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Early Holocene human occupation in the lowlands of South America- Gruta Azul de Cocalinho, Brazil


Journal of Historical Archaeology & Anthropological Sciences
Sergio Rhein Schirato,1 Francisco William da Cruz,4 Eliane Nunes Chim,1 André Oliveira Sawakuchi,4 Thays Desirée Mineli,4 Ana Claudia Borella,1 Haruan Straioto,1 Andre Menezes Strauss,1 Nicolas Stríkis,4 Luana Caroline Nicolau,1 Victor Nery,1 Alexandre Jardim,2 Christophe Le Maillot,3 John Kendall,2 Julien Fortin,3 Melissa Martinez Medina,4 Rachael Kendall,2,6 Samuel Meacham,3 Susanne Schumacher Schirato,2 Rodrigo Elias Oliveira5

Abstract

Although there are signs of human occupation in the Americas older than 20.000 years, most of the evidence dated to be older than 10.000 years are based on signs of human presence, while human remains from the Early Holocene are relatively rare. In Gruta Azul, in the Cocalinho karst (central Brazil), where human remains were discovered, U-series disequilibrium methods were used for estimating local environmental changes and bone dating, along with optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) of quartz for estimation of ceramic age, adding important piece of information about early hunters-gatherers occupation in central South America. The results indicate that human presence in the site happened in two different periods, being the first older than 10.000 BP, in an area of the cave estimated to be submerged for at least the past 5.000 years, while the second started approximately at 2.000 years B.P., placing this site amongst the oldest sites where human remains are found in the lowlands of South America.

Keywords

Holocene, photogrammetry, central Brazil, underwater speleology, excavation, underwater archeology

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