Direct tracing of beds during excavation in May 1973, confirmed that the artifact-bearing layers at Hueyatlaco underlie 10 m of fine-grained, water-laid deposits that constitute part of the wide-spread Valsequillo gravels. Dissection of these deposits by the adjacent Ri??o Atoyac has reached a depth of 50 m. The stratigraphic section at Hueyatlaco includes four distinctive tephra units. The oldest one occupies a small channel in a series of cut-and-fill stream deposits that have yielded bifacial tools. It lies more than a meter above flat-lying, fine-grained beds from which edge-retouched tools have been recovered. The three other tephra units occur higher in the section. Fission-track ages on zircon phenocrysts from two of the younger tephra layers (370,000 ?? 200,000 and 600,000 ?? 340,000 yr, 2??) agree with concordant uranium-series dates for a camel pelvis that was found associated with bifacial tools at Hueyatlaco (245,000 ?? 40,000 yr by 230Th and > 180,000 yr by 231Pa). These dates are compatible with the depth of burial and subsequent dissection of the Hueyatlaco deposits, as well as with the degree of hydration of volcanic glass shards and with the extent of etching of heavy-mineral phenocrysts from within the tephra layers. These findings suggest to us that further search for archaeological remains in deposits as old as those at Hueyatlaco would be warranted. ?? 1981.
Additional publication details
Geologic evidence for age of deposits at Hueyatlaco archeological site, Vasequillo, Mexico