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The ceramic sequence and new tl and c 14 dates for the agüerito site of the middle orinoco venezuela


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The ceramic sequence and new tl and c 14 dates for the agüerito site of the middle orinoco venezuela

  1. 1. Board of Trustees, Boston University The Ceramic Sequence and New TL and C-14 Dates for the Agüerito Site of the Middle Orinoco, Venezuela Author(s): Alberta Zucchi, Kay Tarble, J. Eduardo Vaz Source: Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Summer, 1984), pp. 155-180 Published by: Boston University Stable URL: . Accessed: 06/07/2011 13:54 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at . . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Boston University and Board of Trustees, Boston University are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Journal of Field Archaeology.
  2. 2. Introduction Followinga prolongedperiodof neglect,theOrinoco areahas recentlybecome the centerof archaeological interestanddebate.Theabundantnaturalresourcesand ease of mobilityprovidedby the river system helped makethis one of the most attractiveareasin northern SouthAmericafor earlyagriculturalists.Datafromre- centexcavationshavethrownnew lighton culturalde- velopment in the region; there is little agreement, however,as to the antiquity,origins,interrelationships, and migratorypattemsof the culturesinvolved. Two opposingtheorieshavebeenformulated.Thefirst,pro- posedby I. B. RouseandA. Roosevelt,lmaintainsthat 1. I. B. Rouse, "The La Gruta Sequence and its Implications," in E. Wagner and A. Zucchi, eds., Unidad y Variedad: Ensayos en Homenaje a J.M. Cruxent (Ediciones Centro de Estudios Avanzados, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas: Caracas 1978) 203-229; idem, "Diffusion and Interactionin the Orinoco Valley and on the Coast," paperpresented to the IX Congreso Internacionalpara el Estudio de las Culturas Precolombinas de las Antillas Menores (Santo Domingo 1981); I. B. Rouse and L. Allaire, ''Caribbean,'' in C. Meighan and R. Taylor, eds., Chronologies in New World Ar- chaeology (Seminar Press: New York 1978). See also A. Roosevelt, "La Gruta: an Early Tropical Community of the Middle Orinoco Basin,'' in Wagner and Zucchi, eds., op. cit. (in this note) 173-201; the two oldest ceramic series of the Orinoco (Saladoid and Barrancoid) can be derived from the same source, namely La Gruta.This site, discovered duringthe 1970s in the Middle Orinoco, originated, according to the au- thorscited in note 1, some 4,000 years ago, thus making it one of the earliest formative sites in Amazonia. Based on her fieldwork of 1975, Roosevelt has established a sequence of nine phases for the Parmanaarea, which she has grouped into threetraditions:La Gruta,Corozal, and Camoruco.2The first of these traditions, made up of La Gruta, Ronquin, and Ronquin Sombraphases, is related to the Saladoid and, to some extent, to the Barrancoid series. The second, formed by Corozal 1, 2, and 3, ap- parentlyconstitutes a local development, while the third, composed of Camoruco 1, 2, and 3, belongs to the Ar- auquinoidseries.3 I. Vargas and M. Sanoja, on the other I. B. Rouse, J. M. Cruxent, F. Olsen, and A. Roosevelt, ''Ronquin Revisited,'' in R. Bullen, ed., Proceedings of the 6th International Congress for the Study of the Precolombian Cultures of the Lesser Antilles, Guadaloupe (Gainesville 1976) 117- 122. 2. At present this is the most detailed sequence so far established for the area and it will serve as the base for our comparisons. 3. Roosevelt, loc. cit. (in note 1); A. Roosevelt, Parmana: Prehis- The CeramicSequenceandNew TL and C-14 Dates for the AgueritoSite of the MiddleOrinoco, Venezuela AlbertaZucchi Kay Tarble J. EduardoVaz InstitutoVenezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas (I.V.I.C.) Caracas, Venezuela Researchon theAgueritosite of theMiddleOrinoco,Venezuela,has served to broadenknowledgeaboutceramics-bearinggroupsof thearea andto help solve chronologicalproblemsof thisstrategicregion.Thecombineduse of thermoluminescence(TL)and C-14datingtechniqueshaspermittedus to confirmtheplacementof theRonquinandposteriorphasesbetween200 A.C. and1500A.C. Detailedanalysisofpotteryfrom thesite has allowedus to definefour components,each apparentlyrepresentingtheremainsof distinct social entities.Twoof thesehadnotbeendistinguishedas separatecompo- nentsbypreviousauthors.Themultiplicityof groupsrevealedby theAguer- ito researchagreeswell withtheethnohistoricalaccountsfor thearea, whichemphasizesocial and economicinteractionamongnumerousethnic groups.
  3. 3. 156 CeramicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSite/Zucchi,Tarble,and Vaz hand,interprettheevidencetheyhaveobtainedfromthe LowerandMiddleOrinocoin quitea differentmanner. AlthoughagreeingthatLa Grutais ancestralto the Sa- ladoidstyles in the middleOrinocoand on the coast, theseauthorscall attentionto themarkeddifferencesin style and shapebetweenLa Grutaand Barrancas,the earliestknownstyleof theBatrancoidsenes.At thesame time, they deny the presenceof Saladoidsites in the LowerOrinocoandareunwillingto accepttheantiquity attributedto LaGrutaby Rouseet al., placingit toward the middleof the 1stmillenniumB.C.4 Lackof agreementstems from two sources. 1) The irregularityobservedintheseriesof C-14determinations obtainedin the MiddleOrinocohas permittedthe con- structionof threedifferentchronologies.Rouseproposes botha shortone beginningwiththeLa Grutaphaseca. 185 B.C., anda longonebeginningwiththesamephase around2,000 B.C.5 Vargas'schronologyfor the same ceramicsequencestartsaround600 s.c.6 2) The other sourcefor controversylies in the existenceof two op- posedtheoreticalpositionsregardingthe originandan- tiquityof the TropicalForestCulturein general.The first,proposedby D. Lathrap,7considerstheearliestde- velopmentsof the areato be of local (or, at least, low- land and coastal)origin and of considerableantiquity (ca. 4,000-5,000 B.C.). Proponentsof thesecond,onthe contrary,preferto considerthe importantculturalman- ifestationsin theOrinoco/Amazonbasinto be theresult toric Maize and Manioc Subsistence along the Orinoco and Amazon (AcademicPress:New York1980);Rouse, 1978op. cit. (in note 1) 223-229. 4. M. Sanoja,Las CulturasFormativas del Oriente de Venezuela:La Tradicion Barrancas del Bajo Orinoco, Biblioteca de la Academia Nacional de Historia. Serie de Estudios, Monografias y Ensayos 6 (Caracas1979) 284-285; M. SanojaandI. Vargas,Antiguas For- maciones y Modos de Produccion Venezolanos (MonteAvilaEditores: Caracas1974)95-106; I. Vargas,''La Gruta,un NuevoSitioRon- quinoideen el OrinocoMedio," in Bullen,ed., op. cit. (in note 1) 123-124;idem,La Tradicion Saladoide del Oriente de Venezuela:La Fase Cuartel. Biblioteca de la Academia Nacional de Historia. Serie deEstudios. MonografiasyEnsayos5 (Caracas1979)215-236; idem, ''La TradicionCeramicaPintadadel Orientede Venezuela,"in S. Lowenstein,ed., Proceedings of the Eighth International Congress for the Study of the Precolombian Cultures of the Lesser Antilles. Arizona State UniversityAnthropological Research Papers 22 (Tempe 1980)276-289; I. VargasandM. Sanoja,''Con1paracionesentrela ArqueologiadelBajoy MedioOrinoco,"inJ. BenoistandF. Mayer, eds., Actas del Se'ptimoCongreso Internacional para el Estudio de las Culturas Precolombinas de las Antillas Menores, Caracas (Centre de RecherchesCaraibes:Montreal1978)221-230. 5. Rouse, 1978op. cit. (in note 1). 6. Vargas,1979op. cit. (in note4). 7. D. Lathrap,The Upper Amazon (Thamesand Hudson:South- hampton1970)54-57. of migration or influence from the Andes.8 This dating necessarily implies later dates for the lowlands than for their supposed Andean ancestors. In this paper we present and discuss the ceramic and chronological evidence obtainedat the Aguerito site, and then relate it to the three chronologies referredto at the beginning of the last paragraph. The Site Aguerito is a settlement site occupying an elevated area on the right bank of the Orinoco (7°36' lat. north, 66°23' long. west), directly opposite the mouth of the Apure River (FIG. la). The surroundinglowlands are se- verely affected by the annual river flooding resulting from the confluence of these two rivers. Striking differ- ences are found in the river level between dry and wet seasons; at the peak of the dry season a difference of more than 10 m was observed between river level then, and thatfor the previous rainy season. The Aguerito site and other similar high areas of the river bank have been traditionallyfavored as living sites by local populations. Although Aguerito is on the high groundthatlies in front of a rock outcrop, at present occupied by four peasant houses, its northernpartis flooded duringthe rainy sea- son, and was probably more susceptible to flooding in earliertimes when the site was obviously lower. In fact, it is probablethatthis northernpartof the site was grad- ually destroyed througherosion.9 The whole areais cov- ered by gallery forest, although fruit trees such as mangoes, lemons, and tamarindsare found at the site. On the rock outcrop behind the site several petroglyphs were located, and on its top, ca. 100 m above the level of the site, grooved surfaces, apparentlyused to sharpen axes, were found. Because of its characteristicsand location, the Aguer- ito site offered the pre-Hispanic groups several advan- tages as a resource base. In the first place, it provided high ground for settlement (partof which remained out of flooding even during the heaviest rainy seasons), but with easy access to fresh waterfor fishing, drinking, and transportation.Although the soils of these elevated areas are generally poorer in nutrients, they are suitable for manioc cultivation on a rotational basis. The pre-His- panic groups thatinhabitedthe site, however, could also exploit, through dry-season cultivation, the lower lands that are periodically fertilized by the river. In fact, the 8. B. Meggers and C. Evans, ''An ExperimentalFormulationof Ho- rizon Styles in the Tropical Forest Area of South America," in G. Lothrop et al., Essays in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology (Har- vard University Press: Cambridge 1961) 372-388 . 9. The site slopes down toward the river at a ca. 15° angle in the area of Pit 1.
  4. 4. Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 11, 1984 157 Figure 1. Maps (a) of the Middle Orinoco area and (b) location of the excavations at the Aguerito site. terracesbelowthesitearestillbeingusedforcorn,bean, andcottonagriculture.In additionto these advantages, Agueritohas a strategiclocationthatallowsmonitoring of all the watertrafficfromthe UpperandLowerOri- noco as well as thatfromtheLlanos,comingoutof the ApureRiver. Thesecharacteristicsof the site pointto variouspos- siblesubsistencepatterns,dependingontheprincipalre- source, as follows: 1) a subsistencebased on manioc cultivation,fishing,hunting,andgathering,witha set- tlementdurationof 10-20 yearsfollowedby abandon- ment for a like period,or longer;2) a more nomadic patternbasedon fishing, gathering,and some manioc agriculture(Inthiscasethesitemayhavebeenoccupied seasonally,mainlyduringthe rainyseason, while the groupsdispersedin the dry seasonto hunt, fish, and exploit the turtlebeaches and the vegetableproducts upriver,and/orto trade.);3) fishing,hunting,andcorn/ bean/squashandmanioccultivation.Inthiscasetheset- tlementwouldhavebeenpermanentwiththecorn,bean, and squashagricultureon the lower grounds(terraces andislands)andmanioccultivationon thehigherlands. Duringthe fishingandtradingexpeditionssome of the community'sinhabitantswouldhaveremainedhometo tend the crops. It seems probablethatthe subsistence patternin theAgueritosite variedovertheyears. ExcavationsandDepositionalHistory A squaretrenchformedby fourcontiguouspits (nos. 2-5), eachmeasuring2m x 2m andtwo additionaltest pits (nos. 1 and 6), measuringlm x lm, were exca- vatedunderthedirectionof Zucchi.Pit1is locatedsome 13 m NW of the trenchandPit 6 is just to the west of thetrench( Pit 1 wasexcavatedin 1976, Pits2, 3, 4, and5 weredugduringthe 1977field season,and Pit 6 was excavatedwith the assistanceof Tarblein 1981.1°Archaeologicalmaterial,found scatteredover the surfaceof partof the site, was obtainedto a depth of 1.25 m in theexcavations.Ourfirstvisitto Aguerito was partof a generalsurveyof the Middle Orinoco, 10. In August, 1982, four additionalpits (nos. 7-10), forminga trench2m x 8m, wereexcavatedoutsidethefencein thevicinityof Pit 1. Thematerialobtainedis currentlyunderstudy.
