Reconsidering Farming and Foraging in the Pre-Moche World


This paper examines the relationships between food, identity, and social inequality on the Prehispanic Peruvian North Coast through a paleoethnobotanical perspective. We reconstruct household culinary practices to address the roles that food played in the migrant experience of highlanders that settled in a traditionally coastal river valley. This migration occurs just prior to the consolidation of the Southern Moche polity, one of the earliest state polities in the Americas and characterized by unprecedented social stratification. Regional subsistence reconstructions based on primary plant data from large-scale household excavations are now beginning to bear fruit. We consider changes in plant foodways during the Early Intermediate Period (400 B.C-A.D. 1) through a diachronic analysis of macrobotanical data from highland and coastal residential sites in the Moche Valley, to explore how highland-coastal contact, competition and alliance formation, and a broadly changing sociopolitical landscape impacted plant food production at the household level. We aim to show how careful micro-scale research can complement the current studies of political, economic, and ideological phenomena at larger ceremonial centers, on the Peruvian north coast, in the Andes, and beyond.

Cite this Record

Reconsidering Farming and Foraging in the Pre-Moche World. Dana Bardolph, Brian Billman, Jesus Briceno, Gabriel Prieto. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430418)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


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): 16133