High C4 plants consumption from the Late Intermediate period in Cuzco region.

Author(s): Mai Takigami; Fuyuki Tokanai; Minoru Yoneda

Year: 2017


Maize was one of the important crops for Inca political economics as a ritual and a staple food. In previous study of sacrificed children mummies found at Mt. Llullaillaco, the individuals particularly consumed C4 resources (such as maize, amaranth and domestic animals raised with C4 plants) in ritual activities. Contrary, the dietary compositions of Machu Picchu skeletons have shown diversity. The individuals from Mt. Llullaillaco and Machu Picchu were most probably immigrated from different regions and may not represent the diets in the capital city of Inca. Therefore, it is important to reveal inherent diet of the Inca group which had been emerged in Cusco region to get better understanding of their maize usages in their economy.

We conducted dietary investigation on the five sites of Cuzco region using carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios. Our data revealed that high C4 resource consumption started by the Late Intermediate period. Meanwhile, nitrogen isotope ratios of Sacsayhuaman in Cuzco city were the highest. Estimation of marine resource consumption using 14C date suggested that their high nitrogen isotope values were derived from C4 plants. Inca may have had an agricultural system using guano as the fertilizer or putting a priority on the amaranth cultivation.

Cite this Record

High C4 plants consumption from the Late Intermediate period in Cuzco region.. Mai Takigami, Fuyuki Tokanai, Minoru Yoneda. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429082)

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andes Inca isotope

Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15213