Pulling Abundance Out of Thin Air: The Role of Camelid Pastoralism at 3000 B.P.
Weber, Sadie Louise
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CitationWeber, Sadie Louise. 2019. Pulling Abundance Out of Thin Air: The Role of Camelid Pastoralism at 3000 B.P.. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThe goal of this dissertation is to investigate the effects of intensified and specialized camelid pastoralism on Andean societies, with specific focus on the Chavín culture, ca. 3,000 B.P. This research explores the hypothesis that the intensification of camelid pastoralism changed the lifeways of people living in the vicinity of monumental centers by increasing their access to a broader range of resources than were previously available, thus changing the nature of their economic base and increasing interregional interaction. I specifically look for the presence of intensified pastoral and agropastoral systems that may have initially been organized at the household level. Such intensification would have changed regional economies and led to the increasing spread of ideas and culture in the Central Andes.
The Chavín culture is a well-known phenomenon in the Andes that resulted from a coalescence of previously established subsistence economies, innovations, architectural styles, iconographies, and ideologies. In essence, it was actually nothing new; what was “new” was its pervasiveness across ecologically diverse regions. The mechanism for this Andean cultural florescence, however, remains unclear. The pastoral economy in the Andes is multifaceted; llamas are used for meat, bone, sinews, and traction while alpacas are used for meat, bone, sinews, and fleece. Llama caravan trade once was the primary mode of transporting goods across the varying horizontal and vertical environmental zones of the Andes. This broad network allowed for increased interregional communication and interaction as networks grew in complexity and depth. I argue that intensive camelid pastoral economies produced the conditions necessary for the rapid and far-reaching spread of Chavín and that the broad, multi-faceted and multi-site study presented here will add to our understanding of the causes and processes of changes that took place during this time period.
I explore zooarchaeological, archaeobotanical, and stable isotope data from Chavín de Huántar, and a contemporaneous albeit smaller site, Atalla, to measure intensification and integration of domesticated camelid pastoralism into early Andean societies. I use data from previously excavated 3,000 B.P. sites to 1) identify plant food resources and thus the regions involved in interregional trade; 2) determine regional interconnectedness; 3) reconstruct pastoral mobility patterns; and 4) determine the role camelid pastoralism played in the exchange of culture across the region while Chavín de Huántar was an active civic-ceremonial center.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42013079
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