To complete the data collection necessary for his doctoral dissertation thesis, Mr. Jack Rossen, under the direction of Professor Tom Dillehay, will supervise analyses of archaeological material excavated from sites in the Quebrada de Las Pircas. This small side canyon of the Zana Valley of northern Peru contains a series of small habitation sites which, based on preliminary radiocarbon determinations, date from the Preceramic period ca. 6500-8000 B.P. Excavation by Mr. Rossen has revealed remains of houses, human burials, and a wide range of artifacts including lithics, faunal and botanical remains, and marine shell. The botanical remains include domesticated species, and it is extremely unusual to recover them in such an early context. Mr. Rossen will arrange for additional radiocarbon determinations and the analyses of other classes of archaeological remains. The Preceramic period in Peru marks the transition point from an earlier hunting and gathering lifestyle to a successor based on settled villages and reliance on domesticated plants and animals. Because this transformation provided the base for complex societies, archaeologists wish to know what underlies this change. The "Quebrada sites," because of their excellent preservation of a wide range of materials, provide an excellent body of data to address this issue. Because the sites lie at an ecotone, it is possible to examine the hypothesis that access to a wide and very diverse range of resources provided conducive conditions. This research is important for several reasons. It will investigate the factors which ultimately gave rise to complex societies such as our own. It will also organize and publish a body of data of interest to a large number of archaeologists. Finally, it will assist in the professional development of a very promising young scientist.

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Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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University of Kentucky
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