  5. 5. 158 CeramicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSite/Zucchi,Tarble,and Vaz intended to clarify the distribution of sponge-spicule- tempered pottery. The project is sponsored by the Insti- tuto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas. The pre- liminary results obtained from a test pit (1) at that time revealed a long and complex sequence that promised to provide importantdata on the culturalhistory and chro- nology of the Middle Orinoco. For this reason we re- turnedto the site in 1977 to excavate the four main pits (2-5). The material remains recovered allowed us to refine the stylistic sequence of the site; we encountered chronological discrepancies in the C-14 dates, however, similar to those reportedfor the Parrnanaarea. Rouse,l1 Roosevelt,12 and Vargas13had meanwhile discussed the possibility of contamination of their charcoal samples eitherthroughredepositionor throughaccidentalmixture of lignite. We felt, therefore,an altetnativedatingmethod was called for to avoid the problems involved with the C-14 samples. We retutned again to the site in 1981 to obtain ceramic and soil samples for thermoluminescent analysis (Pit 6).14 The reconstruction of the depositional history of Aguerito has been handicappedby the ratherlimited ex- cavations and the absence of observable stratigraphic features, the latter a result of the sandy nature of the deposits. A geologist who visited the site duringthe most recent excavations examined the profiles and found no observablezonationor horizontaldifferentiationthatcould be diagnostic of a particularfluvial and/or aeolian ori- gin.15 The analysis of the ceramic sequence from each pit, and the C-14 and TL determinations, together with the general morphology of the site, suggest that impor- tant changes occurred in the layout of the occupational area of this multicomponent site during its history. Un- 11. Rouse, 1978op. cit. (in note 1) 213-214. 12. Roosevelt,1978op. cit. (in note 1) 177-179. 13. Vargas,1976op. cit. (in note4) 123-124. 14. Thispitwasdugin 10cm levels, as opposedto 25 cmlevelsfor the previousexcavations(Pits 1-5). Contraryto the situationfound in Parmanaby Rouse,no livingfloorsor otherstratigraphicfeatures wereobservedin anyof thecutsatAguerito.Theonlyexceptionwas a stonealignmentfoundat the bottomof one of the fouradditional pits(7-10) thatweredugafterthispaperhadbeencompleted. 15. Dr. CarlosSchubert,personalcommunication.Schubertrecently carriedouta grain-sizeanalysisof soil samplestakenfromfive levels of Pit7 (0.10-0.20 m, 0.30-0.40 m, 0.50-0.60 m, 0.70-0.80 mand 0.90-1.00 m) withresultsthatseem to supportan aeolicoriginfor the soil at the site. The meansize vs. skewnessandmeansize vs. standarddeviationplotsfortheAgueritosamplesbothfall withinthe parametersfordunes,asestablishedbyG. M. Friedman,"Distinction betweenDune, BeachandRiverSandsfromtheirTexturalCharac- teristics," JSedPetrol31 (1961) 514-529. Schubertpointsout that theseresultsshouldbe viewedwithsomecaution,however,sinceno comparativesamplesweretestedfromthe riverbottom,riverbank, or surroundingfloodplainatAguerito. derstandingthesechangesis fundamentalto interpreting the relationshipsamongthe differentexcavationunits. Theevidenceobtainedsuggeststhatthedepositionof the sitetookplacein fourstages. Thefirststage,whichcorrespondsto theearliestset- tlement,is representedstratigraphicallyby levels 0.75- 1.25 m of Pit 1, level 1.00-1.25 m of the trench(Pits 2-5) andthe lower30 cm of Pit 6 (0.90-1.20 m). The differenceindepthamongtheseearlyoccupationalstrata suggeststhatthecoreareaof the initialdepositwas lo- catedmoretowardthe river,while the areaaroundthe trenchandPit6 wasperipheral(FIG. 2). Itis possiblethat a portionof the materialof theseearlylevels maycor- respondto an earlieroccupation;with the limiteddata availableatthismoment,however,we prefertoconsider theselevels as one stage. Thesecondstageis representedby level0.50-1.00 m of Pits2-5, level0.25-0.75 mof Pit 1, andlevels0.40- 0.90 m of Pit6. Duringthisstagetheoccupationalarea seemsto haveextendedspatiallyandincreasedin inten- sity towardthe southernpartof the site (FIG. 2). The thirdstage (levels 0.00-0.25m of Pit 1, 0.25- 0.50 m of Pits2-5, and0.30-0.40 m of Pit6) indicates a similartrend:thatis to say, therefuseis deeperatthe southernpartof the site. The last stage, on the other hand,showsa markedreductionin the quantityof ma- terial, and is stratigraphicallyand exclusively repre- sentedby theuppermostlevel 0.00-0.25 m of Pits2-5 andthe threeupperlevels of Pit 6 (0.00-0.30 m) (FIG. 2). Theirregularitythatcanbe observedin the thickness of the stratarepresentingeachof the fourstagesin the differentpitsseemsto suggestadisplacementof thecore areaof the settlementtowardthe southernpartof the site. Thisdisplacementbeganaftertherefuseof stage1 hadbeendeposited,andcontinuedthroughstages2 and 3. On the otherhand,the absenceof the layerscorre- spondingto the fourthstagein Pit 1 canbe interpreted in two ways. In the firstplace it is possibleto believe thatwiththe southernmovementof the settlementarea, materialfromthisstagewas neverdepositedin thearea of Pit 1. The otheralternativeis thatthis layerwas at one time present,.butwas erodedby the riverthrough time. This possibilitywould seem moreprobablecon- sideringthe natureof the site andthe periodicfluctua- tionsof theriverlevel. Ournexttaskis to takea closerlook at the material remainsandattemptareconstructionof thesocialentities presentin theAgueritosite. We areposedwitha strati- graphicsequencein whichat leastfourdistinctceramic componentsarepresent.We shallpresentargumentsto supportthe hypothesisthat each of these components representsa distinctsocialentity.
  6. 6. Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 11, 1984 159 DepositionolHistory of Aguerito z Figure 2. Reconstruction of the ,-^ depositional history of the Aguerito site. 'Inlrli11111111lllllllltlllrlltll 2.m 2 m PitS 2,3,4,5 andE) havebeendefinedon thebasisof tempenngma- tenal. Uniquecombinationsof paste, form, and deco- rationfoundon fourof these wares(A-D) lead us to proposethattheyprobablycorrespondto distinctsocial entities and we have denominatedthese as ceramic components.The first, WareA, is characterizedby a reddish-orangepaste,sandtemper,anda fairlyhighper- centageof decoratedsherdswith white-on-red,red-on- white,andred-and-whiteon naturalpaint,incision,and modelling(FIG. 3a-n). Althoughthepredominantshapeis the open bowl with direct, thickenedor flat-topped flangedrims, a few smalljars, griddles,bottles, and ollas (largeglobularjars)arepresent.Thiswareis most frequentin theearlypartof oursequenceandis clearly relatedto the SaladoidSeries.WareB matenalis tem- pered with sand, particlesof dry clay, and, in some instances(particularlyin the earlierlevels), fiber.Dec- orationconsists of incision in multipleparallellines, notchesor shortincisionon lips and,to a lesserdegree, bi- andpolychromepainting(FIG. 4a-k). As in WareA, open bowls predominate;these, however, are distin- guishableby theirmodesof rimtreatment(morethick- ened and squared) and by a greater frequency of carination.Fragmentsof smalljarsandollas werealso identified.This materialrelatesto Howard'sZ group16 and Vargas'sl7and Roosevelt'sl8crushedsherd-Elber 16. George Howard, Excavations at Ronquin, Venezuela. Yale Uni- versity Publications in Anthropology 28 (Yale University Press: New Haven 1943) 45-46. 17. Iraida Vargas, Investigaciones Arqueologicas en Parmana. Bi- blioteca de la Academia Nacional de Historia. Serie de Estudios, Monografias y Ensayos 20 (Caracas 1981). 18. Roosevelt, 1978 op. cit. (in note 1) 87-88. HIGH WATER LEVEL 10- 12 Meters lpitl * vt > 300 M > The Ceramic Sequence Theceramicsequencein Agueritois characterizedby a high degreeof synchronicanddiachronicvariability. This complexity, linked with the irregulardeposition foundat the site, compelledus to orientour ceramic analysistowardthe solutionof threespecificproblems withthe finalobjectiveof obtainingan accuraterecon- structionof the occupationalhistory.Ourfirstproblem wasto discriminatetheprincipalceramiccomponentsin relationto the stratigraphyobservedwith the aim of showingtemporalrelationships.Thisanalysiswouldgive a macrochronologyfor the site. Next, the examination of temporalvariabilitywithineach ceramiccomponent would allow us to determinethe stylisticevolutionof eachof them.An importantaspectof thisanalysisis the possibledelineationof distinctperiodsin the different styles. Herewe wouldhopeto showthe continuousor discontinuouscharacterof thestylisticchangethatwould helpus to determinewhetherthe site was abandonedor not at differentpointsin time. (It mustbe recalledthat no differenceswerevisiblein thepitprofilesthatwould indicategapsin theoccupation,andthe sandynatureof the soil togetherwithpastinundationspossiblyactedto mix materialsdepositedat differentperiodsof time.) Finally, a comparisonof the differentcomponentsde- signedto showtheirinterrelationships(or equallysig- nificant lack of relationships)shouldthrowlight on interactionamongthegroupsoccupyingthe site. In thispaperwe presentthe macrochronologyforthe site, addingresultsof thestylisticandcomparativeanal- yses (tobepublishedindetailelsewhere)whenpertinent. Six differentwares (tentativelynamedA,B,C,D,B-C,
  7. 7. 160 CeramicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSite/Zucchi,Tarble,and Vaz Figure 3. Ware A (a-n) and Ware E (o-q) pottery from Aguerito.
