Guillermo Luis Mengoni Goñalons
South American Camelids (SAC) occupied a central role in the development of Andean societies and were an essential element of the cultural landscape. During the Inca period camelids had a major significance to people, integrating their economy, social, political, and ritual life. Camelids were a key instrument for the expansion and establishment of the Inca Empire. Llamas were used as beasts of burden for transporting goods along extensive redistribution networks that connected the highlands, valleys, and Pacific coast. From a utilitarian perspective camelids provided different products (e.g. meat, wool). This chapter illustrates the strategies used by the Incas for managing these ungulates by presenting some case studies from the Qollasuyu, the southeastern quarter of the Inca Empire.
Forests, steppes, and coastlines: zooarchaeology and the prehistoric exploitation of Patagonian habitats
Luis A. Borrero
The human colonization of southern Patagonia began over 11,500 radiocarbon years bp. The first colonizers exploited Pleistocene megamammals and camelids. During the Early Holocene, after the extinction of the megamammals, hunter-gatherers concentrated on the exploitation of camelids. During the Middle Holocene a full exploitation of coastal resources began—pinnipeds, molluscs, and coastal birds. The main trends observed in the exploitation of these animals through time were in the intensity of utilization. Huemul and Rheidae were discontinuously exploited in the interior, particularly in the forests. On the coasts, molluscs, fish, and birds complemented the human diet, especially during the Late Holocene. The main subsistence changes after the European contact resulted from the introduction of sheep and horses.
Zooarchaeological approaches to Pre-Columbian archaeology in the neotropics of northwestern South America
Peter W. Stahl
Despite various problems associated with the practice of zooarchaeology in the neotropics, archaeologists have recovered impressive evidence from caves and open air sites for early landscape management and food production in northwestern South America, a region renowned for harbouring elevated species richness and high rates of endemism. The trajectory for subsequent pre-Columbian cultural developments in the area was established very early through the precocious achievements of its earliest Holocene human occupations. Archaeobiological evidence is used to outline the subsequent development and elaboration of indigenous agricultural systems and trade networks up to their cataclysmic encounter with invading European populations in the early sixteenth century.
Brazilian zooarchaeology originated and primarily developed through the study of coastal sites. Shell-mounds were among the first archaeological sites to be identified in Brazil due to their visibility, aided by their size, prominent locations, and proximity to the coast. Since the seventeenth century, religious missionaries, travellers, naturalists, and researchers proposed explanations for the origins and significance of these shell concentrations. This chapter reviews theoretical and methodological changes in perspective regarding shell-mounds and presents recent developments focusing on the ritual aspect of these sites in Brazil. Site formation analysis based upon faunal remains has proven to be advantageous to discussions on shell-mound construction, function, and performance of feasts.