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Paleodemography of Late Holocene hunter-gatherers from Patagonia (Santa Cruz, Argentina): An approach using multiple archaeological and bioarchaeological indicators
Solana García Guraieb, Rafael Goñi} y Augusto Tessone.
Quaternary International, vol. 356, 2014, pp. 147-158.
This paper summarizes and discusses the main results achieved over three decades of research on paleodemographic aspects of Late Holocene hunter-gatherers in Northwestern Santa Cruz (Argentina). Research has been guided by a model of regional settlement that proposes that, as a result of the progressive aridization process recorded in Patagonia during the Late Holocene, human groups would have reduced their residential mobility and concentrated their settlements in low altitude basins with water availability, such as Lake Cardiel and Lake Salitroso. Paleodemographic questions derived from the model relate to population regional continuity and dynamics and were tested using several lines of research at regional and local scales. The assessment of the chronological information and temporal trends of the archaeological record at the regional level allowed for a coarse grain paleodemographic approach, and acted as a mean to support hypotheses related to changes in mobility and land use strategies. Building on this, several lines of bioarchaeological evidence were used to address paleodemographic aspects of the model, including temporal, distributional, and compositional studies of the mortuary record, isotopic, morphometric and DNA analyses and the sex and age structure of the skeletal samples recovered in Lake Salitroso basin. Results point to a biological and cultural population continuity in the region during the Late Holocene. Also, a reduction in residential mobility would have favored a slight population growth of Lake Salitroso populations during the last millennium.
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