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Sediments as Artifacts: Geoarchaeological Analyses for the Understanding of Social Processes and Subsistance Strategies

Author(s): Lara Sánchez-Morales ; Isabel Rivera-Collazo

Year: 2016

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Summary

Caribbean and Lowland Neotropical archaeology has emphasized the importance of human relations with their environments, from plant and animal domestication to ceramic production, agriculture, and settlement patterns. However, in most excavations, sediments have often been overlooked and simply discarded without further consideration. Sediments hold the micro and macroscopic evidence of human behavior in the past. By ignoring them, we ignore important pieces of the puzzle that can help us ask and answer new questions. In this presentation we use two archaeological examples from the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico, to evaluate what is known and how much more can be gathered from the incorporation of geoarchaeological techniques as part of the regular archaeological methodology. Our study reveals that the processes of human behavior and patterns of land use are severely simplified when only the macroscopic assemblage is considered. The study of sediments expands and enhances the complexity of the site formation processes and behavioral patterns. This allows the evaluation of new questions and innovative implications regarding, for example, patterns of production, consumption and discard of subsistence resources, or differentiated intra-site use of land-surfaces.


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Sediments as Artifacts: Geoarchaeological Analyses for the Understanding of Social Processes and Subsistance Strategies. Lara Sánchez-Morales, Isabel Rivera-Collazo. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403056)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America