Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Rademaker, Kurt M.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Anthropology


Quebrada Jaguay 280 (QJ-280) is one of the oldest maritime archaeological sites in the New World. Previous excavations of the southern Peruvian coastal site have dated occupation from ~13,000-8,000 cal yr BP. These excavations also determined that the occupants of the site used preferential maritime resource procurement strategies and had an interzonal connection to the highlands. In 2017 a new excavation was conducted at QJ-280 and the remains of the marine mollusk Mesodesma donacium were recovered. Geochemical examinations on the shell remains informed on the occupational seasonality of the site and reconstructed sea surface temperatures experienced off the coast of southern Peru.

The study determined that QJ-280 was seasonally occupied during the austral summer. There was a notable expansion in occupation from the Terminal Pleistocene, when the site was primarily occupied during the month of March, to the Early Holocene, when occupation occurred during the months of February and March. The impetus for the change was likely either cultural or environmental. The sea surface temperature reconstruction determined that the Pacific off the coast of QJ-280 experienced cooler than modern temperatures from ~12,000-11,000 cal yr BP during the months of March, April, and May. The reconstruction also allowed for the identification of a Terminal Pleistocene El Niño event. Occupation at QJ-280 was seasonal and likely influenced by patterns of freshwater availability during the Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene.


181 pages




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