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Chungará (Arica)

On-line version ISSN 0717-7356

Abstract

SOMONTE, Carolina  and  BAIED, Carlos A. MINIMUM SURFACE EXPOSURE AGE OF STONE QUARRY-WORKSHOPS: INSIGHTS ON THE FIRST ROCK-VARNISH MICROLAMINATION (VML) DATES FOR NORTHWESTERN ARGENTINA. Chungará (Arica) [online]. 2013, vol.45, n.3, pp.427-445. ISSN 0717-7356.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-73562013000300005.

The aim of this paper is to report on the first rock varnish microlamination (VML) age determinations for Northwestern Argentina and to discuss the usefulness of this technique in the analysis and interpretation of surface artifact scatters at a case-study archaeological site in the semiarid inter-mountain Santa María basin. Rock varnish microlamination -based age estimates of surface geological and geoarchaeological features (boulders, cobbles and artifacts) are different in principle and independent of both cation-ratio and AMS 14C dating methods. Analyzed surface scatters (geological and cultural artifacts) collected at Planchada la Puntilla (PLP) archaeological site suggest a minimum surface-exposure age estimate 6,500-7,300 years BP, and a minimum age estimate of artifact scatters 5,900-6,500 years BP. Further, as the layering sequence of varnish microlamination includes a climate record, it is a unique tool to discuss past climatic change in an area where it has been difficult to find more traditional proxies. Analysis of the VML climatic signal allows for discussion of the timing of the production process of lithic artifacts, implications for other surface artifact scatters traditionally associated with the regionally recognized Ampajango Industry, and mid-to-late Holocene climatic change.

Keywords : Rock varnish microlamination (VML); geochronology; surface lithic assemblages; archaeology northwestern Argentina.

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