The late Pleistocene Pilauco site, Osorno, south-central Chile

Quaternary International (Impact Factor: 2.06). 11/2013; 299:3–12. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2012.05.001


Paleontological and archaeological sites have frequently been found in open locations of the Intermediate Depression of south-central Chile. This paper presents the results of two field sampling seasons carried out at the Pilauco Site (ca. 39°S) and compares them with those of three well known sites in Chile: Quereo, Tagua-Tagua and Monte Verde, ca. 32°, 34° and 41°S, respectively. Stratigraphic data collected at Pilauco and the resulting radiocarbon age model suggest that before 12,540 ± 90 BP the old Damas River eroded an older volcaniclastic hill, which was followed by a bog formation in an ox-bow lake. The site was developing up to 11,004 ± 186 BP, the date of the youngest vertebrate fossil. Two younger peat beds seal the site. As in Tagua-Tagua and Monte Verde, Gomphotheres are the most represented megafauna. Fossils of Equidae, Camelidae, Cervidae, Mephitidae, Muridae, Myocastoridae and Xenarthra are also found in Pilauco. As a whole, 718 bones, 30 teeth and 11 coprolites represent the extinct and extant vertebrates. Preliminary taphonomic results suggest action of various agents in the bones, i.e. trampling, root etching, abrasion, and carnivore gnawing. The spatial analysis suggests the transfer of smaller anatomical units (e.g. bones of camelids and horses) and the rearrangement of some pieces comparatively large (e.g. gomphothere bones). Similar to the present day north Patagonian landscape, the area where Pilauco site is located had a variety of animal resources, plants and stones in an ecotone between hills, floodplains and wetlands. A total of 101 lithics were recorded: basalt and quartzite were collected from nearby fluvial deposits and dacitic obsidian from the local volcaniclastic deposits. Debitage is the most represented lithic item (75%); cores and marginal edge-trimmed artifacts represented 12 and 13%, respectively. Artifacts and flakes are spatially and temporality associated in the same PB-7 bed with high bone concentrations in some specific areas, between 361 and 424 cm of local altitude. This industry is characterized by a recurrent lithic expedite technology with production of flakes and chips which mastered marginal retouches over the bifacial trimming. This seems to be connected to strategic conditions of high resource diversity, especially of human groups with a high or medium mobility across land. Pilauco represents a site contemporaneous to Monte Verde related as well to the first human occupation in the southern cone of South America, but with higher mammal diversity.

  • Source
    • "Thus, there were no support for two sympatric species and a new combination was proposed: N. platensis , which has high morphological variation in upper tusks and molars complexity. Despite several authors followed the most recent classification (Asevedo et al., 2012; Laurito and Val erio, 2012; Araújo-Júnior et al., 2013; Avilla et al., 2013; Barbosa et al., 2013; Dantas et al., 2013; Lucas, 2013), others still use outdated classification, considering S. waringi and S. platensis as valid for South America, without further discussion (Labarca-Encina and Alberdi, 2011; Corona et al., 2012; Pardo-Jaramillo, 2012; Pino et al., 2013; Prado and Alberdi, 2014). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite more than two centuries of study, the South American Gomphotheriidae (SAG) taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography are still problematic. The current knowledge about SAG is outdated and a revision of the classic concepts is necessary. Here, we analyzed a very large sample of Gomphotheriidae remains from North and South Americas. A taxonomic revision based on well-preserved diagnostic materials allowed the recognition of Notiomastodon platensis and Cuvieronius hyodon to South America, which are distributed from lowland to highland localities in this continent. Nevertheless, SAG remains of 66% of analyzed localities are not significantly diagnostic at specific level. Amahuacatherium peruvium diagnostic features are considered invalid and within the morphological variability range expected for N. platensis. The genus Stegomastodon is recognized as absent from South America and morphologically distinct of SAG taxa. The oldest record of SAG indicates that the arrival of this family in South America probably occurred during the Plio-Pleistocene, after the closure of the Isthmus of Panama.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Quaternary Science Reviews
  • Source
    • "Archaeologically speaking, all of these sites are characterized by a very expedient and non-formalized lithic industry, the only exceptions being the El Jobo-like projectile points recovered at Monte Verde. In terms of subsistence, while the valley sites of Monte Verde (Dillehay, 1997) and Pilauco (Pino et al., 2013) are associated with extinct fauna (we do not have this information for Chinchihuapi and Río Bueno) the cordillera sites are associated with modern fauna (Vel asquez and Adan, 2004; García, 2009; Navarro et al., 2010). As regards the dated materials, the dating of coastal seaweeds for Monte Verde (Dillehay et al., 2008a, 2008b) are chronologically coincident with the remaining dates for the site. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A chronological database of 398 dates (247 14 C dates, 148 thermoluminescence dates, and 3 obsidian hydration dates), covering the early peopling period up to the present, is presented for Southern Chile. This information is used to assess both the paleodemography, understood as human population dynamics in the past; and the "archaeo-demography", understood as the research dynamics of archaeologists in the present, of that region. From the early peopling up to the Late Archaic, information is geographically and chronologically scarce and scattered, the exception being the coast. For this latter area, it is possible to posit the existence of an occupation hiatus extending from at least around 3400 cal BP to around 2350 cal BP. After this latter date, a regional incremental trend is evident, along with the earliest presence of ceramics, as well as evidence of probable horticultural practices. On the other hand, the coast, compared to the valley and cordillera, has been the most active area for archaeological research and dating since the 1990s. This database as a whole helps to expose research biases and current gaps, in order to improve and expand our knowledge of the long history of Southern Chile's human occupation.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Quaternary International
  • Source
    • "Northern Patagonia Pleistocene mammal assemblages have only been recently documented. The above has mainly been related to the discovery of the Pilauco site, with nine mammal forms identified (Pino et al., 2013). However, within this assemblage, carnivores are practically absent. "

    Full-text · Dataset · Nov 2014
Show more