Proyecto Arqueologico y Paleontologico Chivacabe: A Geomorphic and Geoarchaeological Investigation of Late Quaternary Environments in Northwesten Highland Guatemala




Yelacic, David M.

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This thesis presents the description, analysis, and interpretation of sediments and soils encountered at the archaeological and paleontological site, Chivacabe, located in Highlands of northwestern Guatemala. Chivacabe had been investigated and excavated twice previously, but both former projects lacked a systematic and intensive geomorphic and geoarchaeological investigation. Additionally, early investigations at the site resulted in contrasting site formation hypotheses: lacustrine sediment v. volcanically-derived colluvium. Intentions of this component of the 2009 investigations were to systematically record the sediments associated with the site, and also to provide a substantially supported site formation hypothesis. As a result of fieldwork and laboratory analyses, three allostratigraphic units within the previously excavated block were identified and described. An additional two profile exposures were de cribed in order to supplement the understanding of the site's sediments. The it containing the Pleistocene faunal remains was confirmed as colluvially re-worked volcanic ash, and radiocarbo:p_ dates frame the deposit between 15,700 and 12,920 yr BP (Cal. 2-sigma). This age range places the Pleistocene fauna beyond the accepted beginning of human presence in the New World. The unit above the re-worked volcanic ash was radiocarbon dated to 10,190 yr BP, minimally. This unit is marked by a prominent Btkb horizon, and could feasibly contain the vestiges of human occupation at the site. The uppermost unit truncates the middle unit, and most likely represents erosion and deposition in the latter portion of the Holocene. Overarching conclusions from the 2009 geomorphic and geoarchaeological investigations are that 1) sediments containing the Pleistocene bone bed are not lacustrine, 2) the Pleistocene faunal remains are not associated with cultural remains, and 3) evidence of early occupation at this locale is likely in the middle depositional unit, marked by a prominent calcic horizon.



archaeological geology, sedimentation, sediments, paleoclimatology, deposition, quaternary


Yelacic, D. M. (2010). Proyecto Arqueologico y Paleontologico Chivacabe: A geomorphic and geoarchaeological investigation of late Quaternary environments in northwesten highland Guatemala (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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