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Monte Verde: Seaweed, Food, Medicine, and the Peopling of South America

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  • Universidad Austral de Chile and FEPPO Foundation
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Monte Verde: Seaweed, Food, Medicine, and the Peopling of South America

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The identification of human artifacts at the early archaeological site of Monte Verde in southern Chile has raised questions of when and how people reached the tip of South America without leaving much other evidence in the New World. Remains of nine species of marine algae were recovered from hearths and other features at Monte Verde II, an upper occupational layer, and were directly dated between 14,220 and 13,980 calendar years before the present (∼12,310 and 12,290 carbon-14 years ago). These findings support the archaeological interpretation of the site and indicate that the site's inhabitants used seaweed from distant beaches and estuarine environments for food and medicine. These data are consistent with the ideas that an early settlement of South America was along the Pacific coast and that seaweeds were important to the diet and health of early humans in the Americas.
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DOI: 10.1126/science.1156533
, 784 (2008); 320Science
et al.Tom D. Dillehay,
Peopling of South America
Monte Verde: Seaweed, Food, Medicine, and the
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Monte Verde: Seaweed, Food,
Medicine, and the Peopling
of South America
Tom D. Dillehay,
1
* C. Ramírez,
2
M. Pino,
3
M. B. Collins,
4
J. Rossen,
5
J. D. Pino-Navarro
6
The identification of human artifacts at the early archaeological site of Monte Verde in
southern Chile has raised questions of when and how people reached the tip of South America
without leaving much other evidence in the New World. Remains of nine species of marine
algae were recovered from hearths and other features at Monte Verde II, an upper occupational
layer, and were directly dated between 14,220 and 13,980 calendar years before the present
(~12,310 and 12,290 carbon-14 years ago). These findings support the archaeological
interpretation of the site and indicate that the sites inhabitants used seaweed from distant beaches
and estuarine environments for food and medicine. These data are consistent with the ideas
that an early settlement of South America was along the Pacific coast and that seaweeds were
important to the diet and health of early humans in the Americas.
M
ost scholars now accept that people
entered the Americas through Beringia
before 16,000 calendar years ago
(13). After entering, it is not known whether
people colonized the hemisphere by moving
along the Pacific coast, through interior routes,
or along both areas. Early coastal migrants prob-
ably obtained much of their food from the sea,
including sea mammals, shellfish, and seaweed
(4, 5). Convincing data have not yet been recov-
ered to support the coastal model, although a
few early littoral sites have been reported (611).
A coastal route along which resources are sim-
ilar would more easily explain the rapid move-
ment of people into South America and their
presence at Monte Verde II, Chile, the upper
layer of the Monte Verde site, dated at ~14,600
calendar years before the present (cal yr B.P.)
(12, 13) [supporting online material (SOM) text,
section 2]. Here we report the recovery of three
marine, two estuarine, and one terrestrial shore-
line algae species new to the site and three ad-
ditional stone artifacts, one with the remains
of seaweed on a worked edge, that suggest a
strong reliance on coastal resources for food
and medicine.
Monte Verde II is buried in the terraces of a
small creek in the Mau llín river basi n, located
midway between the Pacific coast and the Andean
mountains. Today, the area is characterized by
a cool temperate climate, by wetlands composed
of various hydrophytic communities and their
successive species, and by remnants of a partly
deciduous rainforest (12). During the late Pleis-
tocene, temperatures were cooler, the site was
drier, and the coast was situated ~90 km to the
west, where sandy beaches, rocky shores, and
delta estuaries offered a wide variety of ma-
rine and brackish water resources (Fig. 1). The
inland marine bay of Seno de Reloncavi, dom-
inated by a rocky shoreline, was ~15 km to the
south. Monte Verde was ~120 m above sea level
at the time of human occupation (SOM text,
section 1). T oday, the sea is ~55 km west and
~1 1 km south of the site and ~59 m below it.
At Monte Verde II, organic remains are well
preserved under a peat stratum that covers the
~14,600 cal yr B.P. archaeological layer. Pre-
vious research recovered wood tent remains,
hut foundations and floors, hearths and bra-
ziers, wooden lances, mortars and digging sticks,
medicinal and edible plants, animal bones, hide
and soft tissue, human footprints, numerous
stone tools, and other materials demonstrating
human occupation (13). This evidence sug-
gests that the site was occupied year round
1
Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville,
TN 37265, USA, and Instituto de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad
Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.
