Arybolas, amphoras and Manteño Ordinario: The production and significance of Ecuadorian transport vessels

Author(s): Hector Neff; Maria Masucci

Year: 2015


The late prehispanic coastal Ecuadorian societies subsumed as Manteño -Guancavilca, are imagined as seafarers of the Andean region. On balsa rafts they plied a coast dotted with ports; participants in a trading empire. This traditional model of political-economic integration is being challenged with emphasis on regional autonomy and ethnic diversity. It is proposed that the analysis of the "ordinary" Manteño -Guancavilca vessels can contribute to this debate. Large, coarse paste, roughened exterior jars are ubiquitous at Manteño-Guancavilca sites and are believed to have been used on trading rafts. A narrow range of forms and surface treatment is matched by evidence from thin section petrography and elemental analysis of a standardized, unique fabric utilizing igneous materials. These materials have a limited range and are not used in other pottery production. Are these vessels, like European amphoras, a ubiquitous form of transport vessel so common they weren't even worth reusing for a return trip or like Inca arybolas, a ware which signaled control and integration? Do the vessels demonstrate that regions of the coast of Ecuador were integrated into a wider "empire" or did local elites benefit from participation in long distance trading organized through distant coastal centers?

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Cite this Record

Arybolas, amphoras and Manteño Ordinario: The production and significance of Ecuadorian transport vessels. Maria Masucci, Hector Neff. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397052)


Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;