Inequality and Taskscape in a Precolumbian Agricultural Landscape

Author(s): John Walker

Year: 2017


Raised fields and other earthworks, as parts of archaeological landscapes, can be theorized through Ingold’s related concepts of taskscape and lines. In the Bolivian Amazon, such earthworks are the physical remains of group or community activities in the precolumbian past. As such, they are both the products of community tasks, and infrastructure, or resources that in turn afford other community tasks. In conjunction with archaeological survey and excavation, mapping of raised fields and other earthworks makes it possible to characterize trends in the precolumbian landscape across an area of about 10,000 km2. About 37,000 individual raised fields have been measured, averaging about 0.27 ha each. When fields are grouped according to simple geographic criteria (such as proximity), groups of fields differ in terms of inequality, by area. The Gini coefficient is used to characterize this inequality, and trends across space are interpreted, in conjunction with results from excavation. Thinking of landscape as both a product of community tasks, or practices, could be useful in understanding similar patterns in the anthropogenic landscape.

Cite this Record

Inequality and Taskscape in a Precolumbian Agricultural Landscape. John Walker. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429496)


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): 15386