Northern South America II: Mobility, Landscapes, and Socialscapes

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Archaeological research in Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela is often overlooked compared to other areas of South America that have disproportionately captured the public eye, such as the Central Andes and the Amazon Basin. Local groups have demonstrated an impressive interregional mobility throughout time, as well as there being common archaeological evidence of long distance exchange of materials between the Pacific Coast, northern Andes, northwestern Amazon, and the Caribbean Coast; thus indicating highly varied yet intimately connected landscapes and socialscapes. The purpose of this session is to highlight the exceptional archaeological contributions of this diverse geographic region at the northernmost extent of the continent.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-11 of 11)

  • Documents (11)

  • Beyond Monumentality: Looking Past the Pyramids of Cochasquí, Ecuador (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ryan Hechler.

    The northern highland Ecuadorian site of Cochasquí is one of the country’s most respected archaeological resources. Investigations by archaeologists Jacinto Jijón y Caamaño (1910s), Max Uhle (1932), and Udo Oberem (1964-65) had principally focused on this Late Period site’s highly visible quadrangular earthen pyramids, which can reach heights of approximately 20 meters. The archaeological and public fascination with the visibly monumental has long diverted attention away from between and beyond...

  • Cochasquí in Context: The Evolution of a Monumental Center (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only David Brown.

    Recent investigations suggest that the history of the northern Ecuadorian mound group at Cochasquí was complex and that the perception of the site as a single, mostly unchanging monumental center is simplistic at best. Begun by AD1000, the earliest constructions within the complex were modest rounded mounds, several containing burials. By AD1250, much larger, ramped square mounds signaled a major shift in site function possibly associated with the eruption of Quilotoa volcano, 125 km to the...

  • A Dynamic Social Landscape: Recent Investigations at the Hacienda Guachalá, Northern Highlands of Ecuador (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Siobhan Boyd. Zev Cossin. Samuel Connell. Ana Gonzalez.

    The area of Cayambe in the northern highlands of Ecuador is marked by the physical remains of successive waves of Inca and Spanish imperial expansion and their enduring consequences. Across the landscape high altitude fortifications evidence the drawn-out struggles between expanding Inca and local forces during the 15th century. Similarly, elite haciendas that transformed the rural countryside in the interests of imperial and state power continue to dominate the social and political landscape....

  • Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form: Reimagining the Pyramids at Cochasquí, Ecuador (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only William Pratt.

    The archaeological site of Cochasquí, located north of Quito in the Ecuadorean highlands, has long been defined by its massive quadrangular pyramids with extended entry ramps. When Max Uhle arrived on site in 1932 he focused his excavations on the largest of the fifteen known pyramids. Uhle’s work laid the foundations for the interpretations and the chronology of the site, which are still applied today. Archaeologist Udo Oberem conducted the most extensive excavations on site between 1964 and...

  • Industrial Islands: Ecological Impacts of the steam-powered mills of the El Progreso plantation, Galápagos Islands. (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Brock Wiederick. Fernando J. Astudillo.

    From 1880 to 1917 "El Progreso" plantation operated on the humid highlands of San Cristóbal Island in the Galápagos archipelago (Ecuador). The plantation enterprise used steam-powered machinery for sugar refining and alcohol distillation. Despite its remote location, 1000 km west from the South American coast, this large operation took advantage of the latest industrial technology. A number of specialized machines were used in sugar processing which were imported from factories in Scotland and...

  • Orinocan Prehistory and its Wider Relationships (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only William Barse.

    The archeological sequence developed in the Upper Orinoco in the vicinity of the Atures Rapids has not only local continuity through time but exhibits broader relationships with northern South America. The earliest preceramic components in the region, dated to ca. 10,000 BP, can be linked to comparable occupations that have been documented in the Sabana de Bogota. Slightly later preceramic components represented by distinctive contracting stemmed projectile points show links to sites in central...

  • Results of Survey and Analysis of Manteño Archaeological Sites with Stone Structures in the Las Tusas River Valley, Rio Blanco, Ecuador (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Andres Garzon-Oechsle. Valentina Martínez.

    The Manteño (1500 BP–1532) of coastal Ecuador are known for their long distance maritime trade networks along the Pacific coast of the Americas; they occupied a large territory that was geographically and environmentally diverse. This diversity allowed the Manteños to exploit a multitude of resources from each unique environment resulting in distinct settlement patterns for each region. One of the least known of these occupied environments and the focus of this paper is the cloud forest of the...

  • Social Differentiation and Hierarchy at a Central Place in the Eastern Andes of Ecuador (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Andrea Cuellar.

    This paper focuses on the development of a central place in the Quijos Valley, Eastern Andes of Ecuador. Based on an intensive survey of the site complemented by small excavations, I offer a spatial, demographic, social and economic characterization of this central place with the goal of discussing and contrasting views on the development of social differentiation, hierarchy, and centralized political authority in ancient chiefdoms. Contextualizing this in a body of regional settlement pattern...

  • Social inequality as reflected in dietary and mobility practices of South American maritime chiefdom societies: Contextual and isotopic analysis of burials excavated in La Tolita, Ecuador (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jorge Garcia.

    This project explores social inequality in relation to dietary and mobility practices of maritime Pacific polities in La Tolita (600 BC-200 AD) of Ecuador and Colombia. The research question driving this project aims to identify: How is social inequality reflected in the diet and spatial mobility as practiced by maritime chiefdom societies through time and space? A cross-site comparison between the dietary and mobility practices of individuals buried in mounds associated with the chiefly class...

  • Spondylus, Mounds and Pyramids: An Approach to Social Changes in the Northern Andes of Ecuador during the Late Period (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Estanislao Pazmiño.

    During the Pre-Columbian period, the northern Andes hosted an intense cultural interaction that led to the emergence of chiefdoms with diverse forms of political administration, power strategies, and economic integration. For the northern Andes of Ecuador, the archaeological research typically assumes a gradual development of the Cara people during the Late Period between 600 and 1525 AD. New archaeological evidence of social and natural events suggests a transitional stage between 900 and 1200...

  • Tabuchila Ceramics of the Jama River Valley, Manabí, Ecuador (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Corey Herrmann.

    Archaeological excavations by the Proyecto-Paleoetnobotánico Río Jama (PAPRJ) in the Jama River Valley of northern Manabí, Ecuador, have established a cultural chronology spanning over three millennia of prehispanic occupation. One of these occupations, the Tabuchila Complex of the Late Formative Period (1000 BC – 500 BC), remains poorly understood. Excavations at three sites in the Jama Valley in the 1990s recovered ceramic, lithic, obsidian, paleobotanical, archaeofaunal, and human skeletal...