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Polished edge stone tools from the Gulf of Morrosquillo, Caribbean coast of Colombia, evidence of an advanced lithic industry

Author(s): Juan Gonzalez ; James Hinthorne

Year: 2016

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Summary

Highly polished edge stone tools occur in large numbers all along the Gulf of Morrosquillo’s coastal plain on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. Despite the remarkably large quantities of stone tools and the impressive craftsmanship they display, they have gone unnoticed by archaeological surveys. In an area where the geology is dominated by a thick sequence of marine sedimentary rocks, the presence of stone tools made from high grade metamorphic and igneous rocks suggest that these were likely imported as finished products. This study reports on an assemblage of over 200 edge stone tools found by farmers at or close to the ground surface and as such lack chronological and cultural contexts. A combination of mineralogical analysis of a representative suite of tools using non-destructive XRD, an assessment of the degree of surface weathering and comparisons with museum collections, are used to argue that the majority of these elaborate tools were made by the Tairona people. The Tairona inhabited the southern and western flanks of the Santa Marta Massif, 250 km to the north between 800 and 1600 AD. Production at a large scale and a well-organized distribution system are required to rationalize the large volume of lithic tools.


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Polished edge stone tools from the Gulf of Morrosquillo, Caribbean coast of Colombia, evidence of an advanced lithic industry. Juan Gonzalez, James Hinthorne. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404864)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

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