Human occupation, site formation, and chronostratigraphy of a mid-Holocene archaeological site at the eastern Pampa-Patagonia transition, Argentina
Martinez, G., Martinez, G. A., & Owen, L. A. (2023, April 12). QUATERNARY RESEARCH.
Abstract Intense aeolian processes in arid and semi-arid environments play an essential role in the preservation and destruction of archeological sites. This is especially the case in the lower basin of the Colorado River at the eastern Pampa-Patagonia Transition of Argentina, as is illustrated by geoarchaeological and chronostratigraphic studies at a mid-Holocene hunter-gatherer site, La Modesta, where aeolian processes strongly influence the archeological record in dune sediments. At La Modesta, surface archaeological materials are numerous and well preserved, although the stratigraphic record is incomplete. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of sediments that contain cultural material provides a chronology dating from ca. 8.2 ka but shows one or more hiatuses from ca. 6–2 ka in the sedimentary succession. Intense morphogenesis related to arid climates likely caused gaps in sedimentation, affecting the integrity and resolution of the archaeological record. This study helps explain mid-Holocene archaeological discontinuities throughout central Argentina and highlights the importance of considering taphonomic and geologic biases when dealing with the absence or reduction of the archaeological record in dryland regions.