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Using surface chemical markers to identify patterns of human activity: the case of Tierras Nuevas, Puerto Rico

Author(s): Jan Pérez ; Isabel Rivera-Collazo

Year: 2017

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Summary

Human activities leave chemical traces in the sediments, which can give us clues about the content of the subsoil and the activities that might have occurred in the past. In this study we evaluate the potential of the geochemical evaluation of sediment samples collected from surface survey for the identification of buried patterns of human activity at the site of Tierras Nuevas, is an archaeological site in a tropical environment. Based on topographical characteristics, we had identified patterns of mounds and ball courts at the site but very few or no archaeological artifacts were visible. This study sampled the surface along parallel transects and analyzed their phosphate content and their pH levels. The analyses show high correlation between the patterns of geochemical characteristics with the different types of earthen features on the site. This study shows the potential of non-invasive geochemical and geoarchaeological testing for the identification of archaeological patterns of human activity, and leaves an open door to continue developing this type of methodology in the Caribbean.


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Using surface chemical markers to identify patterns of human activity: the case of Tierras Nuevas, Puerto Rico. Jan Pérez, Isabel Rivera-Collazo. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429036)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Caribbean


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14830

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