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Conversion and Persistence: Analysis of Faunal Remains from an Early Spanish Colonial Doctrinal Settlement in Highland Peru

  • Susan D. deFrance (a1), Steven A. Wernke (a2) and Ashley E. Sharpe (a3)

Abstract

Initial Spanish colonization of the Central Andes and efforts to transform indigenous society were highly dependent on local social and geographic conditions. In the Colca Valley of southern Peru, Franciscan friars established a series of doctrinas (settlements for the conversion and doctrinal instruction of the indigenous population) at former Inka imperial outposts during the mid-1540s. The inhabitants of one of these doctrinas—the site today known as Malata (ca. A.D. 1545–1573)— were subject to one of the earliest mendicant evangelical campaigns in the Central Andean highlands. In addition to religious indoctrination and significant spatial reconfiguration of the village, Spaniards attempted to alter systems of domestic production related to the rearing and consumption of animals. They also imposed new tribute demands. Despite considerable transformations of the architecture and attendant changes in daily life at Malata, zooarchaeological analysis of faunal remains from a variety of contexts provides no indication of the introduction of Eurasian animals to Malata nor the alteration of either indigenous husbandry practices or the consumption of food animals. Ceramic iconography and the abundance of weaving tools suggest that Spaniards built on the local system of camelid husbandry to extract textiles and metallurgical goods as tribute during the first generation of colonial occupation.

Resumen

La temprana colonización española de los Andes Centrales y los esfuerzos para transformar a la sociedad indígena fueron altamente dependientes de las condiciones sociales y geográficas locales. En el Valle del Colca, al sur de Perú, los frailes franciscanos fundaron una serie de doctrinas (aldeas para la conversión e instrucción doctrinal de la población indígena) en centros imperiales incaicos durante mediados de la década de 1540. Los habitantes de una de estas doctrinas—el sitio hoy en día conocido como Malata (ca. 1545–1573 d.C.)—fueron sometidos a una de las campañas evangélicas mendicantes más tempranas de la sierra central andina. Además del adoctrinamiento religioso y la significativa reconfiguración espacial del pueblo, los españoles trataron de alterar los sistemas de producción doméstica relacionados con la cría y el consumo de los animales, así como también impusieron nuevas exigencias de tributo. A pesar de las considerables transformaciones en la arquitectura y los cambios concomitantes en la vida cotidiana en Malata, el análisis zooarqueológico de una variedad de contextos revela que no se introdujeron animales de Eurasia a Malata, así como no se alteraron las prácticas indígenas de cría y consumo de animales. Sin embargo, la abundancia de herramientas de tejer, en conjunto con la iconografía cerámica, sugiere que los españoles aprovecharon el sistema local de la cría de camélidos para extraer tejidos y productos metalúrgicos como tributo durante la primera generación de ocupación colonial.

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References

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Conversion and Persistence: Analysis of Faunal Remains from an Early Spanish Colonial Doctrinal Settlement in Highland Peru

  • Susan D. deFrance (a1), Steven A. Wernke (a2) and Ashley E. Sharpe (a3)

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