Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Quaternary and Climate Studies


Daniel H. Sandweiss

Second Committee Member

Daniel R. Lux

Third Committee Member

Kirk A. Maasch


This M.S. thesis presents results from field and laboratory investigations of the Alca highland obsidian (volcanic glass) source and Wayñuna, a Preceramic highland archaeological site previously identified close to a geological deposit of Alca obsidian in southern Peru's Cotahuasi Valley. Obsidian artifacts found within Terminal Pleistocene (13,000-11,200) strata at coastal site Quebrada Jaguay (QJ-280) were sourced to the Alca deposit in the Cotahuasi Valley some 155 km distant, suggesting contact between specific coastal and highland locales during the period of earliest settlement of South America. This Quebrada Jaguay-Alca connection suggested that additional, analogous Paleoindian sites should be located near Alca obsidian source deposits. Excavations at Waynuna revealed an intact Terminal Preceramic (ca. 4,000-3,600 cal yr B.P.) occupation, so Wayñuna does not constitute an analogous site to Quebrada Jaguay. This work at Wayñuna, however, offers the first excavated data of a Preceramic settlement in the Cotahuasi Valley, and the analysis of Wayñuna's lithic assemblage reported in this thesis constitutes the first in-depth study of highland Preceramic lithic technology for this region. The Wayñuna assemblage obtained from a limited investigation of a domestic house context is indicative of a systematic and carefully