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Title page for ETD etd-03222015-141458

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Franco, Teresa Cristina de Borges
URN etd-03222015-141458
Title Paleoecology and sedentism of early coastal hunter-gatherers in north Chile
Degree PhD
Department Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Tom D. Dillehay Committee Chair
John Janusek Committee Member
Maria Luisa Jorge Committee Member
Tiffiny Tung Committee Member
  • Huaca Prieta
  • Atacama coast
  • Middle Holocene
  • paleoenvironment
  • Sedentism
  • Camarones 14
  • Camarones Sur
  • Concholepas concholepas
  • Early Cultural Complexity
  • Chinchorro
  • Shell growth lines
Date of Defense 2014-12-09
Availability unrestricted
During the early-middle Holocene (7500-4000 BP) on the west coast of South

America, the intense exploitation of a changing marine environment led to sedentism and

an increase in social complexity (e.g., Moseley 1975, 1988; Yesner 1980; Erlandson and

Jones 2002; Arnold 2004). One of the most archaeologically visible societies during this

period was Chinchorro in northern Chile and southern Peru. These people were maritime

foragers who developed a sophisticated mummification process of human cadavers, in

fact, the earliest in the world. Scholars have generally thought that the technological and

symbolic sophistication of Chinchorro mortuary patterns is strong evidence to infer a

sedentary lifeway and social complexity. However, to date, no hard empirical evidence

has ever been established to show that these people were sedentary and complex beyond

their mortuary practices.

My research primarily focused on the earlier maritime societies that once lived in

the circumscribed environments of river deltas in the arid central-north of Chile on the

Pacific coast during the early-middle Holocene. It took a paleoecological approach -

seasonal growth-ring studies of shellfish - to investigate sedentism and seasonality of

resource procurement at two Chinchorro archaeological sites, Camarones 14 and

Camarones Sur, on the north coast of the Atacama Desert. I also investigated the

seasonality of procurement of shellfish remains at the Huaca Prieta mound (north coast of

Peru), which presents a different type of social complexity from ~7,500-4,000 BP. The

methodology was centralized in the analysis of the shell growth rings of selected species.

I developed a new methodological approach to shell growth ring analysis for the study of

seasonality and possibly sedentism. Although this research was more methodological

than theoretical in focus, several conceptual and interpretative issues were investigated,

that is, whether similar environmental conditions as well as social and technological ones,

influence cultural complexity in the way it was developed by the Chinchorro society and

by Peruvian peoples at Huaca Prieta.

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  02_tf_appendices.pdf 10.89 Mb 00:50:24 00:25:55 00:22:41 00:11:20 00:00:58
  03_tf_bibliog.pdf 428.61 Kb 00:01:59 00:01:01 00:00:53 00:00:26 00:00:02

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