Special Issue Paper
Llamas in the Cornfield: Prehispanic Agro-Pastoral System in the Southern Andes
Article first published online: 4 NOV 2013
Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Special Issue: Special Issue on Zooarchaeology and Applications of Stable Isotope Analysis: Methodological Approaches and Case Studies in Southern South America
Volume 24, Issue 2, pages 149–165, March/April 2014
How to Cite
Dantas, M., Figueroa, G. . G. and Laguens, A. (2014), Llamas in the Cornfield: Prehispanic Agro-Pastoral System in the Southern Andes. Int. J. Osteoarchaeol., 24: 149–165. doi: 10.1002/oa.2351
- Issue published online: 4 APR 2014
- Article first published online: 4 NOV 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 8 OCT 2013 11:32AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 4 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 1 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Received: 26 OCT 2012
- agro-pastoral practices;
- South American camelids;
We report a study of the organisation of camelid production at the Ambato Valley, northern Argentine Andes, between the 6th and 11th centuries ad. We aim to contribute to the understanding of the different modes of economic production adopted in the past within non-egalitarian social contexts.
In view of this, information collected from previous studies is analysed from multiple perspectives, centering on the application of different analytical techniques to the assemblage of camelid bones (anatomical and taxonomical identification, osteometry and stable isotopes), to their diverse archaeological contexts and architectural and agricultural units, together with the implementation of frames of reference and ethnoarchaeological models. The results support the presence of an organisational mode for the production of plants and animals on the basis of a combination of different agrarian and livestock productive strategies under a unique new integrated agro-pastoral practice, differing from both previous ones. This new practice combined, in the very same land, the use of pens and agriculture terraces in an annual productive cycle adjusted to the seasonal calendar, where maize production was used as stubble for llamas during the dry season, at the same time those fertilised corn fields during fallow.
Although this new practice suggests an intensification in production, the bond and synergy of animal and plant productive strategies in a single practice could be considered risky because it decreases the range of possible responses to external fluctuation, to the extent that these could have influenced simultaneously or indirectly on both resources. This might have implied an extra factor contributing to the destructuration of the Ambato societies around 1000 ad. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.