Los Gavilanes


Los Gavilanes (PV35-1) is located 3.2 km north of the Huarmey River and 0.5 km inland from the Pacific Ocean on the north coast of Peru. It was first test excavated by David Kelley 1957 and 1958 and was more intensively excavated by Duccio Bonavia in 1960 (Kelley and Bonavia 1963). During this initial work Kelley and Bonavia determined that the site had many Preceramic period (Late Archaic) pits that included large quantities of well-preserved maize. Duccio Bonavia continued to investigate the site, returning with several teams of researchers between 1967 and 1979, and publishing a major monograph and many papers on this work (Bonavia 1982). He mapped and excavated 47 shallow circular, oval, and irregularly shaped depressions as small as 2 m in diameter up to 24 m in diameter. Their depths ranged from 0.5 to 1.75 m (Bonavia 1982:67). In addition to maize, the pits contained many other types of plant macro and micro remains and animal remains as well as other materials and artifacts. Bonavia interprets these pit features as maize storage pits, and the site as a whole to represent a Late Archaic seasonal occupation and/or storage area. Some maize samples were directly dated but these are considered by the excavators to be too young (Grobman et al. 1977:224; Bonavia and Grobman 1989).

In 2010 Benz et al. (2011) sampled eight maize uncharred cobs from Kelley's original excavations, curated in the Harvard University Herbaria, in order to carry out aDNA analysis, morphological measurements, and AMS dating. The new dates are presented here.

ID Other ID Type Subtype Uncal BP (years) ± 1 σ (years) Median cal BP (years) Lower cal BP (years) Upper cal BP (years) δ13C Contaminated?
GX-5076 MicroSample pollen 4140 160 4591 5038 4093 No
GIF-3564 MicroSample pollen 3750 110 4044 4408 3725 No
AA-93175 MacroSample cob 619 33 593 643 525 -9.1 No
AA-93179 MacroSample cob 1099 85 961 1172 788 -11.6 No
AA-93176 MacroSample cob 663 36 605 655 550 -9.0 No
AA-93178 MacroSample cob 602 39 556 640 510 -8.4 No
AA-93177 MacroSample cob 664 35 605 655 550 -8.8 No
AA-93180 MacroSample cob 624 33 599 646 529 -9.0 No
AA-93181 MacroSample cob 2264 35 2231 2333 2129 -8.7 No
AA-93174 MacroSample cob 707 33 609 670 559 -10.5 No

Attached Files

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References Cited

Benz, Bruce F., Michael Blake and Virginia Popper
    2011    AMS Radiocarbon Dates and Morphological Measurements for Archaeological Maize Samples from Los Gavilanes (Huarmey). Unpublished Preliminary Report Submitted to Harvard University Herbaria. On File with Laboratory of Archaeology, University of B.C., Vancouver.

Bonavia, D.
    1982    Precerámico Peruano. Los Gavilanes. Mar, Desierto y Oásis en La Historia del Hombre. Corporación Financiera de Desarrollo S.A. COFIDE and Instituto Arqueológico Alemán, Lima.

Bonavia, D. and A. Grobman
    1989    Preceramic Maize in the Central Andes: A Necessary Clarification. American Antiquity 54(4):836-840.

Grobman, A., D. Bonavia, D. H. Kelley, P. C. Mangelsdorf and J. Cámara-Hernández
    1977    Study of Pre-Ceramic Maize from Huarmey, North Central Coast of Peru. Botanical Museum Leaflets, Harvard University 25(8):221-242.

Kelley, D. H. and D. Bonavia
    1963    New Evidence for Preceramic Maize on the Coast of Peru. Ñawpa Pacha 1:39-41.

Weir, G. H. and D. Bonavia
    1985    Coprolitos y Dieta del Precerámico Tardío de la Costa Peruana. Bulletin de l'Institut Français d'Études Andines 14(1-2):85-140.