  8. 8. q . 9 Pn Pn Px P) o 9 B q s: BF CR
  9. 9. 162 CeramicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSite/Zucchi,Tarble,and Vaz temperedmaterial,and, like the WareA material,is mostfrequentin theearlylevels. Freshwatersponge-spiculetempercharacterizesthe thirdof the components(WareC), which constitutes nearly75%of the collection.This wareis intrusivein the earliestlevels, but increasesto dominatethe latter partof the sequence.Incised,applique,modelled,and painteddecorationis found.Changesinthestyleof dec- orationhavepermittedus to correlatethe earlyportion of this materialwith the Corozalphaseestablishedby Rooseveltfor Parmana(FIG. 41-w), while the latterma- terialis includedin the ArauquinoidSeries (FIG. Sa-o). The vessel formsof this warearequitevariedandin- cludedistinctivemodesof rimterminationandflanges, a higherproportionof ollas andjars, as well as new forms such as double-bodiedeffigy vessels, double- spoutedjarswithconnectingstraphandles,andcollared jars. Griddles,fragmentsof pot rests, plainandperfo- rateddiscs, andcylinderstampsarealso found. Thefourthware(WareD) is definedby coarsequartz temper,a simplearrayof forms, andvery limitedap- plique and modelleddecoration(FIG. 61-s). These ce- ramicsarefairlylate at the site andno similarmaterial hasbeendescribedintheliterature,althoughZucchihas locatedseveralsiteswithsubstantialcomponentsof this warein the MiddleOrinocoarea.19 The remainingWares(B-C andE) aredistinguished fromtheforegoingin thattheydo notseemto represent thematerialremainsof distinctsocialgroups,butrather the variationsof one or anotherof the principalcom- ponents.WareB-Cpresentsa combinedtemperof dried clay, sand, and spiculeas well as decorativeelements andformssimilarto bothWaresB andC, leadingus to proposethatitrepresentsevidenceof technicalexchange betweenthemakersof thesetwo latterwares(FIG. 6a-k). Itis foundinsmallquantitiesshortlyaftertheappearance of spiculematerialinthesite. Rooseveltdescribesa sim- ilarcombinationin the Corozalphaseof the La Gruta sequence,andHowardrefersto a few spiculesfoundin thetemperof someof his Z-groupsherds. Thelastware(WareE) is infrequentatAguerito,and is temperedwithfinesand.Atthemomentwe areunable to associateit definitelywith any of the otherwares becauseitsfew formsanddecorativeelementsarefound in bothWaresA andB (FIG. 30-q). Tables 1-4 show the relativefrequenciesof the dif- ferentwaresof each pit excavated.Threedistinctpat- ternsareapparent:one forPit 1, one for6, andanother commonto thepitsof thetrench(2-5). Pit I This pit is uniquein thatthe concentrationof Wares A andB is greaterandmoreprolongedandWareC is less frequentthanin the otherexcavationsat the site. Sand-tempered(WareA) andfiber-claytempered(Ware B) materialdominatethefirstfourlevels, whilespicule- temperedmaterial(WareC) increasessteadilyto attain a maximumof 59Soin the uppercut. Contraryto the otherpits, WareA of Pit 1 gains popularity,whereas WareB diminishes.Inlevel0.25-0.50 mtwonewwares areintroduced(B-CandD), thelatterof whichincreases to 8%inlevel0.00-0.25 m. WareE is presentinminute quantitiesin the upperthreelevels. It shouldbe noted thatthe densityof sherdsin level 0.00-0.25 m is sub- stantiallyhigher(141.2 sherdsper0.10 cu. m)thanthat notedfortheothercuts(TABLE 1). Severalstylistictrendsof particularinterestwerenoted. WareA materialmaintainsa highdegreeof paintedand modelleddecorationthroughoutall levels, in contrastto a tendencytowardsimplificationnotedin theotherpits. WareB materialis moreheavily temperedwith fiber (TABLES) andlacksthebi-andpolychromepaintingfound sporadicallyin theothercuts. Vesselformsandincised modes, however,arepracticallyidenticalto the restof the WareB material.It is noteworthythatthe modeof incisednotchesorshortincisionson thelips of bowlsis foundthroughoutlevels0.00-1.00 m, whereasit is lim- itedto 0.75-1.00 m in Pits 2, 3, 4, and5. Simpleap- plique decorationis the only kind found in Ware C materialup until level 0.00-0.25 m when otherdefi- nitelyArauquinoidelementsareincorporated.Thesedata pointto an earlyplacementof the Pit 1 materialin our totalsequence,as will be discussedlater. Pits 2-5 These pits show similartendenciesin the frequency chartsanddifferfromPits 1 and6 in thatthe changes betweenlevels areverypronouncedgiving the impres- sion of a series of markedjumps(TABLES 2-4). In the bottomlevel (1.00-1.25 m), WareC sherdsarea rarity. Onlyin Pit4 is therea significantconcentration(20%), andthis is becauseof the intrusionof sherdsbelonging to a largevessel foundin level 0.75-1.00 m. Incuts2, 3, and 5, WareB sherdsare somewhatmorefrequent thanWareA, whereasPit4 showsa slightpredominance of thelatter.WareB-CandWareD arevirtuallyabsent in the lowestlevel. Thefollowinglevel (0.75-1.00 m) shows a substantialincreasein spicule-tempermaterial (30-48%);WaresA andB decreasein popularity,this trendbeingmorenotableinthesand-tempered(A) sherds. WareB-C appearsin this level in all the pits with a19. A. Zucchi, unpublished survey material.
  10. 10. Journal of Field Archaeology/Vol. 11, 1984 163 Figure 5. Late Ware C pottery from Aguerito.
  11. 11. 164 CeramicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSite/ZucchiTarble,and Vaz Figure 6. Ware B-C (a-k) and Ware D (l-s) pottery from Aguerito.
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  13. 13. Table 4. Distribution of Wares A-E in Pit 6, Aguerito. A B B-C C E Total No. of sherds Level (m) N % N % N % N % N % N % per 0.10 cu. m 0.00-0.10 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 14 93.33 1 6.67 15 100 15 0.10-0.20 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 1 50.00 1 50.00 2 100 2 0.20-0.30 1 2.22 1 2.22 0 0.00 31 68.89 12 26.66 45 100 45 0.30-0.40 7 3.37 3 1.44 5 2.40 169 81.25 24 11.54 208 100 208 0.40-0.50 10 6.84 5 3.42 6 4.11 120 82.19 5 3.42 146 100 146 0.50-0.60 5 4.90 3 2.94 4 3.92 88 86.27 2 1.96 102 100 102 0.60-0.70 8 5.63 10 7.04 5 3.52 116 81.69 3 2.11 142 100 142 0.70-0.80 20 11.24 27 15.17 8 4.49 116 65.17 7 3.93 178 100 178 0.80-0.90 26 19.70 21 15.91 7 5.30 73 55.30 5 3.79 132 100 132 0.90-1.00 13 22.41 13 22.41 9 15.52 23 39.66 0 0.00 58 100 58 1.00-1.10 12 22.22 18 33.33 2 3.70 22 40.74 0 0.00 54 100 54 1.10-1.20 6 24.00 7 28.00 3 12.00 9 36.00 0 0.00 25 100 25 TOTAL 108 9.76 108 9.76 49 4.43 782 70.64 60 5.42 1107 100 166 CeramicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSitetZucchi,Tarble,and Vaz frequencyof 8-11%, as does WareD (2-3%). Level 0.50-0.75 m is characterizedby a notableincreasein thedensityof sherdsperlevel andby anothersignificant jumpin the popularityof spicule-temperedpottery.At the sametime, a dropoccursin WaresA, B, andB-C. WareD is also presentandthis is the highestlevel in whichWareEmaterialis found,exceptforanoccasional sherdinPit2. Inlevel0.25-0.50 mthesametendencies notedfor 0.50-0.75 m continue.WaresA and B are reducedto less that5%each,WareB-Cis foundin only 5% of the sherdsand the spicule-temperedware in- creases.WareD showsa significantincreaseto between 8%and 16%,whereasWareE disappears.Materialis generallydensestin this level (77.1-113.7 sherdsper 0.10 cu. m), althoughPits3 and4 showedslightlyhigher densitiesin the previouslevel. The uppermostlevel of thesepits (0.00-0.25 m) showsa markeddeclinein the concentrationof sherds.WaresA, B, andB-C almost disappearwhilespicule-temperedsherdsdominatea small componentof WareD material. Considerablestylistic change was found in the ce- ramicsof thesepits, particularlyin WaresA, B, andC. TheWareA materialshowsa progressivedegeneration of decorativestyle in thata decreasein the frequency anddegreeof elaborationof decoratedmaterialis ob- served.As thesequenceprogresses,fewertechniquesare employedandthe designsbecomemorecarelessin ex- ecution.In the earlylevels thepaintedmaterialis char- acterizedby a greatervarietyof bichromeandpolychrome combinations.Red-and-white-on-plain,and white-on-red paintingwith negativescratched-outdesignsaregradu- ally replacedin popularityby cruderred-on-whitemo- tifs. Shallowbroad-lineincisiononpolishedtan-colored sherdsis a small minoritylimitedto the earliestlevel, whereasfiner-linedincision,associatedwithdarkerred- dish-brownsherds(moreBarrancoidin appearance),is usedthroughoutthe sequenceon rimsandflanges,and to delimitrimadornosandmodelledlugs. Theselugs, whicharereminiscentof Barrancoidmaterial(FIG. 3c, h, i), andfragmentsof hollow figurinesarefoundexclu- sively in the lowertwo levels. In the laterstratamod- elling is limited to various forms of handles and hemisphericallip adornos. Severalstylistictrendswerenotedin the ceramicse- quenceof WareB, of whichone of themoststrikingis thegradualdiscontinuationof fiberinclusionsinthetem- peringmaterial(TABLE 5). The decorationof WareB becomesless frequentandmorecarelessovertime. In- cisionis predominantthroughoutbutdeclinessomewhat inthethirdandfourthlevels, asmoreemphasisis placed on bichromepainting.Severalchangesin techniqueand motifarefoundintheincisedmaterial.Particularlynote- worthyis the suddenbutbriefpopularityin level 2 of incisedmodessuchasnicks,fingernailimpressions,and alternatingshortincisionson theflattenedlips of bowls (FIG. 4a-b). This combination,whichmakesup 21%of all incised modes for this level, is presentneitherin earliernorlatercuts. In regardsto the painteddecora- tion, we haveobservedthatthe few samples(FIG. 4h-i) of black-and-red-on-whitepainting(curvedandstraight linesof varyingwidthscombinedto forrngeometricmo- tifs) arefoundonlyin theearliestlevels (1.25-0.50 m). This style of paintingis reminiscentof the polychrome stylesof theCentralAmazonsuchasParedao,20andalso 20. P. P. Hilbert,Archaologische UntersuchungenamMittlerenAma- zonas. MarburgerStudienzur Volkerkunde1 (Dietrich Reimer Verlag:
  14. 14. PIT 1 PITS 2-5 m Si oi m Si oi Cq z m 2 m w z m z m Level (m) 9 < 2 2 8 2 9 < 2 2 8 2 0.00-0.25 21 7 33.33% 8 0 0.00% 0.25-0.50 44 13 29.55% 36 2 5.56% 0.50-0.75 33 11 33.33% 219 13 5.94% 0.75-1.00 61 28 45.90% 223 43 19.28% 1.00-1.25 45 14 31.11% 128 23 17.93% TotS 204 73 37.78% 614 81 13.19% Journal of Field ArchaeologytEol. 11, 1984 167 Theearlieststageis characterizedby smallbowlswith verylittledecoration.The incisedmodesusedto deco- raterims are reminiscentof WaresA and B (FIG. 4a). The only otherdecorationfoundconsistsof wide (4-5 cm) applique,incisedfilletsusedto adorna largevessel (FIG. 4), andbasketandnetimpressions.Duringthesec- ond stage, characterizedby a relativeincreasein fre- quency,additionalvesselshapesareintroduced(griddles, globularvessels, and bottles). New decorativemodes includered-on-plainpainting(FIG. 4w), hemisphericallugs on thelipsof bowls(FIG. 4q), broad-lineincisionon out- slopingflanges and on otherrims (FIG. 4n) often com- bined with zoned red paint. These combinationsare closelyrelatedto certainSaladoidstyles,especiallywith thosethatshowsomeBarrancoidinfluence,suchasRon- quinSombra23andCotua.24Duringthisstage,WareB- C attainsits maximumpopularity.Thismaterialappears tobeanotherexampleof theexchangeof modesbetween thepottersof the site at thismoment. A minorityof decorativemodes foundin this stage such as thinappliquetincisedfillets, anddeep fine-line rectilinearincision(FIG. 4r), havea distinctArauquinoid air. These modes carryover into stage 3 where they come to dominate,along with new ones such as the incisedtexcisedupturnedflanges(FIG. Sb,c), mauvepost- firedpaint,solidfigurines(FIG. Sl), andanthropomorphic lugs incorporatedintotherimsof bowls(FIG. Sj). Partic- ularlycharacteristicof this last stageareincisedbands madeup of alternatingobliquelines, often filled with punctationor cane impressionandenclosedabove and below by a seriesof parallelhorizontallines andpunc- tatedcollars(FIG. Sa,d,e,f). Appliquefeatures,whichin- clude coffee-beaneyes and archedeyebrows,become popularduringthisfinalstage(FIG. Sf-m). Pit 6 Thispitwas dugin 10-cmlevels anddiffersfromthe othersin thatspicule-temperedmaterialis presentin a substantialproportionin eventhebottommostlevelwhere it representsmorethana thirdof the sherds(TABLE 4). Theothernotabledifferenceis theconsiderablequantity of WareD materialin themorerecentlevels. Also sig- nificantis the higherdensityof sherdsthroughoutthe pit,whichmaybe aresultof themorefragmentednature of the material.Fourwares(A, B, B-C, andC) (FIG. 6) arepresentinthelowestlevel,of whichWareC is slightly predominant.Thiswarecontinuesto growin popularity up to level 0.50-0.60 m whereit attainsa maximum frequencyof 86%. Wares A, B, and B-C decrease 23. Roosevelt, 1980 op. cit. (in note 3) l9S-196 and figs. S1, 53- SS; Rouse, 1978 op. cit. (in note 1) 204-206. 24. Cruxent and Rouse, op. cit. (in note 21) 235-236. Table 5. Frequency of porous and non-porous Ware B materialin Pits 1-5. of the materialobtained from Cueva Boulton on the Up- per Orinoco.2l In the later levels, monochrome red-on- plain painting predominates(F1G.4g-k). Among the vari- ations in the range of vessel shapes, it is notable thatthe carinatedbowl with a flattened rim is found exclusively in 0.75-1.00 m, while a flanged bowl with broad-line incision and red paint on the flange, distinctly reminis- cent of Barrancoidstyles of the Lower Orinoco, appears in level 3. Marked stylistic changes occur throughout the se- quence in Ware C and have been discussed in detail elsewhere.22 We have distinguished three stages in the stylistic evolution of the sponge-spicule-tempered ware that correspond to the stratigraphiclevels of these pits in the following manner: 1) earlytintrusive (0.75-1 .25 m) 2) intermediatetexchange (0.50-0.75 m) 3) latet domination (0.00-0.50 m). These stages reflect how this ware evolved from a minority component of predomi- nantlyplainsherds,ffirougha persodof exchangein which stylistic featuresof Wares A and B are incorporatedand vice versa, into a stage of quantitative dominance and stylistic maturationwhere Arauquinoid modes predom- inate. Berlin 1968) 91-122. 21. J. M. Cruxent and I. B. Rouse, An Archaeological Chronology of Venezuela. Pan American Union Social Science Monographs VI (Pan American Union: Washington, D.C. 1958) 210. 22. A. Zucchi and K. Tarble, "Evolucion y Antiguedad de la Alfar- eria con Esponjilla en Aguerito, un Yacimiento del Orinoco Medio," Indiana 7 (1982) 183-199.
