San Jacinto 1
A Historical Ecological Approach to an Archaic Site in Colombia
Publication Year: 2005
A significant work of neotropical archaeology presenting evidence of early hunter-gatherers who produced fiber-tempered ceramics.
Few topics in the development of humans have prompted as much interest and debate as those of the origins of pottery and agriculture. The first appearance of pottery in any area of the world is heralded as a new stage in the progress of humans toward a more complex arrangement of thought and society. Cultures are defined and separated by the occurrence of pottery types, and the association of pottery with mobility and agriculture continues to drive research in anthropology. For these reasons, the discovery of the earliest fiber-tempered pottery in the New World and carbonized remains identified as maize kernels is exciting.
San Jacinto 1 is the archaeological site located in the savanna region of the north coast of Colombia, South America, where excavations by led by the authors have revealed evidence of mobile hunter-gatherers who made pottery and who collected and processed plants from 6000 to 5000 B.P. The site is believed to show an early human adaptation to the tropics in the context of significant environmental changes that were taking place at the time.
This volume presents the data gathered and the interpretations made during excavation and analysis of the San Jacinto 1 site. By examining the social activities of a human population in a highly seasonal environment, it adds greatly to our contemporary understanding of the historical ecology of the tropics. Study of the artifacts excavated at the site allows a window into the early processes of food production in the New World. Finally, the data reveals that the origins of ceramic technology in the tropics were tied to a reduction in mobility and an increase in territoriality and are widely applicable to similar studies of sedentism and agriculture worldwide.
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
List of Figures
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List of Tables
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Preface and Acknowledgments
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To do archaeology is more than to have a research problem, economic support, excavations, and a presentation of results. Any archaeological project takes place in a social, economic, and political context that influences its development. This fact is especially true of the current work, which took place in one of the most violent democracies in the world: Colombia. It seems to be...
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Few topics in the development of humans have prompted as much interest and perhaps debate as that of the origins of pottery and food production. The first appearance of pottery in any area of the world is heralded as a new stage in the progress of humans toward a more complex arrangement of thought and society...
2. The Theoretical Framework
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The importance of theory in archaeology and other sciences lies in its ability to ask questions that direct data collection. Once a preliminary evaluation of San Jacinto 1 was done in 1986 and the dates confirmed the early evidence ...
3. The Strata and Features
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Stratigraphy in archaeology is the backbone to any excavation. Stratigraphy is the vertical association of soils, features, and artifacts in specific episodes of time. Soil deposition and activities in time are laid down in layers or strata. In archaeology, the differentiation of strata at a site allows for the differentiation of activities through time. Features in archaeology, on the other hand, are the...
4. The Pottery and Lithics
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This chapter presents an analysis of the pottery and lithic types recovered from San Jacinto 1. These types of artifacts are usually the cornerstones for any interpretation of an archaeological site. This chapter focuses both on the source of material of the lithics and on the time invested for construction of both the lithic tools and the pottery to better ...
5. The Ecofactual Remains
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The ecofactual remains recovered from archaeological sites can reveal a wealth of information about the lifeways of the inhabitants and the environments and ecosystems in which they lived. Ecofactual remains include faunal remains and botanical remains (DeFrance et al. 1996; Hastorf 1999b). They yield information on the environment at the times of the site’s occupations,...
6. San Jacinto 1 in Perspective
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The site of San Jacinto 1 has proven to be a fascinating one, well worth the effort of excavating through a deep stratigraphy of alluvial soils. The site has yielded a rich context of material including the earliest fiber-tempered pottery recovered in the New World. From San Jacinto 1, we can begin to get an understanding of ways of life that are usually invisible and undiscovered due...
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Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2005