Like Frejoles in a Pod: Examining the Current State of Paleoethnobotany in Peru

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

In the last decade or so, the field of paleoethnobotany has witnessed a rapid rise in the number of Peruvian and foreign researchers conducting archaeobotanical inquiry in the country of Peru. The primary goal of this symposium is to open lines of communication among these scholars, many of them recently trained, and solidify the network of researchers actively involved in the study of macro- and microbotanical remains in the region. Through this symposium, we also aim to raise awareness about the need for sharing information such as project-specific methodologies and the rationales behind them, seed/phytolith/starch grain databases, and analytical protocols. The specific goals for this symposium include (1) disseminating the results of recent archaeobotanical analyses, (2) pushing theoretically engaged and question-driven research, (3) critically examining methodological issues specific to Andean archaeobotany, and (4) discussing joint efforts in developing databases and guides for Andean macro- and microremains. By taking these steps towards developing an active and collegial network of researchers interested in the complex entanglements between peoples and plants, we hope to advance the field of paleoethnobotany in Peru.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-12 of 12)

  • Exploring Macrobotanicals of Tenehaha from the Cotahuasi Valley, Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Aaron Mayer. Matthew Sayre.

    In this paper we present macrobotanical data from the Peruvian archaeological site of Tenehaha in the Cotahuasi Valley. Soil samples from archaeological excavation areas were recovered by Justin Jennings and his field crew from the Tenehaha site. These soil samples were floated in order to sieve out the botanical remains of the ancient past lives of Peruvians at a ritual and ceremonial burial site of Tenehaha. Our analysis revealed new insights into site use and the distribution of botanical...

  • "Good to Eat and Good to Think": Interpreting the Role of Plants in the Tiwanaku Temple of Omo M10, Moquegua, Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Giacomo Gaggio. Paul Goldstein.

    Much is known nowadays about the role of plants in Tiwanaku households and political economy, yet, their function in ceremonial contexts is still unclear. Unlike the state's heartland in the Bolivian altiplano, where preservation conditions are not always favorable for the systematic recovery of paleobotanical remains, excavations of Tiwanaku sites in the hyper-arid environment of the Moquegua valley in southern Peru have resulted in the recovery of a wide array of ancient organic finds,...

  • Methodological Considerations for Examining the "Slave Diet" at Colonial Wine Producing Estates in Nasca, Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lizette Munoz. Brendan Weaver.

    The 2012-2013 season of the Haciendas of Nasca Archaeological Project focused on the recovery of material correlates of domestic production, consumption, and discard from two Jesuit coastal haciendas, San Joseph and San Xavier, where the majority of the labor was enslaved and of African descent. Our systematic analysis of macrobotanical remains and sediment samples aimed at branching our understanding of: a) colonial foodways beyond the Native Andean/European dichotomy, as several years of...

  • Middle Formative Plant Use on the Taraco Peninsula, Bolivia (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Geoffrey Taylor.

    The Middle Formative (800-250B.C.) on the Taraco Peninsula was a period of burgeoning status and wealth differentiation that saw the rise of platform mound construction and the intensification of quinoa farming nearby the shores of Lake Titicaca. This paper will present data from a macrobotanical analysis of the site Alto Pukara, a 3.25 hectare village excavated in 2000 and 2001. A thorough examination of the distribution of charred plant remains across all contexts of a single structure will be...

  • Paleoethnobotany at Cerro la Virgen: Exploring the Lives of People and Plants at a Chimu Town in the Hinterland of Chan Chan (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Dana Bardolph.

    This paper explores the roles of plant foodways in the social, political, and economic organization of Cerro la Virgen, a Late Chimu site in the Moche Valley of North Coastal Peru. Located in the hinterland of Chan Chan, the capital the Chimu Empire (AD 1000-1460), Cerro la Virgen comprised a diverse community of craftspeople, farmers, and fisherfolk. Recent paleoethnobotanical investigations of assemblages from different household contexts afford a closer look at the diverse economic strategies...

  • Parsing out Differential Plant Use Among Households During a Period of War in Puno, Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only BrieAnna Langlie.

    In the Peruvian altiplano near Lake Titicaca during the Late Intermediate period (LIP; A.D. 1100 to 1450) peoples’ lives were overwhelmingly structured by warfare. Martial conflict between competing ethnic groups incited people to live defensively in fortified hilltop villages during the LIP. However, little is known about the agricultural practices and the internal sociopolitical dynamics of these fighting communities. Drawing on recent excavations and macrobotanical data collected from...

  • A Preliminary Comparison of Paleoethnobotanical Remains from Cerro Baul and Cerro Mejia in the Upper Moquegua Valley, Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Matthew Biwer. Donna Nash.

    This paper presents preliminary analysis of macrobotanical remains from the Middle Horizon Wari Imperial sites in the Upper Moquegua Valley, Peru. Plant remains from the sites Cerro Baúl and Cerro Mejía are compared to begin contracting a baseline for Wari residential subsistence at the colony, and the greater Empire. Additionally, paleoethnobotanical remains from the sites are compared to further develop archaeological interpretations of Wari social practices surrounding food. SAA 2015...

  • Putting Archaeobotany Under the Microscope: A Case Study for Increased Use of Starch-Grain and Residue Analyses on the North Coast of Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Teresa Rosales-Tham. Victor Vásquez-Sanchez. Guy Duke.

    Due to the arid environment and subsequent excellent preservation on the north coast of Peru, evidence obtained from macrobotanical remains here has been the primary sources of information on plant use. However, despite the richness of the macrobotanical record, the combination of arid conditions and the nature of many plants, such as potatoes and beans – which are consumed in their entirety – macrobotanical remains can only tell us so much. In this paper, we discuss some methodological issues...

  • Social Implications of a Maize-Free Botanical Assemblage in Early Middle Horizon Contexts at the Huaracane Site of Yahuay Alta, Middle Moquegua Valley, Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kirk Costion. David John Goldstein. Lizette Muñoz Rojas.

    Analysis of the micro and macrobotanical remains from the Huaracane settlement of Yahuay Alta's early Middle Horizon (AD 550 – 800) contexts revealed no recorded signature of maize use at this site, but the presence of a variety of other agricultural remains. We know that the Tiwanaku and Wari states established colonial settlements in the Moquegua Valley in this period, and that the Tiwanaku colonial project in the middle valley focused on its excellent potential for maize agriculture....

  • To Feed the Miner and to Feed the Mine: Some Thoughts on the Macrobotanical Assemblage from Mina Primavera, Nasca Region, Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Hendrik Van Gijseghem. Giacomo Gaggio. Kevin Vaughn.

    Mina Primavera was a hematite mine exploited during the first part of the Early Intermediate Period by members of Nasca society. Its exceptional preservation conditions have led to the recovery of a large assemblage of botanical remains. Recent analysis of the ubiquity and diversity of botanical species allow us to reconstruct consumption practices that took place as part of mining activities. However, observation of taphonomic processes and stratigraphic distribution of the hundreds of maize...

  • To Screen or to Float?: Methodological Considerations for Archaeobotanists in Coastal Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katherine Chiou.

    In recent years, coastal Peru has seen an encouraging upwards trend in the number of archaeologists trained in the field of paleoethnobotany or archaeobotany. With growing numbers of practitioners in the field, it is crucial to remain vigilant of methodological concerns that are relevant not only to archaeobotanists as a whole, but particularly to those working in the unique environment of coastal Peru. In the interest of maximizing interpretative potential while maintaining the capability to...