  15. 15. throughout.Ontheotherhand,WareD reachesitshigh- est concentrationat the site in the upperlevels of this pit (27%in 0.20-0.30 m). Severalstylistictrendscharacterizethis cut, particu- larlyin the spicule-temperedsherdsthatconstitutethe dominantmaterial.Changesin the otherwares(A, B, B-C, D, andE) aremoredifficultto documentbecause of thesmallsamplesize. However,severalparallelswith the patternshownfor Pits 2-5 areevidentin WaresA and B. As in these pits, red slip of WareA is fairly frequentonly in the earlylevels (upto 0.70-0.80 m in Pit6). Severalfragmentsof modelledthicksherds(rem- iniscentof Barrancoidmaterial)arefoundin thesesame levels. The only WareA paintedsherd(white-on-red) was foundin the lowest cut. Latersherdsof this ware arescarceandno decorationwas found. WareB materialinthispithasafairlyhighproportion of fibertemper(TABLE6), althoughatendencytodecline in popularitythroughtime is shown. Sherdsfrom the bottom two levels present only incised decoration, whereasone withblack-and-red-on-plainpaintis found in0.90-1.00 m, in additionto incisedmaterial.Another black-and-red-on-creamsherdis found in level 0.40- 0.50 m, however,no red-on-naturalpainttypicalof the laterlevels of Pits2-5 is foundin thispit. Notchedlips are also absent, althoughone outturnedflattenedrim showsfine-lineincisionon the uppersurfaceof the lip (level 0.70-0.80 m). As in WareA, the styledegener- atesin the laterlevels. TheWareC ceramicsareverysimplein thispit. No decorationis foundupto level 0.70-0.80 m, whereap- pliquedecoration(coffee-beantype)appears.Coarseap- Table 6. Frequency of porous and non-porous Ware B material in Pit 6. No. porous %porous TotalWare (fiber)Ware (fiber)Ware Level(m) B sherds B sherds B sherds 0.00-0. 10 0 0 0.00% 0.10-0.20 0 0 0.00% 0.20-0.30 0 0 0.00% 0.30-0.40 3 2 66.66% 0.40-O.S0 S 2 40.00% O.S0-0.60 3 1 33.33% 0.60-0.70 0 0 0.00% 0.70-0.80 26 11 42.31% 0.80-0.90 18 9 50.00% 0.90-1.00 16 6 37.50% 1.00-1.10 18 9 50.00% 1.10-1.20 7 1 14.29% Total 96 41 42.70% 168 CeramicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSitelZucchi,Tarble,and Vaz plique modes are also found in 0.50-0.60 m. Incision in levels 0.40-0.70 m exclusively consists of single lines. Vessels arethinnerwalled andsherdsareextremely frag- mented throughlevel 0.40-0.50 m. These levels (1.20- 0.40 m) correspond to our first two stylistic stages es- tablished for spicule-temperedware in Pits 2-5. Typical Arauquinoidshapes and decoration characteristicof our third stage appearin level 0.30-0.40 m where fine-line incision and punctation in rectilinear motifs and nicked applique strips are found. Mauve post-fired paint and modelling also appear. Occupational History of the Aguerito Site Aguerito is obviously a multicomponent site with at least four distinct ceramic complexes (Wares A, B, C, and D) present contemporaneously andtor successively. Although ourexcavations were not extensive, significant variations noted previously in the contents of the pits from different areas of the site (TABLE 7) permit us ten- tatively to reconstruct its occupational history and pro- pose hypotheses regarding the relations between the makers of the various ceramic wares. We have divided the occupation into four periods which, with furtherex- cavations, may be refined and perhaps subdivided. Period I The earliest period at the Aguerito site is best repre- sented in the area of Pit 1 where the deposit is deepest (Stage 1; see FIG. 2). The outstanding characteristic of this period is the predominanceof Wares A and B. We believe thatthe spicule-temperedmaterialfound in these levels is intrusiveandpossibly the resultof mixture. The lowest levels of Pits 2, 3, and 5 (TABLES2-3) are the least mixed and presenta very small percentageof Ware C material (Pit S has only one spicule-tempered sherd). Stylistic similarities between the A and B materials of these pits and the lowest levels of Pits 1, 4, and 6 lead us to postulate contemporaneityin spite of a higher per- centage of spicule-tempered sherds in these latter pits. Supportingthis decision is the high proportionof porous sherds, a predominance of incised decoration and the sporadicappearanceof polychrome painting in the Ware B materialof these levels, as well as a greaterfrequency of red slip and more elaborate modelled incised deco- rationfound in the WareA ceramics. Whetheror not the absence of polychrome painting in Pit 1 is chronologi- cally significant (perhaps indicating an early fiber-tem- pered occupation), remains to be verified.25 Wares A and B are distinct styles, each with charac- 25. Recently excavated materialis currentlyunderanalysis to resolve this problem.
  16. 16. A B B-C C D E TOTAL Pit 1 274 204 5 328 32 4 847 Pit2 132 203 47 1565 141 18 2106 Pit 3 216 245 84 2301 124 10 2980 Pit 4 161 145 42 1394 179 20 1941 Pit 5 106 197 52 1390 187 13 1945 Pit 6 108 108 49 782 60 1107 Total 997 1102 279 7760 723 65 10926 Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 11, 1984 169 Table7. Frequencyof WaresA-E in Pits 1-6. each of the wares, which circumstancewould argue againstthe possibilitythat one is ceremonialand the otherstrictlyfunctional.The foregoingleadsus to pro- pose thatWaresA andB representthe remainsof two distinctpeoplesoccupyingtheMiddleOrinocoarea,prior to the intrusionof spicule-temperedceramics. Althoughit seemsplausibleto attributethe manufac- tureof WaresA andB to twodistinctpeoples,it is more difficultto assess the relationshipbetweenthemin the Agueritositeitselfduringperiod1. Severalpossibilities exist:1)thatoneof thewaresrepresentsthepoKerymade in situandthe otherwas a tradeware;2) thatmembers of bothstylistictraditionscohabitedthesite,butretained theirown preferredstyle;or 3) thatthe makersof the two potterystyles utilizedthe site alternatelyand the materialbecame mechanicallymixed over time. We woulddiscountthefirston thegroundsthatthepropor- tionof thetwo waresis nearlyequalandthattheyover- lap functionallyas notedpreviously.Chroniclersreport the tradingof potteryfor laterperiods;the emphasis, however,seemsto havebeenon specialtyitemssuchas potterymolds tradedto otherinlandgroupsfor gold- smeltingoperations;theblack,flat-bottomedbowlmade by the Otomacosusedin theelaborationof turtleoil; or thedouble-spoutedbottlesmadebytheGuamos,coveted as water-coolingjugs.3lNo referenceshavebeenfound that would indicatethe acquisitionthroughtradeof a completesetof potteryby otherpottery-makinggroups. On the otherhand, in social situationssuch as sug- gested in the secondpossibility,one would expect to findsomeindicationin thepotteryof influencebetween thetwomakerssharingthesite(aswe find,forexample, laterin the sequencebetweenWaresB andC). These styles, however,arequitedistinct.We feel, therefore, that it is most likely thatthe makersof the A and B potteryusedthe site alternatelythroughoutthe firstpe- riod. The low concentrationof sherdsduringthis time 31. N. Morey, "Ethnohistoryof the Colombianand Venezuelan Llanos," unpublishedPh.D. dissertation,Universityof Utah (Salt LakeCity 1975)254, 265. teristic modes of paste, form, decorative zone, design layout, decorative technique, and motifs. In this early period we have not found any evidence for stylistic in- terchangebetweenthe makersof these wares, even though they are found associated together in several different sites in the area(Aguerito, La Gruta,Ronquin, andRon- quin Sombra). It could be postulated that these wares represent substyles of one group of people, indicating either a social subdivision (e.g., moiety affiliation) or a functional difference (e.g., one style being ceremonial and the other utilitarianor each serving different prac- tical purposes such as culinary, storage, or serving pieces). Neither of these arguments seems valid since, on the one hand, each of these styles is found in other sites more or less singly. In the lowest level of the Ced- eno site,26 Ware B constitutes nearly 90% of the occu- pation, and in Cotua, sand-temperedmaterial similar to Ware A at Aguerito dominates the site, with occasional spicule-temperedsherdspresent. We have also been able to trace independent developments for these styles in laterperiods. WhereasWareA (Saladoid) ceramics have been shown to have spread out to the Venezuelan coast andon to the Antilles, it appearsthatthe WareB material followed a different route and can be related to later styles in the WesternLlanos (Los Caros,27Crescencio,28 E1Choque,29and other sites30).On the other hand, dis- countingvariationsin lip terminationanddecoration,there is an overlap in the basic forms (open bowls and small jars) that suggests thatthe two wares are not functionally different. What is more, both simple undecoratedforms and also more elaborate decorated pieces are found in 26. Zucchi,unpublishedsurveymaterial.Publicationof thematerial is expectedby theendof 1984. 27. CruxentandRouse,op. cit. (in note21) 189-190. 28. A. ZucchiandW.Deneven,CamposElevados e Historia Cultural Prehispanica en los Llanos Occidentales de Venezuela (Universidad CatolicaAndresBello,InstitutodeInvestigacionesHistoricas:Caracas 1979)38-49. 29. Ibid. 30. Zucchi,unpublishedsurveymaterial;see note26.