2
Instituto de Botánica,
Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.
3
Instituto de
Geociencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile, and
Núcleo Forest Ecosystemic Services to Aquatic Systems
Under Climatic Fluctuations (FORECOS) Millennium Science
Initiative, Chile.
4
Texas Archeological Research Laboratory,
University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA.
5
Department of
Anthropology, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.
6
Centro de Estudios Ambientales, Universidad Austral de
Chile, Valdivia, Chile.
*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:
tom.d.dillehay@vanderbilt.edu
Fig. 1. Map of the Monte Verde area showing the location of the sea level and coastline at ~15,000 to 14,000 cal yr B.P. and at the present day.
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and that resources were exploited from a wide
variety of habitats, including the coast and the
mountains. Fifteen species of aquatic plants from
freshwater marshes of the distant Maullín flood-
plain and from coastal dunes and brackish water
estuaries of t he delta, along with gomphothere
(Cuvieronicus sensu Casamiquela) and paleo-
camelid (Paleolama sp.) meat, wild potatoes
(Solanum maglia), and 45 other plant species
from inland forests and wetlands provided the
bulk of the Monte Verdeans diet (12, 13). In-
cluded i n the plant inventory were four previ-
ously reported varieties of seaweed, Durvillaea
Antar ctica (cochayuyo), Porphyra sp. (luche),
Gracilaria sp. (pelillo), and Sar g ass um sp.,
from sandy and rocky shorelines (1416). All
of these species are edible and have important
medicinal properties. Also recovered were the
remains of 19 other probable medicinal spe-
cies, 5 of which came from coastal environments
(1416). Other coastal resources collected from
beaches and transported to the site were dis-
coidal pebbles made into stone tools, bitumen
used as adhesive to attach tools to wooden shafts,
and marine fossils (12, 13).
Our new analyses are from 27.2 liters of
previously excavated but unstudied sediment fill
from 24 hearths and braziers in the floors of two
structures thought to be the remains of a medic-
inal hut and a residential tent. We recovered the
remains of seaweed and other economically im-
portant plan ts (SOM text, section 2, and table
S1) and three stones, one of which is a flake
tool. Identified were Porphyra sp. and Durvillaea
Antar ctica (Fig. 2) and five new species of sea-
weed: Gigartina sp. (luga r oja); Mazzaella sp.
(luga cuchara); Porphyra columbina; probably
Sarcothalia crispata (lu ga negra,Fig.3);and
Macr ocystis pyrifera (huir o)(13). We also recov-
ered Trentepohlia sp., an algae that is available
exclusively on trees (Aextoxicon punctatum and
Griselinia jodinifolia) and rocks in the littoral
zone. The excellent preservation of the speci-
mens allowed species-level identifications based
on cellular structure, plant morphology, and color .
Two accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon
dates derived from fragments of Gigartina sp.
on the floor of a wishbone-shaped hut and from
Mazzaella sp.inabrazieronatentfloorarere-
spectively between 14,190 and 13,990 cal yr B.P.
(~12,290 ± 60 C
14
yr B.P., Beta Analytic radio-
carbon dating service sample number 238355)
and 14,220 and 13,980 cal yr B.P. (~12,310 ±
40 C
14
B.P., Beta Analytic sample number
239650). These dates agree with those derived
from wood artifacts and charcoal in hearths at
Monte Verde II, which range between 14,600
and 14,200 cal yr B.P. (13).
It was difficult to count the soft remains of
the 10 species of algae because many were frag-
mented and mixed with other plants in masti-
cated cuds, thought to be representative of an
ancient pharmacopeia (14, 15) (SOM text, sec-
tion 3, and fig. S1), or were trampled and em-
bedded in hut floors. However, the dry weight
total of all excavated seaweed remains was
~125 g. Several algae fragments were partially
burned, suggesting that they had been dried,
probably for transport from the coast or for
storage, or were cooked. The fragility of soft leafy
seaweeds, their unlikely preservation in archaeo-
logical sites, and yet their widespread dispersion
in hearths and braziers across the site and their
combination with other medicinal plants in the
form of masticated cuds suggest their value for
both food and medicinal purposes.
