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Missing the point: re-evaluating the earliest lithic technology in the Middle Orinoco.

Riris, P., Oliver, J. and Lozada Mendieta, N., 2018. Missing the point: re-evaluating the earliest lithic technology in the Middle Orinoco. Royal Society Open Science, 5 (6), 180690.

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DOI: 10.1098/rsos.180690


The Culebra site, located in close proximity to the Atures Rapids, is one of the very few open-air occupations in the entire Orinoco valley that is thought to date to the early Holocene. Following renewed excavations in this location, we characterize the stone technology in unprecedented detail and perform both quantitative and qualitative analyses of the assemblage deposited in the first cultural layers. Additionally, we directly date the sediment forming the depositional context of the assemblage using stratigraphically stable components of soil organic matter. Coupled with our stratigraphic and paedological data, the deposit is, contrary to established estimates, shown to date to the late Holocene, well after the appearance of ceramics in the region. The toolkit identified through the lithic analysis, therefore, does not reflect an Archaic hunter–gatherer adaptation as previously assumed. Our findings are placed in the context of previous research in the Orinoco and lowland South America more broadly. More work is needed to understand the changing role of different stone tool reduction sequences with reference to adaptational strategies and bioclimatic variability.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:AMS dating; lithic technology; early Holocene; sediment; preceramic; Orinoco
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:33471
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:21 Feb 2020 16:21
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:20


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