viernes, 31 de enero de 2014

In search of comprehension of archaeological contexts in Tucumán


As testimonies of pre-Columbian Cultures, Archaeological sites of the province of Tucumán conserve emblematic fragments of the history of South America. There are Inca settlements and vestiges of previous aboriginal cultures where their practices before the Spanish conquest remain explicit.
María Marta Sampietro Vattuone, CONICET independent researcher at the Geoarcheology Laboratory of the National University of Tucumán, has done intensive research into the ways of practising agriculture before the hispanic colonization and the particular uses of space.
The study published in the specific magazine Quaternary Research shows that phosphorus concentrations in pre-hispanic agricultural soils of Tafí Valley reflect the use of fertilizers. Besides, the remains of eroded ceramic reveal the process of the formation of sites. The characteristics of the soils allow reconstructing the climate of the time, more favourable for agriculture than the current. All this reflects the behaviour of the populations that inhabited the valley and provides clues about their socio-economic development.
In the last decade of geoarchaeology investigations in Tucumán, several studies over the paleoenvironmental conditions that prevailed during the last 3 thousand years have been conducted. The focus was placed on the Tafí Valley, the area of one of the first socio-cultural agricultural developments of the Argentine Northwest (NOA).
“Essentially, we work with geoarchaeology, using the methods and techniques of geosciences to solve archaeological problems. Our investigation is based on the finding and analysis of new sites in diverse places of the Calchaquí valleys”, Sampietro explains.
The team used a series of physicochemical indicators of soils – either current or old ones – to try understand agricultural practices implemented from the beginning of agriculture in the Calchaquí Valleys to the first hispanic-indigenous contact. Sampietro states “this time margin ranges from the year 1.000 BC to 1.500 AD, when the Spanish approximately arrived”.
Apart from trying to describe how the soils were, the team seeks to know about the preferences for settlement in the available areas, taking into consideration the existing resources. For the researcher, the cultures changed according to the variation of the technological capabilities and the climate.
“During the first sedentary settlements, the climate was more humid, but towards the year 1.000 BC it turned drier and it went on like that for the following 500 years, with a tendency to become arid”, Sampietro says.
According to the study, the lack of water made populations adapt and come up with new ways of inhabiting the territory: marginal areas and towns that had disperse settlements became more united and concentrated in the proximity of water courses.

Source: DiCYT:

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