Sea Shells in the Mountains and Llamas on the Coast: The Vertical Economic Organization of the Paracas in Palpa, South Peru (370–200 BC)
This research analyzes excavated materials of the Paracas culture (800–200 BC) in southern Peru, particularly obsidian artifacts, malacological finds, and camelid bones. In doing so, different methods including archaeometric techniques, quantification, artifact classification, and species determination are combined to elaborate natural origin, making, distribution, and utilization of the objects. The Paracas remains were excavated by the Palpa Archaeological Project and mainly derive from three representative sites situated at distinct altitudes on the western Andean slope: Jauranga (285 masl), Collanco (1,630 masl), and Cutamalla (3,300 masl). Accordingly, the Late Paracas period (370-200 BC) in the Palpa valleys (Andean Transect) serves as a case study for this archaeoeconomic approach.
The results show exchange processes in the western Andes that are characterized by unbalanced commodity flows. Resources from the highlands such as obsidian, camelids and their products – for instance wool – arrived at the Pacific desert strip in large amounts, while marine resources such as sea shells reached highland regions only in small amounts. Raw materials were not just procured in the mountains, there were also strategic production centers like Cutamalla. All in all, consumption at coastal settlements like Jauranga needs to be seen as the driving force behind the Paracas economy.
Cite this Record
Sea Shells in the Mountains and Llamas on the Coast: The Vertical Economic Organization of the Paracas in Palpa, South Peru (370–200 BC). Christian Mader, Markus Reindel, Johny Isla. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443981)
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min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;
Abstract Id(s): 19968