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

Humans arrived in the Atacama Desert 13,000 years ago, facing one of the harshest landscapes on Earth. They settled in a rainless stretch of land with only scattered patches of biotic resources fed by increased rainfall in the distant Andes. To succeed, they established social networks with people from different environments, creating essential bonds to maintain viable populations. My goal is to understand how they survived in the Atacama and how they selected places to establish their camps. I propose that, aside from water, groves of trees were important when choosing locations to settle, providing shade, islands of productivity and landmarks. These places would have promoted aggregation in a region that lies between two richer ecozones: the Andes and the Pacific coast. In order to test this, I will (1) study the modification of soils to learn the extent and intensity of archaeological occupations with a geoarchaeological approach; (2) map and radiocarbon date tree stumps; (3) analyze artifact styles; and (4) measure stable isotopes of camelid remains to establish their provenance with mass spectrometry. My research will contribute to the understanding of the possible deep roots of the Andean ecological complementarity, i.e. the strategic exchange of resources from different ecosystems.