Ecological Adaptations and New Forms of Pastoralism? New Insights into Herding Practices in the Andes during the Prehispanic Times

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

The Andean pastoralism and the establishment of trades between different ecological levels (concept of Andean verticality) are the basis for the emergence of complex societies in the Central Andes. Llamas and alpacas are the only large domestic mammals in the Americas. With the intensification of their breeding, camelids occupied a fundamental economic, social and religious role in Andean life. Today, camelid livestock are confined above 3,500 masl to the ecozone of the puna or altiplano, while their presence during pre-Hispanic times in other area (as the Pacific coast for example) is attested by archaeological skeletal remains, textiles and iconographic representation. However, modalities subtending the camelids adaptation to these different environment, as well as herd and territory management remain unknown. The objective of this symposium is to document these modalities and the different herding practices by gaining new insights into diet, mobility, location of breeding, and health status of archaeological camelids. These data will allow us to understand how pre-Hispanic societies adapted their practices to the difficult of the environment, and show that herding practices were varied and not restricted to breeding at higher altitudes.

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  • Documents (9)

  • Assessing prehistoric herding strategies through stable isotope analysis: a case study from the Dry Puna of Argentina (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Celeste Samec. Hugo Yacobaccio. Héctor Panarello.

    The relationship between human groups and animal populations in the past can be studied through stable isotope analysis of zooarchaeological remains. More specifically, the isotopic analysis of domestic animals’ tissues can help us to investigate herd composition, diet and mobility strategies employed by herders in the past. However, before these methods can be applied to resolve such questions, variation in isotopic composition and its causes must be addressed and explored by a modern reference...

  • Beginning of Camelid breeding during the Formative period at the Pacopampa site, Peru. (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kazuhiro Uzawa. Mai Takigami. Yuji Seki.

    Our research on faunal remains from the Pacopampa and the Kuntur wasi sites has shown that Camelid breeding began during the Late Formative period (800 – 500 BC) in the northern highlands of Peru. However, motives for the introduction and usage of these animals remain obscure. We conducted multi-disciplinary analyses of the camelid remains from the Pacopampa site to investigate breeding and utilization patterns of these animals. The Sr and O isotope values from tooth enamel showed that 17 of 18...

  • Gastrointestinal parasites of the camelids of the archaeological site of Huanchaquito (Peru): first results. (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Matthieu Le Bailly. Nicolas Goepfert. Gabriel Prieto. John Verano.

    The health status of domestic’s camelids is an original research topic in the past Central Andes. The discovery of more than 200 well preserved camelids in Huanchaquito in the northern coast of Peru was the opportunity to perform paleoparasitological analyses on twenty samples taken from preserved intestines and faeces recovered during the excavations. Extractions of the parasites using RHM standard protocol raised to the observation in 55% of the samples of several helminth taxa belonging to...

  • Geographic origin of sacrificed camelids at Huanchaquito (Chimú period, northern coast of Peru): insight from stable isotopic analysis (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elise Dufour. Nicolas Goepfert. Gabriel Prieto. John Verano.

    Excavations at the Chimú site of Huanchaquito located in the Moche Valley (northern coast of Peru) leaded to the discovery of an exceptional sacrificial deposit of more than 200 domestic camelid skeletons. This finding adds to the many testimonies of the presence of camelids on the Peruvian coast during the pre-Hispanic era. The abundant presence of animals suggests - but does not bring definitive evidence - that breeding took place locally in an unfavorable arid environment. Measurements of...

  • The Health of the Herd: Considering Camelid Herding from Late Moche Peru (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Aleksa Alaica.

    The herding of camelids in the pre-Columbian past impacted daily and ritual life of peoples residing there. During the Late Moche period of Peru, camelid herding was a major factor in the trade and exchange of goods, people and ideas. The extent of herding and the degree of camelid breeding in the coastal desert has been understudied. This paper will discuss the patterns in camelid age profiles and pathologies to inform the extent to which camelids where traveling along the coast and into the...

  • Herds for Gods? Sacrifice and Camelids Management during the Chimú Period (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nicolas Goepfert. Gabriel Prieto. John Verano.

    Although domestic Andean camelids are native from the highlands they have been largely present in the Peruvian coast since the end of Early Horizon (near 200 BC). This presence stresses the symbolic, ritual importance and economic values of camelids. In 2011 an impressive human and animal sacrificial context dating from the Chimú period was found in Huanchaquito near Chan Chan on the northern coast. At least 130 children and 200 camelids were uncovered during the successive excavations that took...

  • Life on the "Periphery": Pastoralism at Atalla (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sadie Weber.

    Atalla, located in the South Central Andes of Peru in the province of Huancavelica, boasts a monumental temple and expansive, multi-phase domestic areas. Occupation of the site intermittently spans approximately 3000 years, and human presence in the surrounding area likely predates this site. Recent excavations focusing on both the monumental and domestic sectors of the site have yielded faunal remains from nearly all contexts. Here, I present an analysis of the faunal remains and bone tools...

  • Pastoralisms of the Andes: a southern and central Andean perspective (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kevin Lane. Jennifer Grant.

    In this paper we contrast and compare the development of pastoralism at two opposite yet complimentary geographical locations with a focus on pastoralist impact on the environment. In Argentina we present the evolution and development of pastoralism [c. 3,300-400BP] in the arid highlands of Antofagasta de la Sierra, as societies negotiated the shift from hunter-gathering to a more mixed, but increasingly, pastoralist economy culminating in late complex agro-pastoralist adaptations. Similarly in...

  • The Political Ecology of Camelid Pastoralism by Wari and Tiwanaku Colonists in the Moquegua Valley, Peru (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Susan deFrance.

    The Moquegua Valley in southern Peru was the locale where the rival early imperial states of Wari and Tiwanaku established provincial colonial centers. Both Wari and Tiwanaku colonists concentrated their settlements in the low to mid-sierra elevations of the valley, elevations that are not modern zones of camelid husbandry. The political ecology of imperial settlement at this elevation fostered the development of local systems of camelid pastoralism that were significant economic components for...