  17. 17. 170 CeramicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSitelZucchi,Tarble,and Vaz suggests a sporadic and perhaps seasonal utilization of the Agueritosite, which would have providedhigh ground in the wet season for groups that dispersed to exploit turtle beaches and better hunting and fishing grounds in the dry season. Subsistence data are scarce for this pe- riod, althoughthe presence of heavy, thick-rimmedgrid- dles in Ware A may indicate manioc cultivation.32 So far, we have no evidence of this sort for Ware B. A possibility exists that part of the Ware B ceramics may be much earlierthanany of the A materialat Aguer- ito. While our early B material corresponds closely to fiber/sherd-temperedpottery illustrated by Roosevelt33 andVargas34for the earliestLa GrutaPhase, no Saladoid (Ware A) ceramics in Aguerito have the stylistic char- acteristics common to this La Gruta Phase. Unfortu- nately, because of the small sample of Ware B, we are unable at the moment to further subdivide period 1 on stylistic grounds. Period 2 This period commences with the intrusioninto the site of a new people associated with a very simple, spicule- temperedmaterial. Apparentlythis intrusionwas not en- tirely disruptive because the wares already found in the site do not disappear, but rather demonstrate certain changes that would indicate the exchange of technique and stylistic modes between the groupspresent. The lev- els correspondingto this period include: 0.50-1.00 m of Pits 2-5 and 0.25-0.75 m of Pit 1 and 0.40-0.90 m of Pit 6 (see FIG.2). Although Rouse and Roosevelt consider the appear- ance of spicule-tempered material to be a local devel- opment in the Parmana region and that maize was introducedthroughtrade, we feel that it is probablethat this new ceramic style, which is associated with a dis- tinctive subsistence strategy (maize/bean/squashagricul- ture)constitutes a distinct complex, intrusiveto the area. Aside from the difference in tempering material, other evidence supportsthis proposition. Even the earliest spi- cule-tempered material presents distinctive lip and rim treatments and base forms on bowls and jars, and dec- orative techniques with no antecedents in either Ware A or B pottery (e.g., modes such as pellets, thick applique strips, coffee-bean eyes, small triangularappendageson rims, basket and net impressions on bases, etc.).35 Dis- 32. Althoughthegriddleis nota sureindicatorof manioccultivation, as pointedout by W. De Boer, "The ArchaeologicalEvidencefor ManiocCultivation:A CautionaryNote,"AmAnt40(1975)419-433, its presencedoes allowforthispossibility. 33. Roosevelt,1980op. cit. (in note3) 206, 209, figs. 56, 63. 34. Vargas,op. cit. (in note 17)(Lam15, 20). 35. ZucchiandTarble,op. cit. (in note22). tinctive artifacts such as roller stamps for body painting and perforateddiscs possibly used as spindle whorls are also unique to the spicule-tempered ware. It likewise seems improbablethat Ware C constitutes a tradeware, since there is a considerable functional overlap in the forms of all three wares, and the increasing popularity of Ware C definitely points to an occupation of the site by these potters. As in period 1, it is difficult to determinewhether the makers of Wares A, B, and now C actually cohabited the site, or if they utilized it alternately, or if the users of Ware C actually displaced the others, but maintained trade relations with them in the area. Obviously these pottery-makinggroups were in close contact, as can be observed in the sharing of certain manufacturing and decorative techniques. The inclusion of spicule temper in a small portion of Ware B pottery (which we have denominated B-C) and, very rarely, in the Ware A ce- ramics; the common use of red-on-plain paint; the in- corporation of new vessel shapes in Wares A and B similar to those found in Ware C, all demonstrateclose contact, as does the utilization of typical Ware A and B modes on the spicule-tempered ware (e.g., broad-line, shallow incision in curvilinearmotifs, outsloping flanged bowls, etc.). The evidence for intimatecontactbetweenthese groups is much strongerin this period than in the previous one. We therefore feel that it is justified to postulate that the site was being sharedby distinctpottery-makingpeoples. Ample ethnohistoric evidence for inter-ethnic marriage practices, slavery, and symbiotic relationships between groups with different subsistence strategies is found in the earliest reportsfor the area. For example, the Saliva often intermarriedwith the AchaguaandCanb, andmixed Achagua/Saliva villages were common on the Colom- bian side of the Middle Orinoco.36The Wanai, who oc- cupied the zone between the Orinoco, Parguaza, and SuapureRivers maintaineda close alliance with the Pa- reca, in which the Wanaiwould spendone ortwo months a year in the sylvatic headwatersof the Suapurewith the Pareca to celebrate feasts; and, for their part, the Pareca would come down to spend time in the savannawith the Wanai. Intermarriagewas a common result of this in- terchange.37The Otomaco, located in the area of the confluence of the Orinoco and Apure Rivers, "fre- quently intermarriedwith other groups, especially with the Guamo with some of whom they were closely al- lied."38 In this case the Otomaco were an agricultural 36. Morey, op. cit. (in note 31) 139. 37. P. Henley, "Wanai:Aspectos del Pasadoy del Presentedel Gtupo Indigena Mapoyo,'' Antropologica 42 (1975) 29-55. 38. Morey,op.cit.(innote31) 119.
  18. 18. Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 11, 1984 171 group whereas the Guamo were fishing specialists. An- otherfishing groupclosely allied with the Otomaco were the Yaruro.39 A type of slavery is mentioned for several Orinocan groups (Saliva, Otomaco, Achagua) who used women and children capturedin wars to work in their gardens. According to Morey,40these slaves did the same type of work as any other group member, and were often incor- porated into the families of their captors through mar- riage. In the face of this evidence, we feel thatin the Middle Orinoco area, heterogeneous archaeological levels, such as those associated with period 2 in Aguerito, may rep- resentthe remainsof mixed villages, althoughwe cannot discount the possibility that they may pertainto discrete occupations that alternateduse of the site, trade wares, etc. It is important to point out that the tendency for inter-ethnic mixing seems to have increased over time, especially as a reaction to the depopulation of the area through the effects of the European conquest (disease and slavery), and the concentration and relocation of indigenous groups by the missionaries. Reflections of these phenomena should be even more evident in the archaeological record of historical sites for the area. Certain elements point to a shift in the type of site occupation duringperiod 2, perhapsbecause of a change in the subsistence base. Whereas in period 1 a small numberof griddle sherdsof WareA could indicate man- ioc cultivation, the advent of the spicule-tempered ma- terialcoincides with the firstevidence of the maize/bean/ squash complex; remnants of corncobs, beans, manos, and fragments of metates are found in the levels asso- ciatedwith spicule-temperedsherds.The griddlesof Ware C arethinnerthanthose previously found in the site, and new vessel forms correspondingto large globularvessels could indicate new dietary and culinary practices. The density of sherdsper level also increases substan- tially in this period, indicatinga largerand perhapsmore permanentoccupation. The greaterconcentrationof spi- cule-tempered sherds in Pits 2, 4, and 5 and particularly in Pits 3 and 6 (TABLES 2-4) could indicate a movement in a sw direction to higher ground, away from the area of Pit 1. This may have been a reaction to heavier river flooding resulting from a prolonged period of higher rainfall. An alternative explanation could be that Pit 1 was dug in what remains of a central midden, where culturaldeposits from all occupational periods had once accumulated in deep strata, such as found for period 1 refuse, with a depth of 0.50 m. In this case, Pits 2-5 and6 wouldall be peripheralto the centralpartof the midden,andfor this reason,presentshallowerdeposits per period(FIG. 2). Posteriorto the site abandonment, heavy flooding and erosionwould have destroyedthe upperlayersof the centralpartof the midden,leaving depositsof eroded,late materialon the surfaceof the areaof Pit 1. Thiswouldaccountfortheheavyconcen- trationof late materialcombinedwith earlytype Ware A and B sherdsin the 0.00-0.25 m level of this pit, which contrastsdrasticallywith those pits on higher ground(compare141.2 sherds/0.10cu. m from level 0.00-0.25 of Pit 1 with 1.5-20.7 sherds/0.10cu. m for the upperlevel of Pits2-5 and6 (TABLES 1-4). Period3 The thirdperiodat the Agueritosite is characterized by a rathersuddenchangein thedecorativemodesused on spicule-temperedceramics,andthenearlytotaldom- inationof the siteby thecarriersof thisware.Thenew modes,whichincluderectilinealdeep-lineincisioncom- binedwithpunctation,caneimpression,andoccasional excision, effigyjarswithapplique/incisedfeatures,and mauvepost-firedpaintareallcharacteristicof stylesbe- longingto the Arauquinoidseries. It is doubtfulthatthe style developedout of the pre- vious periodwithoutsome kind of externalinfluence, perhapsfromthe sw. Unfortunatelythis area'sarchae- ological remainsare virtuallyunknown.By this time, WaresA andB havedegeneratedconsiderablyandare infrequent,as is also the case with WareB-C. On the contrary,spicule-temperedmaterial,whichfor this pe- riodis densestin Pits2, 3, and6, continuesto showan increaseinthenumberof sherdsperlevel (between77.1 and208 sherdsper0.10 cu. m). Refuseof this wareis scatteredover a large areaof the surfaceof the site, leadingus to believethattheareaoccupiedby thistime was moreextensivethanin earlierperiods. Thisperiodwasprobablycharacterizedby anincrease in intergrouptrade,an inferencesupportedby the pres- enceof sandstonepolisherswhichcouldhavebeenused to shapeandpolishbeadsof the typefoundat the site. Quiripa,or stringsof fresh-watershell beads, were a standardof exchange,accordingto earlychroniclers.4l Thequiripawerereportedtobe manufacturedinthearea of theOrinocoatthemouthof theApure,preciselywhere the Agueritosite lies. The large ollas found in these levels couldhave servedas communalchichapots, an- otherimportantelementin Orinocantraderelationswhere a ceremony(mirray)involvingeating,drinking,anddis- 39. Ibid. 232. 40. Ibid. 106. 41. Ibid.257-260.
  19. 19. 172 CerarnicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSitelZucchi,Tarble,and Vaz courses anteceded all commercial interchange.42 The levels correspondingto this period include 0.00- 0.25 m of Pit 1, 0.25-0.50 m of Pits 2-5, and 0.30- 0.40 m of Pit 6. Although this period is clearly domi- nated by the users of Ware C, it is importantto stress the permanencein the area, frequently at the same sites, of both Wares A and B, although in a much simpler form. Period 4 The final period of the site corresponds roughly to levels 0.00-0.25 m of Pits 2-5 and levels 0.00-0.30 m of Pit 6. Diagnostic of this period is the increase of Ware D material, which in Pits 3 and 6 is accompanied by a decrease in spicule-temperedware. The density of sherds in these levels is substantially less than that of the pre- vious period (2-45 sherds per 0.10 cu. m). The appear- ance and growth in popularity of Ware D is a fairly widespread phenomenon in late sites of the Middle Or- inoco area.43 At Aguerito certain similarities are found between Wares C and D, particularlyin decorative technique and motif; their different disposition on the vessel surface andthe differencein temperingmaterialandvessel forms, however, lead us to believe the two wares representtwo distinct peoples. In other Orinocan sites where Ware D material predominates (Buena Vista, E1 Valle) the dis- tinction is even more evident, leading us to believe that the makersof Ware D at Aguerito were copying on their own distinctive ware modes present at the site in Ware C. It is impossible at this point to determinewhether the makers of these two wares actually coexisted at the site, or whether the makers of Ware C had abandoned the area(perhapsdownstreamto the Lower Orinoco), which was lateroccupied by the new group. On the otherhand, the limited range of vessel shapes in WareD could point toward the possibility that it representsa trade ware. The Aguerito Sequence in Relation to the La Gruta, Corozal, and Camoruco Traditions When examining the literaturefor comparative mate- rial for the Aguerito sequence, we were struck by the similarities between our pottery and that described for the Parmanaregion by Roosevelt,44 Rouse,45 and Var- 42. R. Morey and N. Morey, "Relaciones Comerciales en el Pasado en los Llanos de Colombia y Venezuela," Montalban 4 (1975) 534- 555. 43. Zucchi, unpublished survey material; see note 26. 44. Roosevelt, 1978 op. cit. (in note 1); Roosevelt, 1980 op. cit. (in note 3). 45. Rouse, 1978 op. cit. (in note 1). gas.46 Both sequences contain various wares, tempered with sand, sponge spicule, and dry clay and fiber, each showing considerable variability in style and frequency over time. Upon closer inspection, we determined that although our Aguerito sequence was closely related to the traditions defined for the Parmanaarea, it differed from them in several aspects. It does not demonstrate the stylistic complexity found in any of the wares of Parmana,andin this sense it would suggest thatAguerito was peripheral. On the other hand, two of the wares defined for Aguerito (D and E) are not described for the Parmanatraditions. This fact calls attentionto the great ceramic variability that is found in the area, and that probablyresultedfrom the different social situationsthat characterizedeach occupational site of the Middle Ori- noco. Finally, the Aguerito sequence is shorterthanthat of Parmanaand seems to correspond only to the latest phase of the La Grutatradition(Ronquin Sombra), and the Corozal, and Camoruco traditions. Portions of our Ware B, however, correspond closely to several types described by Vargas for the lowest levels of La Gruta, and may be considerably earlier. No Ware A material from our sequence can be related to the La Gruta and Ronquin phases of Parmana. We have drawn up a chart to demonstratethe corre- spondence between the Aguerito and Parmanaceramic sequences (FIG. 7). It appears that the earliest period in Aguerito correspondsto the Ronquin SombraPhase, be- cause of the low frequencyof spicule-temperedware and the nearlyequalproportionsof wares temperedwith sand and with dry clay/fiber. The last of these wares, accord- ing to Roosevelt, was on the increase in this phase.47In Aguerito, the sand-temperedpottery of this level has a certain Barrancoidaspect, characteristicof the Ronquin Sombra Phase (darker, more compact paste, flanged bowls, red-and-white-on-plain paint, solid zoomorphic lugs, and thinnerand deeper incision than that found on La Grutaand Ronquin Phase pottery). Greatest similar- ities were found between Aguerito, Cotua, and Ronquin Sombra. Unfortunately, the criteria for distinguishing between Ronquin and Ronquin Sombra are not very ex- plicit in the published material, leaving room for doubt. Certainevidence, however, supportsa Ronquin Sombra Phase placement as follows. 1. In the Saladoidceramicsof Aguento, severalmodes characteristicof the Ronquin Phase are completely lack- ing. Absent in Aguerito are forms predominantin Ron- quin such as the outsloping bell-shaped bowls with shallow broad-line incision or painted decoration on the 46. Vargas, 1976 op. cit. (in note 4); Vargas, 1979 op. cit. (in note 4). 47. Roosevelt, 1978 op. cit. (in note 1) 177.
