07: Hohokam Vulnerabilities

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    Starting around 1070 CE the ballcourt network began to unravel.  As the population grew, the surplus food that had been used for trade was needed locally. With fewer commodities to trade, the trade networks, which had brought large game and fruit to the valley, started to fail.  The increased reliance on local food led to a narrower diet of corn, beans, and squash, which was insufficient to feed the local population.  Even though local resources diminished and trade disappeared the Hohokam were unwilling to migrate from the canals that had supported their way of life for hundreds of years.  In response, the Hohokam attempted to plant more to meet their food needs. Soon, disputes between upstream and downstream farmers regarding the supply of water led to infighting and increased social problems.  These disputes isolated the irrigation cooperatives from each other, and reduced the Hohokam ability to work together regionally. A series of floods in the 1300s seriously damaged the canal system, and isolated groups of farmers were no longer able to work together to repair the damage. In the early 1400s, various Hohokam communities began to abandon the farm fields that had sustained their ancestors for a thousand years. By 1450, the Hohokam lands were almost completely abandoned.

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