The seaweeds represent contrasts in en-
vironment and seasonal availability . Four genera
(Durvi llaea, Porphyra, Mazzaella,andSarco-
thalia) derive from rocky coastlines and inter-
tidal pools located west and south of Monte
Verde ( 16, 17), whereas three (Gracilaria, Gig-
artina,andMacr ocystis) originate only from
sandy coastlines west of the site. The peak avail-
ability of three (Mazzaella, Gigartina,andSarco-
thalia) occurs from early spring to early summer,
one (Gracilaria) is available from late spring
to early summer, one (Porphyra) is found in mid-
summer , and one (Durvillaea) occurs in late sum-
mer to early fall (1821). Sargass um sp. (Fig. 4)
is a warm-water species with a wide Pacific nat-
ural range. Its growth anywhere in Chile, where
the cold Humboldt Current sweeps the coast, is
doubtful (1722). Sargas sum probably reached
Chile through violent storms or major El Niño
events, or perhaps the configuration of ocean
currents was different at the time of site occu-
pation. Tr entepohlia sp. is available year round
along the littoral. Seaweed collection by Monte
Verdeans was thus conducted at various coastal
locales from early spring to early fall. Today, the
tidal range of the sea varies from 6.5 m near
Puerto Montt in the Reloncavi Bay to 4 m at
the mouth of the Maullín River, in both areas
producing a wide and abundantly available
resource-rich intertidal beach. With the excep-
tion of Sargassum sp., moderate quantities of
all varieties of seaweeds are deposited along
the shoreline during storm surges. All nine sea-
weed species recovered at Monte Verde II are
excellent sources of iodine, iron, zinc, protein,
hormones, and a wide range of trace elements,
particularly cobalt, copper , boron, and manga-
nese (2329 ). Secondary beneficial effects of
these seaweeds include aiding cholesterol me-
tabolism, increasing the calcium uptake of bones,
antibiotic effects, and increasing the bodys abil-
ity to fight infection. These species have medic-
inal uses that closely correspond to common
contemporary health problems in the study area
today (SOM text, section 3). Two species, Gig-
artina and Sargassum, are non-edible and were
evidently used exclusively for medicinal pur-
poses. Collectively, the seaweeds an d 10 other
plant species at Monte Verde II suggest a medic-
inal stock derived from the cool temperate en-
vironment of the region. These same species are
used today as medicinal plants by local indig-
enous populations.
We also recovered a total of 268 edible
seeds, fruits, and other plant parts (SOM and
table S1) from the processed feature fills, which
correspond with the genera previously reported
Fig. 2. Microscopic view of an archaeological
specimen of Durvillaea antarctica from a hearth
matrix located in the remains of a domestic hut.
Scale bar, ~100 mm.
Fig. 3. Microscopic view of an archaeological
specimen of Sarcothalia crispata from a hearth
matrix located in the remains of a domestic hut.
Scale bar, ~ 200 mm.
Fig. 4. Microscopic view of
Sargassum sp. from the floor
of the wishbone-shaped hut.
Scale bar, ~100 mm.
www.sciencemag.org SCIENCE VOL 320 9 MAY 2008 785
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from the site (1316). Also recovered were three
stone tools, one of which exhibits microparticles
of Gigartina sp. on a used edge (SOM text, sec-
tion 4, and fig. S2), suggesting that it was used
for cutting and preparing seaweed. Fragments
of Porphyra sp. and Sargassum sp. were reported
previously on other stone tools (13). The remain-
ing two stones show indeterminate human mod-
ification (SOM and figs. S4 to S6).
Not known is whether people arrived at
Monte Verde through an interior or coastal route.
However , these new data indicate that the peo-
ple inhabiting Monte Verde II were accustomed
to frequently exploiting coastal resources year
round, which, coupled with interior foods, al-
lowed them to remain in the area. Prior evidence
suggests that the Monte Verdeans also regularly
moved up and down the Maullín basin to ex-
ploit resources and/or to exchange them with
other people living in the area (13, 16). Assum-
ing that other late Pleistocene people operated
under similar subsistence and settlement prac-
tices, our data imply that if groups traveled
along the Pacific coast, they may have migrated
slowly and exploited the interior resources of
the hundreds of river basins descending the
long mountain chain from Alaska to Tierra del
Fuego to the sea. Several recent archaeological
findings support the idea of early coastal
migration and specialized maritime sites, but
this evidence also indicates contacts with
interior people or transhumance between coast-
al and interior areas and thus broad-spectrum
economies (7, 8, 10, 11).
