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This paper presents new excavation data on the Chinchihuapi I (CH-I) locality within the Monte Verde site complex, located along Chinchihuapi Creek in the cool, temperate Valdivian rain forest of south-central Chile. The 2017 and 2018 archaeological excavations carried out in this open-air locality reveal further that CH-I is an intermittently occupied site dating from the Early Holocene (~10,000 cal yr BP) to the late Pleistocene (at least ~14,500 cal yr BP) and probably earlier. A new series of radiocarbon dates refines the chronology of human use of the site during this period. In this paper, we describe the archaeological and stratigraphic contexts of the recent excavations and analyze the recovered artifact assemblages. A fragmented Monte Verde II point type on an exotic quartz newly recovered from excavations at CH-I indicates that this biface design existed in at least two areas of the wider site complex ~14,500 cal yr BP. In addition, associated with the early Holocene component at CH-I are later Paijan-like points recovered with lithic tools and debris and other materials. We discuss the geographic distribution of diagnostic artifacts from the site and their probable relationship to other early sites in South America.
To the north arena of Chinese agriculture, the Central Plain is flanked by the Gobi desert and beyond that a belt of steppe that continues westwards across Eurasia. In Western Asia early crops were processed for a flour-focused food system. While grinding stones were used in prehistoric China, boiling and steaming of grains and other foods appear to have been and remained the predominant East Asian methods for preparing foods. The ultimate expression of the East Asian culinary selection of grain quality is found in the sticky cereals, including sticky rice and sticky millets. Analyses of phytoliths recovered from Pleistocene caves on the southern margins of the Yangtze basin have also led to suggestions of Pleistocene rice domestication in the region, although clear criteria for determining either cultivation practices of rice have been lacking. While agriculture in the Yellow River region diversified through secondary domestications and adoptions and developed an ideology of diversity, early Yangtze agriculture was single-mindedly about rice.
One of the most important developments in the existence of human society was the shift from a subsistence economy based primarily on terrestrial or maritime foraging to one based primarily on plant and animal food production. This profound transition in human ways of life occurred independently in at least seven or eight regions of the world, namely, the eastern United States, Mesoamerica, South America, the Near East, China, New Guinea, probably mainland Southeast Asia and possibly India (for recent updates of the evidence, see Barker 2006; Zeder et al. 2006; Cohen 2009; and Price & Bar-Yosef 2011). In most of these places, including South America, the transition occurred shortly after the Pleistocene ended. Within a few centuries to millennia of the first domestication of plants, people began living in sedentary communities that derived a significant portion of their diet from agriculture. With the dispersal of agriculture to other parts of the world, such communities developed in new regions, although the processes of their establishment varied. Where agriculture spread through colonisation, a sedentary way of life usually appeared immediately, but where agriculture was adopted by local hunters and gatherers, there was often a gradual reliance on crops. Nonetheless, almost everywhere crops appeared, eventually important subsequent demographic, economic, social and technological changes in society took place.
Debates over the cultural and biological origins of some indigenous groups in the Americas have fueled discussions about cultural identity, political justice, and resource rights. A historically high-profile case of rights and origins has involved the Araucanians or Mapuche of the southern cone of South America. This article examines, for the first time, the recent interdisciplinary archaeological and other anthropological evidence for the Mapuche of Chile and Argentina. It suggests that the ethnic and territorial origin of the Mapuche is in central and south-central Chile, although biological and cultural influences from north Chile and western Argentina also are present. It briefly discusses the implication of this study in relation to the indigenous status of the Mapuche in present-day Chile and Argentina.
Archaeological excavations in deep pre-mound levels at Huaca Prieta in northern Peru have yielded new evidence of late Pleistocene cultural deposits that shed insights into the early human occupation of the Pacific coast of South America. Radiocarbon dates place this occupation between ~ 14,200 and 13,300 cal yr BP. The cultural evidence shares certain basic technological and subsistence traits, including maritime resources and simple flake tools, with previously discovered late Pleistocene sites along the Pacific coast of Peru and Chile. The results help to expand our knowledge of early maritime societies and human adaption to changing coastal environments.
