Early Maritime Economy and El Niño Events at Quebrada Tacahuay, Peru

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Science  18 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5384, pp. 1833-1835
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5384.1833

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The archaeological site of Quebrada Tacahuay, Peru, dates to 12,700 to 12,500 calibrated years before the present (10,770 to 10,530 carbon-14 years before the present). It contains some of the oldest evidence of maritime-based economic activity in the New World. Recovered materials include a hearth, lithic cutting tools and flakes, and abundant processed marine fauna, primarily seabirds and fish. Sediments below and above the occupation layer were probably generated by El Niño events, indicating that El Niño was active during the Pleistocene as well as during the early and middle Holocene.

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