INSTITUTO DE ANTROPOLOGIA DE CORDOBA
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Forest Fires and Abandonment Patterns: A Paleoenvorimental Study based on Analysis of Microcharcoals from the Aguada Culture in the Ambato Valley, Catamarca Province, Northwest Argentina
HENRIK B. LINDSKOUG
British Archaeological Reports Ltd
Lugar: Oxford; Año: 2016 p. 194
The general objective of this study is to analyse the Aguada society´s abandonment of the Ambato Valley and the evidence related to this process, focusing on palaeoenvironmental factors. This question was associated with fire regimes in the study area. Since several of the archaeological contexts from the area showed that multiple sites had been affected by fires, (Martínez 2, PiedrasBlancas, and Iglesia de Los Indios), microcharcoal evidence was used to evaluate, analyse, and identify past fire sequences and fire regimes in pursuit of a linkbetween fires and abandonment. The specific subject of the analysis was the frequency and sequences of the fires, and new techniques and methods based onearlier studies were developed in order to achieve this research objective. The data collected shows that the ecosystem in the Ambato Valley was frequently impacted by recurrent fires since at least 4,500 years B.P., based upon theoldest AMS radiocarbon dates obtained. This study argues that fires have beena recurrent part of this environment and landscape and an integral part of the surroundings of the people inhabiting the area, the Aguada society. There are certain areas which seem to have been struck by more intense and severe fires than others, with some periods also showing stronger fire signals with abundant microcharcoal remains, indicating a the presence of fires that were more intense, frequent, and severe. These wildfires are assumed to have been both natural and cultural in origin, created by both natural events such as lightingstrikes as well as by human action.