Summarized in this chapter are descriptions of the major material technologies recovered during the course of all projects in the study area, including architecture, irrigation canals, garden plots and agricultural fields, exotic curiosities, copper ore and crude smelted copper, and lithics. More emphasis is placed on architecture and lithics because they are the dominant assemblages recorded by all projects.
El Palto Phase: During the late Paiján subphase, we see the first evidence for substantial architecture, which has important implications for reduced mobility and possibly sedentism. Late Paiján architecture typically is characterized by circular or semicircular, ground-level structures that appear as stone teepee-rings with narrow entrances (Fig. 11.1). Other structural forms documented for the El Palto phase in the Q. del Batán and Q. Talambo areas include L-shaped and V-shaped huts (Stackelbeck 2008). Foundations or retaining walls were built of dry stone, usually with a conical morphology. Sometimes these walls are preserved up to 50 cm in height, though the foundations in the Q. del Batán and Q. Talambo areas typically consist of a single layer of basal stones. Some structures at the CA-09–27 and PV-09–19 sites have concentric circles or postmolds indicative of a support framework for substantial walls and a roof (see Chapters 4 and 5). Walls were likely made of wooden branches, mud covered and draped with animal skins or brush. The roofs were likely made of brush. There is no evidence of mud brick or wattle and daub.
The Las Pircas populations of the Zaña and Jequetepeque valleys began the process of experimenting with new technologies, subsistence strategies, burial practices, increased food production and water management (i.e., shallow ditch irrigation), and communal space (i.e., the initial layers of the CA-09–04 mounds). By Tierra Blanca times, people intensified their commitment to these and other developments, which led to other changes that are reflected in the material culture, construction and use of architecture, and socioeconomic organization. The social and cultural patterns that characterized the Tierra Blanca phase are summarized in this chapter.
ENVIRONMENT AND SETTLEMENT PATTERN
In the lower and middle Zaña and Jequetepeque valleys between 7,800 and 5,000 years ago, a semi-arid to seasonally dry forest setting existed with slightly increasing aridity, approximating the modern environment. In the Nanchoc area in particular, the climate during this period was warm and humid and associated with seasonally dry and humid montane forests. The appearance of canal technology by 6000 bp (Dillehay et al. 2007) in the Zaña Valley and 6800 bp in the Jequetepeque Valley (Stackelbeck 2008) may indicate attempts to harness water resources depleted as a result of increased aridity in some areas.
Tierra Blanca phase occupants committed themselves more strongly to the idea of growing much of their own food and living together in more permanent communities than did their El Palto and Las Pircas predecessors.
Archeologists have always considered the beginnings of Andean civilization from c.13,000 to 6,000 years ago to be important in terms of the appearance of domesticated plants and animals, social differentiation, and a sedentary lifestyle, but there is more to this period than just these developments. During this period, the spread of crop production and other technologies, kinship-based labor projects, mound-building, and population aggregation formed ever-changing conditions across the Andes. From Foraging to Farming in the Andes proposes a new and more complex model for understanding the transition from hunting and gathering to cultivation. It argues that such developments evolved regionally, were fluid and uneven, and were subject to reversal. This book develops these arguments from a large body of archaeological evidence, collected over 30 years in two valleys in northern Peru, and then places the valleys in the context of recent scholarship studying similar developments around the world.
Our long-term study of Preceramic times in the Zaña and Jequetepeque valleys has not produced a wide-sweeping theory or given attention to a new social process. Nor have we reviewed the database from the perspective of several popular conceptual models, such as optimal foraging theory, self-aggrandizement and wealth accumulation, cost-benefit analysis, and human behavioral ecology in general. Rather than forcing the data into unproven models that often substitute for patterning, we decided to focus our attention on identifying patterns in the archaeological data and on the interpretation of historical events and processes and specific sociocultural and techno-environmental contexts forming larger patterns. In small and large processes of contrast across time and space in the study area, we attempt to offer a synthesized understanding of the exceptional database that we have gathered over the past three decades. This does not necessarily imply a complete abandonment of the use of concepts, for in many places throughout this study we have assessed our findings in regard to broader issues in the areas of plant domestication, human response to environmental change, change stimulated by environmental richness, household and community development, emergent social complexity, the roles of household and public ritual, and related topics.
