Paula Carolina Ugalde Vasquez

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Arizona, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10159

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Ugalde Vasquez, Paula, Arizona, U. of, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on "Envisioning a Paleoindian Communal Space: Living Under the Trees in the Atacama Desert, Chile," supervised by Dr. Vance Holliday

PAULA UGALDE, then a graduate student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded funding in April 2021 to aid research on “Envisioning a Paleoindian Communal Space: Living Under the Trees in the Atacama Desert, Chile,” supervised by Dr. Vance Holliday. About 11,600 to 10,800 years ago, the Atacama Desert in northern Chile was witnessing its last wetter period before the drought conditions of most of the Holocene. The hunter-gatherer groups that populated this area took advantage of this and made this place their home. Ethnographic research shows us that hunter-gatherers value trees as members of their social and spiritual world, not only using them as fuel but incorporating them in their camps as part of the habitational structures and creating social norms to preserve them. With the exceptional record of tree stumps in the Atacama we can observe the relationship that its first human inhabitants had with trees. With this research’s intensive radiocarbon dating and mapping of trees, now we can say that these hunter-gatherers were living among and under the them. Quebrada Man’ 35, was likely a confluence place for larger groups of hunter-gatherers, since it offered many resources concentrated in one place, including potable water, a variety of fauna, and the benefits of a small forest of Prosopis tamarugo and Schinus molle. We know that they were not only using the trees as fuel, but likely as shade, protection, tools, and even as part of their living structures.