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Life and Death at the mouth of the River Loa: Bioarchaeological and biogeochemical analysis of human remains from Formative Period northern Chile

Author(s): Christina Torres-Rouff ; William Pestle ; Francisco Gallardo

Year: 2015

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Summary

Recent research has shown that during the Formative Period (1500 B.C.-A.D. 500), in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert life was sustained and enriched by inter-zonal movement and networks of exchange of both prestige goods and staple materials. In order to further detail these phenomena, a series of five cemeteries in the region of Caleta Huelén were recently excavated. In this work, we present the results of contextualized bioarchaeological and biogeochemical analysis of over 30 individuals, focusing in particular on the distillation of patterns of diet, lifetime residential mobility, relatedness, and ethnic self-representation (in the form of intentional cranial modification). The observed patterns speak to a complex web of social, economic, and ethnic relationships, as well as between the Caleta Huelén sites and their contemporaries on the Pacific coast, oases of the desert interior, and beyond. These data support the contention that the Atacama Desert’s Formative Period was one of far-reaching interaction and exchange.

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Life and Death at the mouth of the River Loa: Bioarchaeological and biogeochemical analysis of human remains from Formative Period northern Chile. William Pestle, Christina Torres-Rouff, Francisco Gallardo. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397830)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
South America


Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America