References and Notes
1. J. Dixon, Bones, Boats, and Bison (Univ. of New Mexico
Press, Albuquerque, NM, 1999).
2. T. D. Dillehay, A New Prehistory: Settlement of the
Americas (Basic Books, New York, 2000).
3. D. Meltzer, Dev. Quat. Sci. 1, 539 (2003).
4. K. R. Fladmark, Am. Antiq. 44, 55 (1979).
5. R. Gruhn, in Methods and Theory for Investigating the
Peopling of the Americas, R. Bonnichsen, D. G. Steele,
Ed. (Oregon State Univ. Press, Corvallis, OR, 1994),
pp. 24256.
6. D. Lavallee et al., Bull. Inst. Fr. Etudes Andines 28, 13 (1999).
7. A. L. Martinez, Am. Antiq. 44 , 309 (1979).
8. D. Jackson, C. Mendez, R. Seguel, A. Maldonado, G. Vargas,
Curr. Anthropol. 48, 725 (2007).
9. J. Erlandson, in The First Americans: The Pleistocene
Peopling of the New World, N. Jablonski, Ed. (Memoirs of
the California Academy of Sciences 27, Univ. of Calfornia
Press, Berkeley, CA, 2002), pp. 5293.
10. D. K. Keefer et al., Science 281, 1833 (1998).
11. D. H. Sandweiss et al., Science 281, 1830 (1998).
12. T. D. Dillehay, Monte Verde: A Late Pleistocene Settlement
in Chile, Vol. 1 (Smithsonian Institution. Press,
Washington, DC, 1989).
13. T. D. Dillehay, Monte Verde: A Late Pleistocene.
Settlement in Chile, Vol. 2 (Smithsonian Institution Press,
Washington, DC, 1997).
14. C. Ramírez, in (12), pp. 147169.
15. D. Ugent, D. R. Tindall, in (12), pp. 911914.
16. J. Rossen, T. D. Dillehay, in (13), pp. 331350.
17. J. D. Pino-Navarro, Informe Etnográfico para la
Interpretación de los Posibles Usos de Algas Halladas
en el Sitio Arqueológico Monte Verde, Valle del Río
Maullín, X Región de los Lagos (manuscript on file at
Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN, 2007).
18. M. Ramírez, B. Santelices, Catálogo de las Algas Marinas
Bentónicas de la Costa Templada del Pacífico de
Sudamérica (Monografías Biológicas 5, Pontificia Univ.
Católica, Santiago, Chile, 1991).
19. B. Santelices, Algas Marinas de Chile: Distribución,
Ecología, Utilización, Diversidad (Ediciones Univ. Católica
de Chile, Santiago, Chile, 1989).
20. J. Varela, B. Santelices, J. Correa, M. Arroyo, J. Appl. Phycol.
18, 827 (2006).
21. R. Westermeier, A. Aguilar, J. Siguel, J. Quintanilla,
J. Morales, Hydrobiologia 398-399, 137 (1999).
22. J. C. Castilla et al., Biol. Invasions 7, 213 (2005).
23. E. B. Damonte, M. C. Matulewicz, A. S. Cerezo, Curr. Med.
Chem. 11, 2399 (2004).
24. H.Noda,H.Amano,K.Arahima,K.Nisizawa,Hydrobiologia
204-205, 577 (1990).
25. A. Buschmann et al., J. Appl. Phycol. 13, 255 (2001).
26. B. Matsuhiro, E. Zuñiga, M. Jashesl, M. Guacucanol,
Hydrobiologia 321, 77 (1996).
27. D. McHugh, Hydrobiologia 221, 19 (1991 ).
28. A. Smit, J. Appl. Phycol. 16, 245 (2004).
29. N. J. Turner, H. Clifton, in Eating and Healing: Traditional
Food as Medicine, A. Pieroni, L. Leimar Price, Eds.
(Haworth Press, NY, 2005), pp. 153178.
