Casarones Composite with Maize, Textiles, and Impressions
Casarones Composite with Maize, Textiles, and Impressions

July 23, 2015: Casarones Composite

The ruins of Caserones, a prehistoric village occupied intermittently from around 300 B.C.E to around 1100 CE, sits high in the Chilean altiplano (high elevation plain). Built along a ravine with a river to provide irrigation for the agriculturalists occupants, the surrounding region is highly arid, making for great preservation.

The remains of the walls suggest that Caserones contained a sprawling architecture of buildings surrounded by a large, “D-shaped” defense wall. Among the many artifacts recovered are a number of well-preserved textiles and organic material dating much older than the taphonomy of less arid environments would allow. Some of the textile hats, for instance, have radio-carbon dates suggesting ages around 1,000 years before present.

While textiles do not preserve well in other environments, we can sometimes still indirectly observe them through other processes, such as though the impressions they leave on clay and ceramic prior to firing.

But this week we ask, why not both?

This week’s artifact of the week is an interesting arrangement of organic material and impressions in a sediment matrix.

Can you spot these features?

  • Maize Cob
  • A thick piece of organic cordage
  • Dyed cordage in white and black (frayed)
  • Impression of maize
  • Impression of textile
  • Flecks of maize

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