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Title:Volcanic Activity and Human Occupation of the Northern Andes: The Application of Tephrostratigraphic Techniques to The Problem of Human Settlement in The Western Montana During The Ecuadorian Formative
Author(s):Isaacson, John Simon
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Archaeology
Abstract:This dissertation includes two related studies. The first study applies tephrostratigraphic techniques to correlate and source subaerial fallout tephra deposits which mantle Formative Period archaeological sites in the western montana and the Quito basin of Pichincha Province, Ecuador. Excavations in the Tulipe valley defined the Nueva Era Phase occupation, 1200-335 B.C., and the Tulipe Phase occupation, A.D. 800-1660, separated stratigraphically by a 2.5m column of culturally sterile tephra which represents a short period of intense volcanic activity dating to 335 B.C. The Tulipe Phase occupation is also mantled by a tephra deposit dated A.D. 1660. The sources for the two tephra mantles are Volcano Pululagua (Nueva Era Phase tephra) and Guagua Pichincha (Tulipe Phase tephra). Correlation of these tephras with contemporary archaeological sites and identification of their sources permitted assessments of the relative magnitude of the eruptions.
The long period of abandonment of the western montana, due to the effects of the 335 B.C. eruption of Volcano Pululagua, is an important consideration which has significant implications for the reconstruction of the prehistory of northern Ecuador. Using this example as a case study, a survey of published archaeological and geological reports demonstrates the occurrence of numerous explosive volcanic eruptions throughout the Northern Andean volcanic zone over the past 5,000 years. These data are used to form a provisional volcanic sequence for the Northern Andes. This provisional sequence demonstrates that the archaeological invisibility of sierran Formative Period sites in the Northern Andes is a by-product of this active geological environment. Volcanic activity must be taken into consideration in regional reconstructions of Northern Andean Prehistory.
The second study analyzes the artifacts and the archaeobotanical remains from the buried Formative Period structures of the Nueva Era site. It demonstrates that the Nueva Era inhabitants had a root crop based agricultural economy, were involved in the long-distance trade of obsidian, and had an intense interaction with the contemporaneous groups of the Quito basin. Ceramic trade pieces defined in the ceramic complex suggest ties with the interandean valleys of western Colombia as well.
Issue Date:1987
Description:440 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8721664
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1987

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