Rodrigo Loyola

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Paris 10-Nanterre, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9830

Approve Date

April 30, 2019

Project Title

Loyola, Rodrigo (Paris 10-Nanterre, U. of) "Hunter-gatherer social networks and lithic procurement during the early peopling of the Atacama Desert"

The Atacama Desert located in the northern Chile was populated more than 13,000 years ago by small, scattered groups of hunter-gatherers who occupied the desert lowlands (2000 m.asl), the intermediate floors (3,000 m.asl) and the highlands of the Andes range (> 4,000 m.asl). However, aspects related to social organization of the first human groups and how they remained connected in such extreme conditions remains largely unknown. Through the study lithic artifacts, this research attempts to answer to what extent and level of organization the social networks could maintain cohesion. Archaeological collections and materials recovered from excavations of 15 archaeological sites dated between 13000 and 9000 years BP will be studied. Lithic samples will be subjected to X-Ray fluorescence (XRF) and neutronic activation (NAA) analysis in order to determine their source of origin and compared with ethnographic data. Contrary to current belief, this research will demonstrate that broad social networks and long-distance interactions between groups were a key strategy during the population of the Atacama Desert, laying the basis for the early social complexity of later periods.