Hearths and the Early Ritual Architecture at Middle Archaic Asana

Author(s): Mark Aldenderfer

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Illuminated Communities: The Role of the Hearth at the Beginning of Andean Civilization" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Around 7000 years ago, the inhabitants of Asana created what appears to be a kind of ritual structure. Larger and shaped differently when compared to the residential structures nestled around it, the construction contained a hearth wholly unlike those found in its neighbors. Those hearths lit the interiors of these houses, provided warmth, and were used as impromptu dumps for bone scrap and small lithic waste. In every sense, these hearths look wholly quotidian. In contrast, the hearth inside the larger structure lay largely on the surface, did not show signs of intensive burning, and was composed instead of large, fire cracked rocks or cobbles showing evidence of fire spalling. This hearth is hardly quotidian. No lithic or bone waste was found within it or anywhere else on the floor. But as many as five small clay "boxes" are embedded on the floor, and some contain small quantities of very fine wood ash.

If this structure serves a ritual purpose, what role did the hearth play? And what of the boxes? In this paper, I seek to reconstruct what may have taken place within this special structure.

Cite this Record

Hearths and the Early Ritual Architecture at Middle Archaic Asana. Mark Aldenderfer. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450662)


Geographic Keywords
South America: Andes

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23855