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‘White gold’ guano fertilizer drove agricultural intensification in the Atacama Desert from AD 1000

Abstract:

The archaeological record shows that large pre-Inca agricultural systems supported settlements for centuries around the ravines and oases of northern Chile’s hyperarid Atacama Desert. This raises questions about how such productivity was achieved and sustained, and its social implications. Using isotopic data of well-preserved ancient plant remains from Atacama sites, we show a dramatic increase in crop nitrogen isotope values (δ15N) from around AD 1000. Maize was most affected, with δ15N val...

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Publication status:
Published
Peer review status:
Peer reviewed

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Publisher copy:
10.1038/s41477-020-00835-4

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Institution:
University of Oxford
Division:
SSD
Sub department:
School of Archaeology
Role:
Author
ORCID:
0000-0002-4444-766X
Publisher:
Springer Nature
Journal:
Nature Plants More from this journal
Volume:
7
Issue:
2
Pages:
152–158
Publication date:
2021-01-25
Acceptance date:
2020-12-08
DOI:
EISSN:
2055-0278
ISSN:
2055-026X
Language:
English
Keywords:
Pubs id:
1148497
Local pid:
pubs:1148497
Deposit date:
2020-12-10

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