Pulling Abundance out of Thin Air: The Role of Pastoralism in 1000 BC Peru

Author(s): Sadie Weber

Year: 2018


Andean camelid pastoralism – with its origins in the puna of the South-Central Andes – plays a key role in risk management and transformation of low-energy, high-abundance resources. Camelids not only help pastoralists mitigate risk by acting as literal "wealth on the hoof," but they also maintain cohesion of intergroup relationships across vast distances by facilitating mobility within and among diverse environmental zones. Here, I examine intensified camelid pastoral systems as an adaptation to scarcity in the Andean highlands. I employ a multiproxy analysis including zooarchaeology, microbotany, and stable isotopes to examine the extent to which intensified pastoralism was key in proliferating the widespread cultural phenomena we see in the highlands at approximately 1000BC in the Central Andes. I propose that environmental wealth – or a lack thereof in some areas – at 1000BC prompted an intensification economic and cultural systems that were heavily dependent on pastoralists.

Cite this Record

Pulling Abundance out of Thin Air: The Role of Pastoralism in 1000 BC Peru. Sadie Weber. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444737)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22563