A Climate-Induced Interruption in the Prehistoric Occupation of a Site in Coastal Ecuador
This project evaluates sediment characteristics and maps sediment distribution across the terrace to better determine the source and extent of the gravel deposit. 73 sediment samples were obtained from ten locations laid out in a grid on the terrace, both near and away from the archaeological excavation. The samples were collected using a soil auger between the modern surface and a depth of 1.5 m, and represent the distinct sediment types observed in each location. Laboratory analyses characterize the sediments on the basis of grain size distributions and mineral/rock composition. The extent, depth, and thickness of each stratum was mapped and correlated to determine consistency with a sediment source on the adjacent hill or upstream.
Finally, the deposition event was examined for its impact on the settlement of the terrace and its relationship to the regional climate, including the El Niño Southern Oscillation. This allows a better understanding of the sensitivity of the landscape and human settlements to climatic variability as well as the role of climate in driving changes in human occupation.