Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana

Volumen 74, núm. 3, A140622, 2022



Environmental variation in the early and middle Holocene in Tequendama and Aguazuque archaeological sites, Colombia

Variación ambiental en los sitios arqueológicos del Holoceno temprano y medio de Tequendama y Aguazuque, Colombia


Angélica Viviana Triana Vega1,2,*, Víctor Adrián Pérez Crespo3


Externado University of Colombia, Faculty of Cultural Heritage Studies, Calle 12 No. 1-17 Este. Bogotá, Colombia.

University of the Andes, Department of Anthropology, Carrera 1 No. 18 A-10 – Piso 6, Bloque G -GB, 111711, Bogotá, Colombia.

National Autonomous University of Mexico, Institute of Geology, Circuito de la Investigación Científica, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, 04510, CDMX, Mexico.

* Corresponding author: (A. V. Triana Vega) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

How to cite this article:

Triana Vega, A.V., Pérez Crespo, V.A., 2022, Environmental variation in the early and middle Holocene in Tequendama and Aguazuque archaeological sites, Colombia: Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana, 74 (3), A140622.

Manuscript received: December 15, 2021; Corrected manuscript received: March 18, 2022; Manuscript accepted: Jun 23, 2022.



This study focuses on identifying possible environmental variations and plant availability during the occupation in two archaeological sites: Tequendama and Aguazuque, located in Sabana de Bogotá, Colombia. Those sites represent periods of occupation during the early to middle Holocene that contributes valuable information about hunter-gatherers who occupied this area. Data obtained and recovered archaeological material during excavations shed light on relatively continuous occupations until the late Holocene. The presence of lithic artefacts, human and fauna bone remains offered relevant information to comprehend social dynamics among these human groups; likewise, phytolith and stable isotope analysis on sediments and fauna were carried out to identify environmental variations, and the presence of plant remains in these archaeological contexts. Carbon isotope analysis in sediments indicated the prevalence of plants C3 from the early Holocene. In turn, isotopic relationships in carbon obtained from mammals’ dental enamel found in both sites suggest that those animals consumed such types of plants. Also, isotopic values in oxygen from dental enamel show humid and possibly cold environmental conditions in both locations. Also, phytolith analyses provide evidence on the types of plants available in determined contexts and reconstruct environments, use, and availability. Those three types of analysis were applied to archaeological contexts to determine the presence of plants type C3 or C4 available in the sites, which permitted to evidence of environmental changes, humid conditions, and, in a few cases, drought across occupation, as well as the differences in terms of the presence or absence of certain types of plants during chronological periods, suggesting a possible association of horticultural processes and domestication during middle Holocene in Aguazuque archaeological site.

Keywords: carbon stable isotopes, phytoliths, early and middle Holocene, hunter-gatherers, Sabana de Bogotá, Colombia.