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Human Coprolite Diet Reconstruction Confirms Wetland Resource Use in the Coast of the Atacama Desert, 6580 cal. yr BP

Author(s): Karl Reinhard ; Luz Ramirez de Bryson ; Nicole Searcey ; Isabel Teixeira-Santos ; Calogero Santoro

Year: 2017

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Summary

It has been proposed that Chinchorro coastal people along the Atacama Desert in northern Chile had marginal access to plant food, a position refuted by recent scholars. The older perspective comes from bone chemistry analyses which showed a nearly exclusive reliance on marine animal resources. Newer analyses of mummy gut contents shows a substantial reliance on wetland plant resources, especially sedge rhizomes and seeds. Therefore, existing analyses present very different ideas of Chinchorro diet. We undertook the analysis of 16 coprolites from two Chinchorro sites. The analysis of pollen from these sites demonstrates two further uses of different plant communities beyond sedge wetlands. At one site, polleniferous cattail flower heads were eaten. The second site shows an exploitation of desert scrublands where mesquite, acacia and goosefoot were available. These data expand our knowledge of Chinchorro use of wetland and dryland plant communities.


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Cite this Record

Human Coprolite Diet Reconstruction Confirms Wetland Resource Use in the Coast of the Atacama Desert, 6580 cal. yr BP. Karl Reinhard, Luz Ramirez de Bryson, Nicole Searcey, Isabel Teixeira-Santos, Calogero Santoro. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431016)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
South America


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16764

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