  20. 20. Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 11, 1984 173 interiorof rectangularthickenedrims48andboat-shaped bowls.49Thebulging-neckedboKlecommonin Ronquin5° is alsoabsentin Aguerito.Ontheotherhand,Howard's bowl 4, an openflangedbowl, whichis rareandfairly late in Ronquin,correspondsmost closely with one of AgueritoWareA's commonforms. This formis also illustratedforRonquinSombra.51 2. Thereareno cross-hatcheddesignsin Aguerito,a traitRouseattributesto theRonquinPhase.52 3. NeitherHowardnorVargasdescribefortheirRon- quinmaterialthepaintedmodemostcommonin Aguer- ito, whichconsistsof largeareasof redpainton equally largeor largerareasof naturalsurface,wherethe red designsareborderedby a thinwhiteline. Rouseillus- tratesthismodefortheRonquinSombraPhase.53 4. ThemodelledlugsillustratedforRonquinSombra54 are most similarto the modelledlugs in Aguerito,al- thoughit seemsthatmodellingwasmuchmorecommon and elaboratein both Ronquinand RonquinSombra55 thanin Aguerito. 5. The formsandinciseddecorationon WareA ce- ramicsof Agueritocorrespondmostcloselyto thosede- scribedfor Cotua,56a site thathasbeencorrelatedwith the RonquinSombraPhaseby Rouse.57In this site, as in Aguerito,incised flangedrims are frequent.58The incisionhereis quitesimilarto thatatAgueritoon rims of WareA, especiallyin the use of parallellines that circumscribetherims.Alsofoundinbothcollectionsare the hemisphericallugs incorporatedinto the lips of bowls.59A similarformof bottlerimis alsocommonto bothsites,60as well as rectangularthickeningon theex- teriorof rims. Paintingis infrequentin Cotua,perhaps becauseof thepoorpreservationof the sherds. 48. Howard,op. cit. (in note 16) fig. 6, I andH; Roosevelt, 1978 op. cit. (in note 1) fig. 1, G-J. 49. Howard,op. cit. (in note 16)fig. 6, m-q. 50. Ibid.42; Rouse, 1978op. cit. (in note 1) fig. 2, k. 51. Rouse, 1978op. cit. (in note 1) fig. 1, n,r. 52. Ibid.205. 53. Ibid.219, fig. 1, m. 54. Ibid.fig. 2, v. 55. Roosevelt,slidecollection,I.V.I.C. 56. J. M. Cruxent,"Archaeologyof CotuaIsland,AmazonasTer- ritory,Venezuela,"AmAnt16(1950)10-16; CruxentandRouse,op. cit. (in note21) 203-205. 57. Rouse, 1978op. cit. (in note 1) 213, 216. 58. Cruxent,op. cit. (in note46) fig. 6, p-s, b', c', andf'. 59. Ibid.fig. 6, s, u, x. 60. CruxentandRouse,op. cit. (in note21) fig. 172, 11a-b. On the other hand, Ware B found in this period has marked similarities with the ash-, carbon-, and dried- clay-tempered material found by Vargas61in the lowest levels of the La Grutasequence. The similarities include a large portion of porous material(La GrutaCarbonand La Gruta Ceniza), parallel incised decoration on cari- nated vessel walls (La GrutaEstampada), and short in- cisions on rims (La GrutaIncision Corta). Vessel shapes also correspondclosely. Roosevelt also illustratessimilar material for the La Gruta Phases. It is the presence of related B material at Aguerito, but the absence of any La Grutaor Ronquin Phase sand-temperedpottery, that leads us to propose the possibility of an early Ware B occupation at the site, with the posterior advent of a Ronquin Sombrasand-temperedpotteryoccupation. Un- fortunately, our comparisons are complicated by the fact that neither Vargas nor Roosevelt clearly separates an equivalent of our B component as a distinct entity, but treat it as part of phases that have been defined mainly on the basis of the sand- and, later, spicule-tempered pottery. We are informed by Vargas, for example, that the La GrutaFine Line Incised Type includes sherdsboth with sand and dried-clay temper; we are unable, how- ever, to determinewhich motifs areassociatedwith which temper. Period 2 in Aguerito is closely related to the Corozal Phases,62 in the earliest of which, according to Roose- velt: . at least half of the sherdsare sandor fiber-sand-sherd63 tempered and bear characteristicLa Grutadecoration. The rest are sponge-tempered and bear the new Corozal deco- rative modes (fine-line incision, crude applique work and bi-chrome and polychrome painting). There are also a few sponge-tempered sherds of the La GrutaTraditionshape or decoration.64 Cylinder stampsappearduringthis phase in both sites. On the other hand, the third period at Aguerito corre- sponds to the CamorucoPhases established by the same author. In both Aguerito and Parrnanathe vast majority of sherds of these phases are heavily tempered with sponge spicules. Applied, modelled, and incised deco- 61. Vargas,op. cit. (in note 17) 88-152. 62. We arereferringto theCorozalPhasesestablishedby Rouseand Roosevelt.Vargasdoesnotdiscriminatea similarphase,althoughshe utilizesthename"Corozal"to designateherlatestphase,whichcor- respondsto theCamorucoPhaseof RouseandRoosevelt. 63. RooseveltandRouseidentifythetemperinclusionsof thisware as fiber,sand,andcrushedsherd,whereasVargasdescribesthemas charcoal,ash, driedclay, and sand. Followingchemicalandthin- sectionanalysisof ourWareB materialwe tendto agreethatit con- tainsparticlesof driedclay andsomecharcoalandsand. 64. Roosevelt,1978op. cit. (in note 1) 177.
  21. 21. Phase: La Gruta, C-14 Dates: Corozal, Parmana C-14 and Ca- Dates for Characteristics shared by Aguer- moruco Phase: La Gruta, ito and Phases of the Camoruco, Traditions Ronquin Ronquin, Corozal, and La Gruta Tradi- Aguerito (Rouse Short Long and Co- and Co- tions (based on Rouse, 1978, and Aguerito C-14 Aguerito and Roo- Chronol- Chronol- rozal rozal Roosevelt, 1978 and 1980, all Periods Dates TLDates sevelt) ogy ogy (Vargas) (Vargas) op. cit. [in notes 1 and 3]). 4 Not Not Not present at Parmana present at present at La Gruta La Gruta 3 1705 A.C. 1267 A.C. Camoruco 1495 A.C. 750 A.C. Corozal 1460 A.C. 1) Sponge-spicule ware 1114 A.C. I-III 1480 A.C. 780 A.C. 1400 A.C. predominates. 1400 A.C. 1100 A.C. 2) Applique ridges with punctate 1385 A.C. or cane impression. 1325 A.C. 3) Effigy jars with applique/ 1280 A.C. incised features. 1235 A.C. 4) Polychrome painting dies out. 1200 A.C. 5) Sharp rectilinear incision on 1190 A.C. collars and flanges. 1120 A.C. 1090 A.C. 1050 A.C. 2 200 B.P. 1059 A.C. Corozal 995 A.C. 210 A.C. ? 1) In the earliest levels, at least 200 B.P. 893 A.C. II-III 50% of the sherds are 1465 A-C 830 AC Corozal I- 700 B.C. ? tempered either with sand or 1285 A.C. 550 A.C. II 855 B.C. crushed sherd/fiber. The rest 1120 A.C. are spicule tempered. 1110 A.C. 2) Some sherds found with La 1065 A.C. Grutatraditionform or 955 A.C. decoration, but with spicule 715A.C. temper. 3) Bowls and cups most common forms in Saladoid material. 4) Applique/incised representationsof human faces make first appearance. 5) Polychrome (red, brown, and black-on-white) painting. 6) Rectilinear and curvilinear incision (non-Arauquinoid) on spicule ware. 7) A gradual loss of solid zoomorphic lugs in sand- tempered ware. 8) First appearanceof cylinder stamps. 174 CeramicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSitelZucchi,Tarble,and Vaz Figure 7. Chronological and stylistic comparisons of Aguerito and other phases from the Parmanaarea.
  22. 22. Figure7. (Continued). Phase: La Gruta, C-14 Dates: Corozal, Parmana C-14 and Ca- Dates for Characteristics shared by Aguer- moruco Phase: La Gruta, ito and Phases of the Camoruco, Traditions Ronquin Ronquin, Corozal, and La Gruta Tradi- Aguerito (Rouse Short Long and Co- and Co- tions (based on Rouse, 1978, and Aguerito C-14 Aguerito and Roo- Chronol- Chronol- rozal rozal Roosevelt, 1978 and 1980, all Periods Dates TLDates sevelt) ogy ogy (Vargas) (Vargas) op. cit. [in notes 1 and 3]). 1 460 A.C. 604 A.C. Ronquin 730 A.C. 1020 B.C. ? 1) Substantial increase of H1ber/ 400 A.C. 569 A.C. Sombra 710 A.C. crushed-sherd-tempered 781 A.C. sherds. 940 B.C. 978 A.C. 2) Tendency in sand-tempered 810 B.C. 552 A.C. ware to be darker, redder, and more compact. 2030 B.C. 436 A.C. 3) Flanged bowls appear. 3730 B.C. 828 A.C. 4) Red-and-white-on-plain 3475 B.C. painting appears. 5) Incision is finer and deeper. 6) Solid zoomorphic lugs with Barrancoidair in sand- tempered ware. Ronquin 435 A.C. Ronquin Not present in Aguerito. 390 A.C. Temprano 335 A.C. 230 A.C. La Gruta 305 A.C. 1585 B.C. La Gruta 655 B.C. Not present in Aguerito. 1760 B.C. 1370 B.C. 2115 B.C. 2140 B.C. Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 11, 1984 175 rationpredominatesin a typicallyArauquinoidstyle. Characteristicsharedelementsincludebandsof alter- natingobliquelinesfilledwithdotsorcaneimpressions, effigyvesselswithincisedcollars,andappliquefeatures ontheupperbody,double-spoutedbottles,thingriddles, andpost-firedsgraffitopaintingin whichtwo layersof differentcolorsof slipareappliedto vessel surfacesand designsarescratchedthroughtheupperlayerto expose thecontrastingcolorbelow. As in Parmana,thenumber of sherdsperlevel increasesgreatlyasthesequencepro- gresses(TABLE 7). ThefourthperiodatAgueritocannot be relatedto the ParmanasequencewhereWareD ma- terialis absent. Chronology Havingdiscussedthe occupationalhistoryandits re- lationshipwiththeParmanasequence,we will nowpro- ceed to examinetheabsolutedatesobtainedatAguerito andrelatethemto thethreechronologiespreviouslyes- tablishedforthe area. In 1978,Rousepresentedachronologicalchartforthe MiddleOrinocothatincorporatedthe absolute-agede- terminationsthatwereavailableforthisareaatthatmo- ment, both from his and Roosevelt's researchin the Parmanaarea,as well as fromZucchi'sworkattheCa- morucosite.65The basic structureof his chartis based on Roosevelt'sculturalsequence.66All of theC-14 age determinationsweregroupedintotwochronologies(FIG. 7) thatbeginwithLaGrutaandendwithCamoruco.The firstof thesespansfromthe end of the 3rdmillennium B.C. toffie16 centuryA.C., whereasthesecond,a shorter 65. Rouse, 1978 op. cit. (in note 1) 217. 66. Roosevelt, 1978 op. cit. (in note 1).
