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An Isotopic Evaluation of the Classic Andean Mobility Models in Northern Chile during the Late Intermediate Period (AD 900-1450)

Author(s): Francisca Santana Sagredo ; Julia Lee-Thorp ; Rick Schulting ; Mauricio Uribe

Year: 2017

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Research on the Late Intermediate Period (AD 900-1450) in northern Chile has been strongly influenced by two mobility models: John Murra’s classic vertical archipelago model and the more recent gyratory mobility model. The use and application of these two models, however, is problematic since there is insufficient supporting archaeological evidence. The use of stable isotope analysis allows a direct approach for studying diet and mobility patterns, in contrast to material culture. The aim of this work is to evaluate the presence of colonies and specialized highland pastoralist groups in the lowlands of northern Chile through the application of δ13C, δ15N, δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr to various human tissues, including tooth enamel, bone collagen, bone apatite, and hair-keratin. The results show strong local traditions in terms of diet and mobility associated with the Pica Tarapacá and Atacama cultures. However, a small number of isotopic outliers suggest a non-local origin for some individuals in both groups. Based on the isotopic evidence, it is suggested that there is no evidence to support either the ‘colony’ or the gyratory mobility model. Mobility patterns were, instead, diverse and flexible including female and male individuals that moved at different moments during their lives (infancy and adulthood).

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An Isotopic Evaluation of the Classic Andean Mobility Models in Northern Chile during the Late Intermediate Period (AD 900-1450). Francisca Santana Sagredo, Julia Lee-Thorp, Rick Schulting, Mauricio Uribe. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430341)


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): 17009

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