Dietary correlates to the development of nasca social complexity (A.D. 1-750)

Corina M Kellner, Margaret J. Schoeninger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between agricultural intensification and social complexity in past societies using a diachronic, contextualized population, the Nasca of the southern coast of Peru (AD. 1-750). Using stable isotope analysis of human bone collagen, we tested social assumptions arising from the relationship between agricultural intensification and social complexity during the Nasca's cultural fluorescence, including the construction of underground filtration galleries (puquios). Our data show that while agricultural intensification may have spurred social complexity in the Nasca region, it engendered few significant differences in access to foodstuffs. High status individuals in Nasca society had access to more meat than low status individuals, especially during time periods characterized by more social conflict, increasing trade routes, and agricultural intensification. Meat consumption may have been an important marker of status identity among the Nasca. Nasca elites, however, did not control access to agricultural products such as maize as effectively as they did meat. These dietary data support the contention that an indigenous process of innovation and intensification was the major catalyst to later social complexity in the Nasca population from the Las Trancas Valley.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-508
Number of pages19
JournalLatin American Antiquity
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2012

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social conflict
Peru
agricultural product
elite
innovation
Agricultural Intensification
Social Complexity
society
Meat
time
Society
Trade Routes
Innovation
Maize
Elites
Diachrony
Social Conflict
Bone Collagen
Human Bone
Coast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • History

Cite this

Dietary correlates to the development of nasca social complexity (A.D. 1-750). / Kellner, Corina M; Schoeninger, Margaret J.

In: Latin American Antiquity, Vol. 23, No. 4, 12.2012, p. 490-508.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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