  23. 23. Table8. TLages for six intervalsat Aguerito,Venezuela. Depth No. of TLage of sherds interval Sherds Ware (A.C.) 0.3-0.4 m 1 D 1114(+78) 2 D 1267(+71) 0.6-0.7m 1 A 893(+130) 2 A 1059(+127) 0.7-0.8 m 1 A 830 (+ 142) 2 A 550 (+ 172) 0.9-1.0 m 1 A 604 (+213) 2 A 569 (+216) l.0-l.lm 1 A 781(+178) 2 A 978 (+143) 3 B 552 (+222) 1.1-1.2m 1 A 436(+222) 2 A 828(+158) Accumulated radiationdose Radiation dose per year 176 CeramicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSite/Zucchi,Tarble,andVaz one, begins around 185 A.C. Rouse defends the longer sequence on the grounds that 1) only it can account for the early appearance (1000 B.C.) of Saladoid and Bar- rancoid material in the Lower Orinoco (both of which Rouse believes to have originated in the Parmana re- gion); 2) the polychrome pottery of the Corozal Phase is related to Cano del Oso pottery of the Western Llanos, which dates from 1000 s.c.;67 and 3) the charcoal sam- ples obtainedfromthe most reliablecontexts(living floors and hearths) all gave C-14 dates that support the long chronology. On the other hand, Vargas and Sanoja favor a modi- fied short chronology that places the La Grutaphase in the second half of the 1st millennium B.C. (665 B.C.) or slightly earlier.68Vargas points out close resemblances between the La Grutamaterialandthatof EarlyRonquin whose absolute dates all rangebetween 230 A.C. and435 A.C. (see FIG. 7). This authorcontends thatthe acceptance of Rouse's dates of 1760 B.C.-2140 B.C. for La Gruta would imply a complete stagnationof ceramic style for more than 1,500 years between the La Grutaand Ron- quin Phases. Obviously, one way to establish which of the two proposed chronologies is the correct one is to utilize an independent dating technique in these sites. We decided to apply thermoluminescent dating in Aguerito because the C-14 age determinationspresented irregularitiessimilarto those found in Parmana,with the addedinconvenience thatin Aguerito, none of the carbon was found in a culturalfeature such as the hearthsin La Gruta. Although not as accurate as C-14 dating, TL of- fers the archaeologist the possibility of dating pottery in sites in which organic remains are either not found or are contaminated. We hoped that directly dating the ce- ramics themselves at Aguerito would resolve the con- troversy that has arisen because of the three C-14 chronologies obtained for Middle Orinoco sites. Thermoluminescence (TL) is the transientluminescent emission produced by most minerals when heated to a few hundred degrees Celsius, after they have been ex- posed to nuclear radiation. It represents the release of energy acquiredby absorptionfrom the radiation, which has been stored in the crystal lattice of the minerals as trapped charges (electrons and holes). In crystals such as quartz, the charges may remain trappedfor hundreds or thousands of years at normal ambient temperatures. 67. A. Zucchi, "New Data on the Antiquity of Polychrome Painting from Venezuela," AmAnt37 (1972) 439-446. Although polychromy appearedin the Llanos duringthe 1st millennium B.C., we believe that its antiquity per se is not conclusive evidence for an early placement of Corozal, since the Cano del Oso polychrome painting endured without significant changes up to Phase C of this complex (ca. 650 A.C.) . 68. Vargas, 1979 op. cit. (in note 4) 226. Whentheirradiatedmineralis heatedupto temperatures below red heat, the trappedchargesescape fromtheir trapsand may recombine,emittinglight (thermolumi- nescence)as theydo so. Potteryusually containssmall amountsof minerals (quartz,fbldspar,apatite,andzircon)thatcan be used as TL dosimetersof the environmentalradiationpro- ducedby the decayof radioactiveisotopesin boththe potteryand the surroundingsoil. At the time of kiln- firing,thegeologicallyaccumulatedTLin thepotteryis releasedand the TL clock is reset at zero; from this episode on, the TL build-upin the potteryis directly proportionalto the accumulatedradiationexposure(in- cludingcosmic-raybackground)to which it has been subjectedsincefiring.Oncethetotalradiationdose ac- cumulatedby the potteryhas been determinedfromits TL glow curve, andthe radiation-doserateto whichit hasbeenexposedhas beenmeasuredin the laboratory, the age of the ware since kiln-firingmay be directly obtainedfromthe followingequation. Age = Forthemeasurementspresentedhere,fragmentsfrom the internalpartof 13 sherdsfromsix levels of Pit6 at Agueritowerecrushedandsieved, andthe quartzfrac- tionof eachof thesherdsseparatedinamagneticseparator forTLdatingusingthequartz-inclusiontechnique.69The sherdsanalyzedweremainlyselectedfromWaresA and 69. S. Fleming, "ThermoluminescentDating:Refinementof the Quartz Inclusion Method," Archaeometry 12 (1970) 133-145.
  24. 24. Sample No. Pit Level (m) YearsB.P. Date Gx 6262 1 0.00-0.25 245+ 130 1705 A.C. Gx 6263 1 0.25-0.50 <200 Modern Gx 6264 1 0.75-1.00 1550+ 170 400 A.C. I - 10.008 1 0.75-1.00 1490+105 460 A.C. I - 9.450 1 1.00-1.25 2760+ 90 810 B.C. Gx 6265 2 0.25-0.50 485 + 120 1465 A.C. Gx 6266 2 0.50-0.75 840+ 120 1110 A.C. Gx 6267 2 0.75-1.00 665 + 120 1285 A.C. Gx 5178 2 0.75-1.00 830+ 125 1120 A.C. Gx 5181 2 1.00-1.25 5425 + 195 3475 B.C. Gx 6268 3 0.50-0.75 <200 Modern Gx 5179 3 0.75-1.00 1235 + 135 715 A.C. Gx 6269 3 1.00-1.25 2890+ 145 940 B.C. Gx 5180 4 1.00-1.25 3980+ 150 2030 B.C. I - 10.006 5 0.25-0.50 885 + 110 1065 A.C. I - 10.007 5 0.50-0.75 995+115 955 A.C. I - 10.009 5 1.00-1.25 5680+165 3730 B.C. Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 11, 1984 177 Table9. Radiocarbon determinationsfortheAgueritosite. remainingthree levels.72 The table shows thatthe age of the ceramics increases with depth in the stratigraphic sequence, from about 1267 A.C. in the 0.30-0.40 m level to 436 A.C. in the lowest level of Pit 6. These dates agree well with the corresponding phases of the short C-14 chronology proposed for these sites, and it would be difficult to introducea large enough errorin the TL-age calculations to reachthe ages suggested by the long chro- nology.73 In the next paragraphsboth the TL and the C- 14 dates (TABLE9) areexamined in relationto the Aguer- ito ceramic sequence, beginning the discussion with the later periods. Period 4 No dates are available for the levels correspondingto period 4. Two Ware D sherds, however, characteristic of this last period from levels 0.30-0.40 m (period 3), yielded TL dates of 1114 A.C. and 1267 A.C. We may conclude, therefore, that period 4 commenced around this time. The lack of historical artifactssuggests that it ended prior to Europeancontact. 72. The maximum percentage of water uptake in samples and soils was determined experimentally and its variation with depth was as- sumed on the basis of observed increased moisture content in the pit as the excavations progressed. 73. The results of the experimental measurements (TL and radiation dose rates) are not presented here, in accordance with the suggestion raised at the 2nd specialist seminar on TL dating. They may be ob- tained by writing to J. E. Vaz. D since these wares presenta higherproportionof quartz in the tempering material. A sample of Ware B (fiber/ clay tempered)material,however, was also datedto check the possibility of a very early fiber-temperoccupation in the area of this pit. The TL equipment used for this study has been de- scribed earlier.70To obtain theirTL glow curves, 15 mg aliquots of the samples were heated linearly to 450° C at 10° C per second in a nitrogen atmosphere. Gross alpha-countratesandthe conversion factorscal- culated by Sasidharan et al.71 were used to determine the beta-ray and gamma-ray dose rates resulting from uraniumand thoriumin the sherds and their surrounding soils. The potassium concentrationin the samples and in the soils was determinedvia atomic absorptionspectrom- etry. For the measurementof the accumulatedradiation exposure of the pottery, unheated aliquots of the quartz fraction of each sherd were irradiatedwith gamma rays from a Cesium 137 source. The results of the TL dating for our pottery are pre- sented in Table 8. Because of the wetness of the soil at Aguerito, the ages obtained were corrected for water uptakeassuming a wateruptakein sherdand soil of 10% and 15%, respectively, for the 0.30-0.40 m level; 15% and20%, respectively,for the 0.6()-0.70 m andthe 0.70- 0.80 m levels; and 20% and 30%, respectively, for the 70. J. E. Vaz and J. M. Cruxent, ''Determination of the Provenience of Majolica Pottery Found in the Caribbean Area Using its Gamma- Ray Induced Thermoluminescence," AmAnt40 (1975) 71-82. 71. R. Sasidharan,C. M. Sunta, and D. S. Nambi, "TL Dating:Error Implications in Case of Undetermined U-Th Concentration Ratio in Pottery Samples," Ancient TL 2 (1978) 8-11.