30. We thank NSF for sponsoring this research and the
Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, Chile, for supporting
it. We are especially grateful to R. Westermeier for
identifying the species of some algae specimens and for
providing invaluable information on the seaweeds in south
Chile. J.D.P.-Ns work was supported by FONDECYT grant
number 1060111. M.P.sworkwassupportedbythe
Millenium Science Nucleus FORECOS, grant number
P04-065-F. The stone specimens were drawn by P. Headrick
and digitally imaged and photographically composed by
S. Gardner. P. Silcox aided in formatting all figures.
P. Romero drafted the digital map in Fig. 1. The authors
are solely responsible for any mistakes.
Supporting Online Material
www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/320/5877/784/DC1
SOM Text
Figs. S1 to S6
Table S1
References
15 February 2008; accepted 8 April 2008
10.1126/science.1156533
DNA from Pre-Clovis Human
Coprolites in Oregon, North America
M. Thomas P. Gilbert,
1
* Dennis L. Jenkins,
2
* Anders therstrom,
3
Nuria Naveran,
4
Juan J. Sanchez,
5
Michael Hofreiter,
6
Philip Francis Thomsen,
1
Jonas Binladen,
1
Thomas F. G. Higham,
7
Robert M. Yohe II,
8
Robert Parr,
8
Linda Scott Cummings,
9
Eske Willerslev
1
The timing of the first human migration into the Americas and its relation to the appearance
of the Clovis technological complex in North America at about 11,000 to 10,800 radiocarbon
years before the present (
14
C years B.P.) remains contentious. We establish that humans were
present at Paisley 5 Mile Point Caves, in south-central Oregon, by 12,300
14
C years B.P.,
through the recovery of human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from coprolites, directly dated
by accelerator mass spectrometry. The mtDNA corresponds to Native American founding
haplogroups A2 and B2. The dates of the coprolites are >1000
14
C years earlier than currently
accepted dates for the Clovis complex.
T
he timing, route, and origin of the first hu-
man migration into the Americas remain
uncertain. Some archaeological (1) and
genetic [reviewed by (2)] evidence has been used
to argue for a settlement by 30,000 years ago (ka)
(calendar years) or even earlier, but both lines
of evidence remain controversial. The most wide-
ly accepted dates of occupation relate to the Clovis
complex, ~11,000 to 10,800
14
Cyearsbeforethe
present (yr B.P.) (13.213.1 to 12.912.8 ka), a
distinct technology t hat appears to hav e origi-
nated and spread throughout North America in as
little as 200 to 300 years (3).
The oldest directly dated human osteological
remains from the Americas are no more than
1 1,000
14
C yr B.P. (~12.9 ka) (3, 4) and appear
to be congruent with the Clovis-first model of
colonization (5, 6). However, this theory is com-
plicated by Monte Verde, in southern Chile, which
contains artifacts dated to ~12,500
14
CyrB.P.
(~13.9 to 13.8 ka) that exhibit little technological
connection to Clovis (7). Although a number of
pre-Clovis occupation sites have been reported
from North America (8), their age and c ultural
origins remain controversial, primarily because
of the lack of directly dated human remains or
artifacts (9).
Here we present evidence for human presence
in North America before the Clovis complex,
through the identification and genetic profiling of
coprolites directly dated to 12,300
14
CyrB.P.
(~14.27to14.0ka)atthePaisley5MilePoint
Caves in south-central Oregon (Fig. 1A). The
Paisley Caves are wave-cut shelters located on the
highest shoreline of pluvial Lake Chewaucan,
which once filled the Summer LakeChewaucan
Lake Abert basins (Fig. 1A). As the lake level
fell since the last glacial maximum (10, 11), the
caves began filling with aeolian-transported silt
and sand, gravel, roof spall, and organic material
(bones, coprolites, plant remains, and artifacts)
deposited by humans and animals. Sheltered
from moisture, these extremely dry deposits con-
tain perishable human artifacts: manufactured
threads of sinew and plant fibers, hide, basketry,
cordage, rope, and wooden pegs, as well as ani-
mal bones and diverse kinds of feces, in an un-
9 MAY 2008 VOL 320 SCIENCE www.sciencemag.org
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... A recent study (Saragoni, unpublished data) showed differences in the morphology of the leaves between populations from Chile and Argentina. As Acacia caven is thought to be introduced by indigenous people and their pack animals from across the Andes in Chile (Ovalle et al. 1990), and as humans in South America were present not earlier than 14000 years ago B.P. (Dillehay et al. 2008), understanding what causes these populations to differ and thus whether Acacia populations show a large degree of phenotypic plasticity or are genetically different, has ecological importance (e.g. for conservation). ...
