Food preparation and status: ch’arki versus roasting at Chavin de Huantar

Author(s): Silvana Rosenfeld

Year: 2016


Based on the chronicles and ethnohistorical documents, the consumption of (more) camelid meat has been linked to groups of high status or rank in the Andes. However, were all camelid dishes created equal? At the site of Chavin de Huantar, previous (Miller and Burger 1995) and recent zooarchaeological investigations provide evidence for the consumption of ch’arki (traditional way to dry meat on the bone) and the consumption of roasted meat in different areas. Can the particular preparation of camelid meat be a factor for social distinction? Can we link a distinctive cuisine with certain activities at the site? Preliminary data suggest a complex picture: Ch’arki appears associated with areas of lithic tool manufacture, while roasted meat appears associated with bone tool manufacture. Many of the bone tools have been interpreted as part of hallucinogenic plant consumption paraphernalia, thus possible linking this area to a middle or high status artisans. The unelaborated lithic tools manufactured in the area associated with ch’arki could suggest a low rank population. It appears that the specialized craft production in Chavin was also associated with particular ways of consuming camelid meat in which fresh meat symbolized a higher social status than dry meat.

Cite this Record

Food preparation and status: ch’arki versus roasting at Chavin de Huantar. Silvana Rosenfeld. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404210)


Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

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