  25. 25. 178 CeramicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSite/Zucchi,Tarble,and Vaz Period3 In ourdiscussionwe mentionedthatperiod3 of our sequencerelatesto the CamorucoPhasesof Parmana. Wehaveonlyone C-14dateforthisperiod(1705A.C.), which seems too late in absenceof historicalartifacts. SincetheD material,however,is alwaysassociatedwith the Arauquinoidcauxi-temperedpottery,in Agueritoas in othersites of the area,the two TL datescitedprevi- ouslyarein perfectaccordwiththechronologicalplace- ment of the CamorucoPhasesbetween 1050 A.C. and 1495A.C. (see FIG. 7). Period2 Forperiod2, whichrelatesto the CorozalPhases,a totalof 13 dateswere obtained,fourof whichareTL (FIG. 7). Threeof theC-14 datesmustbe discussedsep- aratelybecauseof theirirregularity.Two of them, ob- tainedfromtheupperlevels of Pit 1 (200 B.P. and 1465 A.C.), seem to be too recent.Therecentdatescouldbe explainedin referenceto a reconstructionof theerosive processesthathaveobviouslyaffectedthe site (FIG. 2). As we saw in Figure2, Pit 1 is locatedpreciselyin the areathathas been most heavilyerodedby the annual fluctuationsof theOrinoco.ThethirdaberrantC-14date (200 B.P.) fromlevel 0.50-0.75 m of Pit 3 can be at- tributedto contaminationof the sample,sincea modern carbonizedtreerootwaspresentin thepit. Althoughwe attemptedtoeliminateallof thismoderncharcoalduring theexcavation,apparentlysomeremained. The six remainingC-14 dates correspondingto this periodrangebetween715 A.C. and1285A.C., whilethe thermoluminescencedatesfallbetween550 A.C. and1059 A.C. (FIG. 7). Takinginto considerationthe errorincor- poratedin both sets, one sees thatthey areessentially equivalentand in agreementwith the dateof 995 A.C. assignedto Corozalin the shortchronologyof Rouse andRoosevelt. PeriodI Forthe levels thatcomprisethisperiod,a totalof six C-14 and seven TL dateshave been obtained.Of the latter,six correspondto WareA materialandrangebe- tween 436 A.C. and 978 A.C. These sherdsare related stylisticallyto Roosevelt'sRonquinSombraPhaseand agreewell withtheplacementof thisphasein the short chronology(730 A.C. and710 A.C.). Additionalsupport forthisplacementis foundin thedatesof thepreceding RonquinPhase,all of whichfall between230 A.C. and 435 A.C. (FIG. 7). Two of ourC-14 dates(400 A.C. and 460 A.C.) alignwell withourearliestTL determination andseemto datethetransitionperiodbetweentheRon- quinandRonquinSombraPhases. The last TL determinationobtained from Ware B ma- terial yielded a date of 552 A.C., which agrees perfectly well with the transition period we have mentioned and supports the coexistence at the Aguerito site of both A and B peoples during this period. On the contrary,the C-14 dates from the bottomlevels of Pits 1-4 can be divided into two groups: the first, with dates ranging from 810 B.C. to 940 B.C., and the second with determinationsthat fall between 2030 B.C. and 3730 B.C. At present we are inclined to accept the two dates corresponding to the 1st millennium B.C., as possibly dating our postulated early B material. As we have shown, this material is very similar to the carbon- ash-clay pottery described by Vargas for her cuts of pe- riod 1 at La Gruta, and apparentlyalso with the fiber- sherd material described by Rouse and Roosevelt for their La GrutaPhase. Some of the C-14 dates obtained for this materialby these authorsagree remarkablywell with the two 1st millennium B.C. dates of Aguerito (Var- gas: 655 B.C. and 1370 B.C.; Rouse: 1585 B.C.). Vargas does not accept herearliestdate, althoughit fits perfectly well in her seriated sequence. As we have suggested, there is the possibility of the existence of a very early B component in the Middle Orinoco Area. The dates obtained by the different au- thorscorrespondingto the 3rdand4th millennium should not be rejectedwithout a careful examination, especially those obtained from reliable contexts, such as hearths and living floors. We must not overlook the possibility of an early and extended ceramic horizon in the tropical lowlands of South America unrelated either to the Sa- ladoid or Barrancoidtraditions, exemplified by the pot- tery of Puerto Hormiga,74Monsu in Colombia,75 and Mina in Brazil,76and related to the beginnings of Trop- ical Forest agriculturalpractices. Conclusions As we have seen so far, Aguerito represents a multi- component pre-Hispanic site whose occupation possibly extended from the beginnings of the firstmillennium B.C. to shortly before the Europeanamval. Several important facts regardingthe prehistoryof the Middle Orinocohave come to light during this research, such as the discrim- ination of new ceramics-bearinggroups, the determina- 74. G. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Excavaciones Arqueologicas en Puerto Hormiga, Departamento de Bolfvar. Publicaciones de la Universidad de Los Andes, AntropologEa2 (Bogota 1965). 75. G. Reichel-Dolmatoff, "Colombia Indigena Periodo Prehis- panico," in Manual de Historia de Colombia, Vol. I (ProculturaS.A.: Colombia 1982) 49-57. 76. M. F. Simoes, ''Programa Nacional de Pesquisas Arqueologicas na Bacia Amazonica,'' Acta Amazonica 7 (1978) 297-300.
  26. 26. Journal of Field Archaeology/Vol. 11, 1984 179 tion of the coexistence of peoples in the site as manifested in the exchange of ceramic techniques, and the survival of early ceramic traditionsin the area, in spite of partial migration of these populations to other areas and the posterior immigrations of new groups into the Orinoco. The results of TL dating clearly supportthe short chro- nology of Rouse from the Ronquin Sombra Phase on- wards and all the C-14 dates from the previous Ronquin Phase, which range between 230 A.C. and 435 A.C., CO- incide with this version (FIG. 7). On the other hand, we have postulatedthatthe earliestC-14datesobtainedfrom Aguerito andthe Parmanaareamay be relatedto an early occupation by users of fiber-tempered ceramics, unre- lated either to the Saladoid or Barrancoidtraditions. In our discussion we have proposed that the Aguerito site was populated by four different groups, each iden- tified by a distinct ceramic ware. Two of these wares (A and C) have been previously identified as pertaining to Saladoid and Arauquinoidtraditions. Materialsimilar to our Ware B has been distinguished by all authorswork- ing in the area, but, because of their small sample size, it has been generally considered as partof the Saladoid Tradition. The substantial collection of this ware at Aguerito and at other sites in the area(e.g., Cedeno) has allowed us to isolate this component as pertaining to a distinct social group, which we believe may be quite early in the zone. The fourth component, Ware D, on the otherhand, has not been previouslyreported;it seems to represent a late invasion by a new group. This inva- sion is also evidenced in other sites of the area surveyed during 1976-1977. The ethnohistorical record indicates that during pre- Hispanic times the region was ratherdensely populated by a multiplicity of ethnic groups bonded together by marriageand warfarealliance, trade, and symbiotic sub- sistence relationships. Previously the archaeological re- constructionof the populationof the Middle Orinoco had been overly simplistic, since it recognized the presence of only two population groups: Saladoid and Arauqui- noid. In recent years, however, Rouse and Roosevelt have expandedthe archaeological knowledge of the area, not only by identifying two new phases in the Saladoid Tradition(La Grutaand Ronquin Sombra), and three in the Arauquinoid (Camoruco I, II, and III), but also by defining the Corozal Phases, which they consider to be a distinct group. These authors, however, consider the phases to correspond to successive occupations. The Aguerito site, on the other hand, supportsthe ethnohis- torical picture regardingthe multiplicity and coexistence of groups in favored sites. As we have shown, the ce- ramic and, probably, the ethnic composition of the site varied through time. Although not all our components were present at the site during all periods, we have pre- sentedevidenceto supportthecoexistenceof morethan one groupatthe site atdifferentpointsin the sequence. Wecansummarizetheoccupationof theAgueritosite in the followingmanner.At the inceptionof the occu- pation(ca. 1000B.C.) the site was usedsporadicallyby a smallpopulationof EarlyB peoplewitha subsistence basedmainlyon hunting,fishing,gathering,andincip- ientagriculture.Thisoccupationwouldbe contempora- neous with the La Gruta(1000 B.C.-200 B.C.) andthe laterRonquinPhase (200 B.C.-400 A.C.) of Parmana. Around400 A.C., A andB peopleswereusingthe site eithersimultaneouslyor alternately.We have evidence formanioccultivationcorrespondingto thisperiod.Peo- ple using spicule-temperedceramicsappearat the site ca. 600 A.C., anda substantialpopulationincreasebe- gins. As in Parmana,77this occupationalperiodis as- sociatedwiththe introductionof the maize/bean/squash agriculturalcomplex.Ratherthandisplacingtheoriginal A andB inhabitants,theC groupsseemto haveshared the site with them. Evidenceof this interactionis the appearanceof theB-CWareandalsotheinterinfluences notedin all threewares.TheBarrancoidinfluencefrom the LowerOrinoco,alreadyevidentin the WareA ce- ramicsof the previousperiod, is notablenow on the cauxi-temperedpottery,attestingto continuousinterac- tionsbetweentheMiddleandLowerOrinocoareas. Thethirdperiodof Aguerito(1000A.C.) seestheclear dominanceof the site by the C people who are now clearlyin the ArauquinoidTradition,indicatingforeign influencesfromthesw. TheA andB peoplehavealmost disappearedfromtheAgueritosite. Thepresenceof the CotuaandLosCarosstylesseemsto suggestanoutward movementof thesegroups;a few sherdsof thesewares foundat Agueritoandothersites correspondingto this period, however, indicatecontinuedcommercialrela- tionsbetweentheArauquinoidsandthesepeoples.Dur- ingthethirdperioda newceramiccomplexappears.We believeits bearersto be contemporaneouswiththeLate C populationsince their decorativemotifs are nearly identical.Thedecreasein thefrequencyof WareC ma- terialduringthefourthperiod(1200-1400 A.C.) fitswell with the last expansivemovementof the Arauquinoid population,78which affected the lower Orinoco, the Guianas,andtheWesternLlanos. As a lastpoint,we wouldlike to emphasizethe ben- efitsof theapplicationof TLanalysistoMiddleOrinoco sites. By datingthe sherdsthemselves,one candatece- ramiccomponentsas well as stratigraphiclevels. This 77. Roosevelt, 1980 op. cit. (in note 3) 233-235. 78. A. Zucchi, "La VariabilidadEcologica y la Intensificacion de la Agriculturaen los Llanos Venezolanos," in Wagner andZucchi, eds., op. cit. (in note 1) 349-365.
  27. 27. 180 CeramicSequenceandDatesfor theAgueritoSite/Zucchi,Tarble,and Vaz procedureis especially importantin areas where observ- able naturalstratigraphyis lacking and erosive processes have caused mixed contexts. Underthese circumstances, TL dating can also be helpful in interpretingC-14 de- terminations. The interpretationof the TL results, how- ever, depends directly on the quality of the stylistic classification of the ceramic materials. Acknowledgments Ourmost sincere gratitudeis due to Professor Donald W. Lathrapfor reading previous versions of this paper and for providing invaluable criticisms and suggestions. We truly appreciatedthe advice, even if it was not al- ways followed. Dr. Carlos Schubert visited the site to check the stratigraphicprofiles and made the grain-size analysis. Lilliam Arvelo participatedin the Orinoco Sur- vey and did a preliminary classification of the ceramic material from Pit 1. Erika Wagner provided valuable bibliographic material and comments. Carlos Quintero made all the drawings and Daniel Blanco did the pho- tographs. MorelbaNavas andCinthiaUrdanetatyped the manuscript. Luisa Ravelo and Victor Betancourthelped with the TL processing. All the C-14 determinationswere financedwith a grant(proyectoS T-0884) fromCONICIT (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Technologicas). MARAVEN (Filial de Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.) preparedthe thin sections. Alejandro Barazarte and Bartolome Rodriguez helped lighten the physical load of the excavation. Special thanks are due to the small but most hospitable population of Aguerito for literally opening up theirfrontyardsto archaeological research. The comments by I. B. Rouse andP. J. Watson were most beneficial in the final revision of this paper. has beensince receivinghis Ph. D. in Geochemistry fromGeorgeWashingtonUniversityin 1969. His researchinterestslie in radiationdamagein minerals and its applicationsin geologyandarchaeology. Thecurrentmailingaddressfor thethreeauthorsis: Depto. de AntropologEa I.V.I.C. Apartado1827 Caracas,Venezuela1010 -A AlbertaZucchiis an InvestigadorAsociadoTitularat theDepartmentof Anthropologyof the Venezuelan ScientificResearchInstitute(I.V.I.C.), Caracas.Her publishedworksare concernedwiththeprehistoryof the WesternVenezuelaLlanos.Zucchiis presentlya Professorat the VenezuelanCentralUniversityandis Presidentof the VenezuelanArchaeological Association. KayTarbleis a ResearchAssociatein the Departmentof Anthropologyat the Venezuelan ScientificResearchInstitute,Caracas.Shehas participatedin archaeologicalprojectson theeastern shoreof LakeMaracaiboandin theMiddleOrinoco region,witha particularinterestin theanalysisof ceramicstyle. J. EduardoVazis InvestigadorTitularat the VenezuelanInstituteof ScientlficResearch,wherehe