Pernil Alto – a Preceramic Horticulturalist Village in Palpa, Southern Peru

Author(s): Hermann Gorbahn

Year: 2015


In the Central Andes, plants and animals were domesticated during the Middle Preceramic period (8000-5000 BP). The earliest civilizations, like Caral (Shady 1999,2006), arose around 5000 BP. This process of increasing complexity, however, is far from being understood completely. Whereas most sites of the Middle Preceramic Period with early domesticated plants, like Chilca 1 (Engel 1988), La Paloma (Engel 1980, Benfer 1999) and Huaca Prieta (Bird 1985, Dillehay et al.2012) are located on the Pacific littoral and had a subsistence strategy based on the rich marine resources of the Humboldt current, the site of Pernil Alto is located some 50 km inland, in the middle Río Grande valley in Southern Peru. Pernil Alto dates from 5800 to 5000 BP and thus directly before the beginning of Caral. The site presents a six-phase structured village consisting of 19 huts in an arranged settlement system with 33 internal burials. It shows the development from a subsistence based first on plant collecting towards later plant cultivation. Marine resources were unimportant. Thus, in Pernil Alto we are documenting the shift from foraging to a productive plant based economy. The site is important to understand the process leading to early civilizations in the Central Andes.

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Pernil Alto – a Preceramic Horticulturalist Village in Palpa, Southern Peru. Hermann Gorbahn. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397481)

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Spatial Coverage

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