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Title: The role of plant production in subsistence and cultural changes during the formative period in the Atacama Puna, Southern Andes, Chile (1400BC-500AD) : a re-evaluation based on the analyses of microfossils attached to hoes and grinding tools, and isotopic analyses of human bones
Author: McRostie, V. B.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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The onset of agriculture is an important research topic in archaeology. Nonetheless, several areas of the world still lack sufficient datasets to participate critically within this debate. This is the case for the western slope of the Puna de Atacama, where explanations about plant production have been based on limited evidence resulting in assumptions about the role of agriculture associated with the Formative. More recent research in the Americas has acknowledged the diversity of developments taking place during the Formative period, including regional differences in the degree of wild and domestic plants food production. This research identifies and analyses new evidence in order to revaluate current hypothesis and models of plant production in the Atacama. The analyses are based on the identification of plant microfossils taken from hoes and grinding tools and isotopes within human bones (δ13Ccol, δ13Cap, δ15N, δ18O, Sr87/Sr86). The result of these analyses argues that crops in the area were limited or absent and highlights different levels and managements for native plants such as Scirpus, Cactaceae and still unidentified tubers. Insights’ regarding an anthropical origin of Prosopis forests and a silvo-pastoralist system provides a new model for the Formative of this arid highlands and the American continent.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available