Jonathan Mabry, PhD

Research Associate, Archaeologist, Heritage Conservationist

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I have a life-long interest in archaeology, and have conducted fieldwork in the Middle East, North Africa, southwestern U.S., and northwestern Mexico. My areas of research include indigenous subsistence adaptations and social organizations of prehistoric peoples of the U.S./Mexico desert borderlands, transitions to agriculture and village life, and food traditions of the Sonoran Desert. 

My archaeological investigations have documented Tucson’s continuous habitation and irrigated agriculture extending back more than 4,000 years. I am a member of NextGen Sonoran Desert Researchers and am currently working with colleagues on the first archaeological investigations of prehistoric shell middens along the northern coast of the Gulf of California.  

Another area of my work is borderlands heritage conservation at the community, national, and international levels. I served as the Historic Preservation Officer and City Archaeologist for the City of Tucson for 11 years, helped obtain designation of the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area in 2019, and am currently facilitating a bi-national UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination for the missions of the Pimería Alta in northern Sonora and southern Arizona. 

I was an early contributor to the local and heritage foods movements in southern Arizona and was co-author with Gary Nabhan and others on the application that obtained designation of Tucson as the first UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in the U.S. in 2015. I currently serve as the city’s liaison to UNESCO and am on the board of the community-based non-profit organization managing the designation.  

Publications

Selected Recent Publications (Refereed) 

2017 Early Agriculture (second author with James Vint). In The Oxford Handbook of Southwest Archaeology, edited by Barbara Mills and Severin Fowles, pp. 247-264. Oxford University Press, New York.

2017 Moveable Feasts: Food as Revitalizing Cultural Heritage (second author with Michael Di Giovine and Teresita Majewski). In Heritage in Action: Making the Past in the Present, edited by Helaine Silverman, Emma Waterton, and Steve Watson, pp. 201-216. Springer International, Switzerland.

2016 Jane Jacobs and the Value of Older, Smaller Buildings (second author with Michael Powe, Emily Talen, and Dillon Mahmoudi). Journal of the American Planning Association. Vol. 82, No. 2:167-180.

2013 Beyond the Cochise Culture: New Views of Archaic Foragers and Early Farmers in Southeastern Arizona (first author with Michelle N. Stevens). In Between Mimbres and Hohokam: Exploring the Archaeology and History of Southeastern Arizona and Southwestern New Mexico, edited by Henry D. Wallace. Anthropological Papers No. 52, Archaeology Southwest, Tucson, Arizona.

2011 Temporal frequency distributions of alluvium in the American Southwest: taphonomic, paleohydraulic, and demographic implications (second author with Jesse A.M. Ballenger). Journal of Archaeological Science 38 (2011): 1314-1325.

2009 The diffusion of maize to the southwestern United States and its impact (third author with William L. Merrill, Robert J. Hard, Gayle J. Fritz, Karen R. Adams, John R. Roney, and A.C. MacWilliams). Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, December 15, 2009, Vol. 106, No. 50, pp. 2109-21026.

2009 Early Agriculture and Related Cultural Developments in the Southwest. In Archaeology in America: An Encyclopedia, edited by Francis P. McManamon, pp. 27-30. Greenwood Publishing, Westport, Connecticut.

2008 Archaeological Models of Early Uto-Aztecan Prehistory in the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands (first author with John P. Carpenter and Guadalupe Sanchez). In Archaeology Without Borders: Contact, Commerce, and Change in the U.S. Southwest and Northwestern Mexico, edited by Laurie D. Webster and Maxine E. McBrinn, pp. 155-183. University Press of Colorado, Boulder. 

2006 Environmental Mosaics, Agricultural Diversity, and the Evolutionary Adoption of Maize in the American Southwest (second author with William E. Doolittle). In Histories of Maize: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Prehistory, Biogeography, Domestication, and Evolution of Maize, edited by John Staller, Robert Tykot, and Bruce Benz, pp. 109-121. Elsevier, San Diego. 

2005 Changing Knowledge and Ideas about the First Farmers in Southeastern Arizona. In The Late Archaic across the Borderlands: From Foraging to Farming, edited by Bradley J. Vierra, pp. 41-83. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Selected Recent Publications (Non-Refereed)

2019 Ancient Oasis: Agriculture in the Santa Cruz River Valley. Forthcoming special issue of Zocalo magazine.

2019 Artisanal Foods and Beverages Made in the Tucson Region with Unique Local Ingredients (lead compiler and editor). Tucson City of Gastronomy.

2018 International Recognition from Community-Funded Archaeology. Tucson Underground special issue, Archaeology Southwest Magazine. Vol. 32, No. 4:10-11.

2018 Early Farming Societies. Tucson Underground special issue, Archaeology Southwest Magazine. Vol. 32, No. 4:14-15.

2017 State of Tucson’s Food System, December 2017–2018 (second author with Gary Nabhan, Danielle Johnson and Carolina Ferrales). The UA Center for Regional Food Studies.

2016 State of Tucson’s Food System, December 2015 – December 2016 (first author with Gary P. Nabhan and Robert Ojeda). The University of Arizona Center for Regional Food Studies.

2016 Food from Somewhere: The power of place-based labelling to support a local food economy (first author with Gary P. Nabhan). Edible Baja Arizona 21:166‒-170.

2016 Intangible Heritage, Edible Baja Arizona, 17:11.

2014 Humane Values: Heritage Tourism as a Sustainable Revitalization Movement (second author with Michael Di Giovine and Teresita Majewski). In Proceedings of the ICOMOS 2014 Symposium “Heritage and Landscape as Human Values,” Florence, Italy, Nov. 9-14.

2014 Tucson, Arizona: An International Culinary Destination (third author with Gary Nabhan, Rafael de Grenade, and Vanessa Bechtol), City of Tucson.

2013 Beyond the Cochise Culture: New Views of Archaic Foragers and Early Farmers in Southeastern Arizona (first author with Michelle N. Stevens). In Between Mimbres and Hohokam: Exploring the Archaeology and History of Southeastern Arizona and Southwestern New Mexico, edited by Henry D. Wallace. Anthropological Papers No. 52, Archaeology Southwest, Tucson, Arizona.

2008 Las Capas: Early Irrigation and Sedentism in a Southwestern Floodplain. Anthropological Papers No. 28. Center for Desert Archaeology, Tucson. [Editor and contributor.]

2006 Rio Nuevo Archaeology, 2000-2003: Investigations at the San Agustín Mission and Mission Gardens, Tucson Presidio, Tucson Pressed Brick Company, and Clearwater Site, edited by J. Homer Thiel and Jonathan B. Mabry. Technical Report No. 2004-11. Center for Desert Archaeology, Tucson. http://www.cdarc.org/pages/library/rio_nuevo/

2005 Diversity in Early Southwestern Farming Systems and Optimization Models of Transitions to Agriculture. In Subsistence and Resource Use Strategies of Early Agricultural Communities in Southern Arizona, edited by Michael W. Diehl, pp. 113-152.

2004 The Archaeological Heritage of the Santa Cruz Valley. Archaeology Southwest 18(4):1.