4 years ago

Ten years of actualistic taphonomic research in the Pampas region of Argentina: Contributions to regional archaeology

Over the last decade, we have conducted an actualistic taphonomic research program in the Humid Pampas of Argentina, in order to build a corpus of information about the taphonomic agents and processes characterizing this sub-region. In this paper, we present a summary of our results after ten years of actualistic taphonomic studies in the Pampas. Our program includes both naturalistic and experimental research. Some of the controlled experiments consist of studies with different-aged guanaco bones, including sub-aerial weathering in a controlled environment, and water transport with disarticulated bones. Other studies were conducted at a local zoo, where we offered different types of prey to native small-sized carnivores (canids, felids, mustelids, and mephitids). Our naturalistic observations include the development of taphonomic transects in different environments. Through this method, we were able to study different topics among which some of the more significant are the movement of bones by small-sized carnivores and the distribution of beached Magellanic penguin specimens along the coast. Particular studies included the analyses of the content of dens occupied by small carnivores, the effects of a grassland fire in a vertebrate assemblage, the modifications produced by a local rodent -vizcacha- in the landscape, and the damage generated by pumas in guanaco carcasses. After ten years of systematic research we contributed to identify the potential mixture between modern bones and the archaeological record in relation to the environment; to determine bone preservation biases according to the properties of the record; to recognize agents responsible of bone accumulation and alteration; and to establish diagnostic criteria in order to differentiate cultural from natural patterns.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1040618217306602

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