... This was in contrast to our hypothesis where phenotypic plasticity would be the main driver. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the population of Acacia's in Chile adapted to their environment in a timespan shorter than 14000 years (Ovalle et al. 1990, Dillehay et al. 2008, although there are numerous examples of (invasive) plant species showing fast adaptation to climatic factors (Oduor et al. 2016). Alternatively, some form of founder effect took place with the potential introduction of Acacia caven: var. ...
... This overlap could suggest that var. caven is introduced in Chile more recent than thought (i.e. between 10-14 ka) (Ovalle et al. 1990, Dillehay et al. 2008) as one would expect more pronounced differences if both populations faced dissimilar selective pressures for a long time. On the other hand, the environmental conditions between Chile and Argentina could be relatively similar such that there is no different selection pressure on the introduced population in Chile, and consequently no adaptation to the new environment. ...
... In recent years, algae have attracted the attention of researchers as a natural source of antioxidants. Biomass of cyanobacteria and seaweed has been employed as food since the Middle Ages [1,2]. Around 420 companies in Europe produce algae and cyanobacterial biomass for use as ingredients in ready-to-eat foods, as well as fresh and fermented products. ...
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... shellfish remains indicate the addition of a new type of food to the traditional terrestrial diet of early humans (Marean et al., 2007). Evidence from Monte Verde in Chile suggests that macroalgae was being used by humans as early as 12,500 BC (Dillehay et al., 2008). In Japan, remains of Sargassum have been found in middens dating back to the early-to-mid Jōmon Period, around 6,000 BC, and was even used to feed the armies of feudal lords during the Age of Civil War (Nisizawa et al., 1987). ...
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... Despite the fact that seaweed use traces back to Neolithic times (Dillehay et al. 2008) and seaweed farming is currently rapidly expanding and intensifying, many key aspects of seaweed domestication and resource management are still poorly studied (Brakel et al. 2021, Valero et al. 2017. The availability of genetic diversity is a priori critical for selection to operate, and ultimately for domestication to proceed. ...
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Excavations at Quebrada Jaguay 280 (QJ-280) (16°30S) in south coastal Peru demonstrated that Paleoindian-age people of the Terminal Pleistocene (about 11,100 to 10,000 carbon-14 years before the present or about 13,000 to 11,000 calibrated years before the present) in South America relied on marine resources while resident on the coast, which extends the South American record of maritime exploitation by a millennium. This site supports recent evidence that Paleoindian-age people had diverse subsis-tence systems. The presence of obsidian at QJ-280 shows that the inhab-itants had contact with the adjacent Andean highlands during the Terminal Pleistocene. Because rising sea level between 18,000 and 5000 years ago submerged extensive coastal plains, archaeologists have found little evidence of how the earliest people in South America (or elsewhere in the Amer-icas) adapted to living along the shore. The available records have tended to show "the use of maritime resources (sea mammals, fish, and shellfish) beginning only after about 10,000 years ago . . . after the Pa-leoindian adaptation [was] already in de-cline" (1). Terminal Pleistocene dates from two sites showing a predominant reliance on marine foods, the Ring Site in southern Peru (2) and the Amotape Campsites in northern Peru (3), were obtained from ma-rine shell and may be unreliable as indica-tors of a settlement age. These sites are preserved where the continental shelf is narrow and rising sea level did not substan-tially displace the shoreline (4). A third site, Quebrada Jaguay 280 (QJ-280) (Figs. 1 and 2), had yielded a single Terminal Pleistocene date on charcoal of 10,200 140 14 C years before the present (yr B.P.) (5). We have now obtained an additional 12 Terminal Pleistocene dates on charcoal, ranging from 11,105 260 to 9850 170 14 C yr B.P. [circa 13,000 to 11,000 cali-brated years B.P. (cal. yr B.P.)], along with eight dates defining two Early Holocene components (Table 1). Here we describe these ages and the QJ-280 site. Similar dates have also recently been recovered from another coastal site, Quebrada Ta-cahuay (6). Site QJ-280 lies on an alluvial terrace on the north bank of the Quebrada Jaguay (Jaguay Canyon), about 2 km from the modern shoreline at 40 m above sea level (masl) (Figs. 1 and 2). At circa 11,000 yr B.P., the site would have been about 7 to 8
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