Mid-Holocene Climate and Culture Change in the South Central Ande

Grosjean, Martin; Santoro, Calogero; Thompson, Lonnie; Núñez, Lautaro; Standen, Vivien (2007). Mid-Holocene Climate and Culture Change in the South Central Ande. In: Anderson, David; Maasch, Kirk; Sandweiss, Daniel (eds.) Climate change and cultural dynamics. A Global Perspective on Mid-Holocene Transitions (pp. 51-115). London: Academic Press 10.1016/B978-012088390-5.50008-X

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This chapter reviews the history of study and the current status of Mid-Holocene climatic and cultural change in the South Central Andes, which host a wide range of different habitats from Pacific coastal areas up to extremely harsh cold and dry environments of the high mountain plateau, the altiplano or the puna. Paleoenvironmental information reveals high amplitude and rapid changes in effective moisture during the Holocene period and, consequently, dramatically changing environmental conditions. Therefore, this area is suitable to study the response of hunting and gathering societies to environmental changes, because the smallest variations in the climatic conditions have large impacts on resources and the living space of humans. This chapter analyzes environmental and paleoclimatic information from lake sediments, ice cores, pollen profiles, and geomorphic processes and relates these with the cultural and geographic settlement patterns of human occupation in the different habitats in the area of southern Peru, southwest Bolivia, northwest Argentina, and north Chile and puts in perspective of the early and late Holocene to present a representative range of environmental and cultural changes. It has been found that the largest changes took place around 9000 cal yr BP when the humid early Holocene conditions were replaced by extremely arid but highly variable climatic conditions. These resulted in a marked decrease of human occupation, “ecological refuges,” increased mobility, and an orientation toward habitats with relatively stable resources (such as the coast, the puna seca, and “ecological refuges”).

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Paleolimnology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Grosjean, Martin


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Academic Press


Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:59

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:18

Publisher DOI:





https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/25591 (FactScience: 59362)

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