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Archaeofaunistic and paleoecological study of microvertebrates from Lapa do Santo

Grant number: 22/08821-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2022
Effective date (End): August 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Paleozoology
Principal Investigator:Maria Mercedes Martinez Okumura
Grantee:Vitória Ferreira Fabris
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Lagoa Santa is a region in the state of Minas Gerais, considered one of the most important karst landscapes in Brazil. Among its archaeological sites, Lapa do Santo stands out, in which faunal osteological materials, lithic artifacts, plant remains and burials are found. The site, excavated between 2002 and 2009, was divided into blocks and levels, of which the M excavation units are considered the most important, presenting stratigraphic organization and preserved cultural sequence, including human occupation from the late Pleistocene and early Holocene, between 12,600 cal BP and 8500 cal BP, followed by an abandonment of the area during the Middle Holocene in the Archaic Gap, with a return between 5100 cal BP and 4200 cal BP by a group with the same cultural characteristics. The region presented climatic variations and instabilities during the Holocene, which possibly triggered human migrations in the Gap period, and interfered with the environmental and population balance of both fauna and flora. The study of microvertebrates from M units will be especially due to the fact that smaller bones are buried more quickly and, therefore, preserved, allowing a better analysis of the conditions in which the animal was, enabling the description of new taxa and obtaining significant information in paleoecology and biology, enlighten aspects of potential variation in the microvertebrate fauna in the periods before and after the Gap. Thus, investigating such parameters makes it possible to understand the correlation between human activities, environmental changes and the impacts of both on the fauna. The main objective of this project is to carry out the taxonomy of microvertebrates from the M units of Lapa do Santo throughout the Holocene, in order to observe possible paleoecological variations.

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