We perceive this study as being useful on several fronts. First, it has provided a cultural historical and ecological interpretation of one of the largest Preceramic databases produced to date in South America. Our interpretations of these data are based on more than three decades of interdisciplinary research.
Two localities warrant special attention because they are unique in function and meaning to this study and the project area, and because they do not sufficiently fit into the chronological phase schemes presented in previous chapters. The first site, which has been referenced several times in published articles and this book, is Cementerio de Nanchoc (CA-09–04) that dates from the late Las Pircas phase to the end of the Tierra Blanca phase and is located in an isolated place on the north side of the Nanchoc Valley. It is the largest and most elaborate mound and public site of the middle Preceramic period in the area and is associated with the specialized activity of producing lime, probably in a ritual setting. This site was built and utilized by residents who likely lived directly across the valley. The second site is Cerro Guitarra (PV-19–54), a domestic village and perhaps ritual locale that dates to the terminal Preceramic and aceramic periods. It is the only village site recorded in the two valleys under study (a possible exception is site JE-734 in the Jequetepeque Valley but this has not yet been confirmed by excavation). Although Cerro Guitarra dates to the end of the Tierra Blanca phase, its architecture, lithic technology, and site plan do not fit within the cultural scheme of this phase and thus merit a separate discussion.
A persistent topic in hunter-gatherer archaeological research has been evaluating the influence of environmental changes on past economies, technologies, and social organizations. Archaeologists have frequently employed cultural ecology as a conceptual perspective, interpreting cultural patterns in terms of adaptations to external environmental stimuli, or assuming that environmental patterns reflect the optimal patterns of hunter-gatherers within functionalist cultural systems in which social variables and cultural agents are minimized (e.g., Balter 2007; Kennett and Winterhalder 2006; Richerson and Boyd 2000). To situate social factors in relations between people rather than between people and environment, individual groups must be identifiable in the archaeological record. Burials and households usually offer the most scope for this, but excavated evidence needs to be more highly resolved in space and time for burial patterns than is the case for the Preceramic records of the Zaña and Jequetepeque valleys. The household data for the 8,000 year time span under study are reasonably good for inferring some social patterns. Nevertheless, many of the phenomena (e.g., technological innovations and economic decisions) and situations (e.g., culture contact and migration) that are most identifiable in the archaeological record are those related to human and environmental interaction.
Taking this interaction into consideration, I describe in this chapter the settlement data for the project area from the perspective of environmental conditions, resource structures and changing strategies, and when applicable, social relations.
Of all human histories of the Andes, the initial peopling of the continent and the beginnings of indigenous civilization and food production have proven to be some of the more difficult to master. For most Andean scholars, pre-Hispanic civilization is seen to begin with monumental architecture, public works of art – among other spectacular achievements–at large, permanent settlements such as Chavin de Huantar in the highlands and Caral on the coast of Peru before 3,000 years ago. (All dates in this volume refer to calibrated dates. BP refers to Before Present. Yet, several major social and economic foundations of civilization had already been in existence for several millennia. Archaeologists have always considered the earlier period from ~13,000 to 6,000 years ago to be important in terms of the appearance of domesticated plants and animals, social differentiation, and a sedentary lifeway, but there is more to this period than just these developments. The spread of crop production and other technologies, kinship-based labor projects, and population aggregation, for instance, formed a palimpsest of ever-changing conditions across many different environments of the Andes that created a patchwork of new transformations through time. This book examines these formations and transformations from the late Pleistocene to the middle Holocene in two valleys in northern Peru – Zana and Jequetepeque (Figs. 1.1, 1.2) – through a large body of archaeological evidence, and places them in the context of recent scholarship studying similar processes in other parts of the world.