A curious place to build a farming community...summers are hot, dry and windy. Yet 800 years ago, agricultural plots would have dotted the landscape, carefully placed in scant pockets of soil.
A farmer's faith was tested regularly as rainfall came at the wrong time or not at all, and dry winds parched the soil and crops. Each field was at the mercy of where rain fell; no surface irrigation was possible. One field might produce while another withered, so the planting effort was extensive.
Then, as now, water was limited. Across the area, a few seeps and springs existed; catchments held water for a time, and the Little Colorado River provided a seasonal water source.
Still the abundance of storage pots suggests water had to be acquired and managed to be available when needed. Perhaps, as Hopi believe, people derived strength from this challenging land.
Meghann M. Vance, Northern Arizona University Anthropology Laboratories