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When and by which routes did Paleoindians enter the Americas, and how did they adapt to inhabit different ecological zones?

Our group seeks to understand the timing, routes, and environmental setting of the earliest human dispersals in western South America.

We integrate archaeology, physical anthropology, genetics, and Quaternary science to study prehistoric settlement systems -  linked archaeological sites situated in multiple ecological zones from the Pacific coast to the high Andes.

This work provides information about the long-term history and co-evolution of humans and ecological systems, and the formation of landscapes.


Milton, Emily B.P., Nathan Stansell, Herve Bocherens, Annalis Brownlee, Dobereiner Chala-Aldana, and Kurt Rademaker, 2022. Examining surface water δ18O and δ2H values in the western central Andes: A watershed moment for anthropological mobility studies. Journal of Archaeological Science 

Environmental sampling of surface waters in a coast-to-highland transect reveals that oxygen and hydrogen isotopes may not support analyses of human and animal mobility in the western central Andes.

Burger, Richard L., Eisei Tsurumi, Matthew Boulanger, Kurt Rademaker, Veronique Belisle, and Michael D. Glascock, 2022. Sayrosa, a minor obsidian source in the puna of Arequipa. Ñawpa Pacha (Journal of the Institute of Andean Studies).

Discovery and geochemical characterization of the Sayrosa obsidian source in southern Peru. Sayrosa obsidian was transferred across the Andes to archaeological sites in the valley of Cusco.



Rademaker, Kurt, Michael D. Glascock, David A. Reid, Ermitaño Zuñiga, and Gordon R.M. Bromley, 2021. Comprehensive mapping and compositional analysis of the Alca obsidian source, Peru. Quaternary International.

Reports geographic patterning and geochemical composition of the Alca obsidian source, one of South America's largest sources of obsidian, used by people over 12,000 years.

Meinekat, Sarah A., Christopher E. Miller, and Kurt Rademaker, 2021. A site formation model for Cuncaicha rock shelter: Depositional and postdepositional processes at the high‐altitude keysite in the Peruvian Andes. Geoarchaeology 37:304–331.

Detailed >12,000-year sequence of site formation processes and environmental change recorded in the highest-elevation Pleistocene archaeological site in the Americas.

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