proximity to good grazing land (Brugge 19) or good planting land (Dittert, Hester, and Eddy 192).
All of these studies together present an excellent framework for the present analysis.
Since this chapter was written archaeological investigations in the northern San Juan River Basin have demonstrated the presence of Navajo sites in the Dinetah area by the mid-1500s, with occupation projected back into the 15 In light of this, it seems likely that the dates for initial Navajo occupation of the Chaco area will be pushed backward in time by future research.
Although non-cutting tree-ring dates as early as the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries have been recovered from Navajo sites in the Chaco area, the earliest clustering of tree-ring dates is for the early 1720s (Brugge 19).
The number of sheep raised by Navajo families also saw a large increase (Bailey and Bailey 19-59).
Chaco Canyon, however, had become a major military route to Canyon de Chelly and the Chuskas (Kelley 1982a:30), and there are indications that the Chaco area was virtually abandoned between 18 (Brugge 194).
Sometime between 17, herding began to increase in importance and the subsistence economy slowly shifted to an emphasis on raising livestock (Bailey and Bailey 19).
This change in subsistence orientation was in part a result of increasing hostilities with the Spanish, Mexican, and Euro-American colonists after 1800.An overriding theme in much that has been written about the Navajo is their great cultural flexibility (Aberle 1963; Bailey and Bailey 1982; Brugge 1986; Winter 1983; York 1983).Regional and local variation in Navajo culture reveals that these people were able to adapt to changing environmental conditions, as well as economic forces and government policies (Bailey and Bailey 196-588; Brugge 1986:i-ii).Descriptions of each site type are followed by a test of the typology and a discussion of Navajo settlement patterns and demography.First, however, a brief historic overview of the Chaco Area is presented.For those few families remaining, agriculture was almost completely abandoned in favor of economic activities of greater mobility, including hunting and gathering, stock raising, and raiding (Powers 1985).