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The Economy of Prehistoric Northern Chile: Case Study Caleta Vitor

Carter, Christopher Paul Carter, Christopher Paul


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  • Título:
    The Economy of Prehistoric Northern Chile: Case Study Caleta Vitor
  • Autor: Carter, Christopher Paul
  • Carter, Christopher Paul
  • Assuntos: Archaeology ; Archeology ; Chinchorro
  • Descrição: Despite being within one of the driest deserts on earth, the coast of southern Peru and northern Chile has been inhabited by humans for over 10,000 years. Within a limited range of habitats, local cultures were characterised by an economy based on limited terrestrial and abundant marine resources. This thesis intends to address the question as to how such an economy can be defined. By examining the economic trajectory of coastal communities, this project will attempt to establish the base from which the local economy was originally derived and how it developed through time, looking particularly at the effects of migration and trade together with the dynamics of a distinctive environment and the cycles of El Niño weather patterns. This research was based on a collection of archaeological material obtained from a number of sites at Caleta Vitor located on the coast approximately 30km south of Arica, Chile. This material was excavated from middens and includes food remains (eg shell, bone, plant material) as well as cultural material (eg lithic artefacts, textiles, ceramics, wooden implements). The analysis of this data was directed toward an understanding of what constituted the earliest economy, when this occurred and how the economy changed through time (the material at Caleta Vitor ranges in age from the Early Archaic (>9000 cal BP) through to the Colonial Period). Findings indicate that although the original inhabitants of Caleta Vitor arrived from the north and already had a well-developed economy based on marine resources. There was little evidence of inland/highland contact during the earlier phases of occupation. Cultural developments accord with those of the sites immediately to the north and south – around Arica and the Azapa Valley and south at Camarones and Pisagua. The termination of the early cultural phase known as the Chinchorro saw the introduction of ceramics, simple textiles and major changes to funerary practices during the Formative Period. Later developments included the introduction of a material culture and agricultural products from highland groups and local inland polities during the Late Intermediate. Inka influence was noted during the Late Period. However, despite significant cultural shifts, the economy at Caleta Vitor remained focussed on marine resources. There were relatively few changes to the techniques and technology that were employed to exploit a range of resources that did not vary to any great degree. Over time, an increasing range of products became available to those living at Caleta Vitor. However, they chose to remain focussed on the sea and their affinity with it remains.
  • Data de publicação: 2016
  • Idioma: Inglês

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