The brief, terminal Pleistocene archaeological site at Santa Julia (SJ, 31° 50′ S; 71° 45′ W) is the only one with fluted projectile preforms and megafauna consumption known from the Chilean semiarid coastline. Here, we present the climatic history at SJ during the early Holocene reconstructed from pollen and charcoal analyses spanning 13.2–8.6 ka (=103 calibrated 14C yr BP). Elevated charcoal concentrations confirm human activity by 13.2 ka. Human occupation decreased in intensity and charcoal practically disappears from the record after 10.6 ka, followed by wetland expansion at SJ between 10.5 and 9.5 ka. Local dominance of coastal shrubland reveals that dry phases occurred between >11.2–10.5 and 9.5–9.0 ka. Overall, these findings imply that by modulating available resources at both local and landscape levels climate change may have played an important role in explaining the peopling of semiarid coastal Chile. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Quaternary Science – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 2010
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