Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: Early Preceramic Cultural Adaptation and Diversity on the North Coast of Peru

  • Maggard, Gregory (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


The purpose of the proposed study is to examine the diversity of local and regional adaptive strategies related to mobility, settlement, subsistence, and technology of early complexes (ca. 11,000-9,000 B.P) within the Q. Batan of northern coastal Peru, and attempt to characterize what this diversity means in terms of changing mobility patterns and localization. A diverse pattern of cultural adaptations including site locations, types of resources exploited, and technologies has already been documented, but not well understood, for the Early Preceramic period. It is during this period that gradual adaptation to highly varied resource zones are believed to have fostered diverging strategies of mobility between early groups and to have set in motion the larger process of localization. These processes, which continued and intensified throughout later Preceramic periods, are believed to have given rise to social and organizational features such as the domestication of plants and animals, sedentary life, population aggregation, and territorialism, which are suggested to have laid the foundation for later Andean civilizations. Because transformations from a general foraging pattern toward more intensive, broad-spectrum exploitation occurred in other parts of the world during the Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene period (e.g., Levant, coastal California, Great Basin), this study will provide an important comparative case for evaluating the similarities and dissimilarities in the cultural and environmental contexts in which the processes of localization and regionalization have occurred around the world. During 2002-2003, intensive survey for Early Preceramic sites and excavation of selected sites were conducted in the Quebrada del Batan on the north coast of Peru. As a result of this work, 171 new sites were recorded in the area, 61 of which have been identified as Early Preceramic based on diagnostic cultural materials. This new information is revealing clearer stratigraphic and spatial relationships between the sequential and/or coterminous Early Preceramic complexes (i.e., Fishtail, Paijan, and unifacial) of the north coast. Additionally, for the first time we have the opportunity to examine plant exploitation and paleoecological data from flotation sampling of Early Preceramic deposits. Previous studies in this region had identified these early complexes and their basic cultural patterns, provided general chronologies, and technological descriptions. However, in order to more fully understand the initial colonization of the Central Andes, specifically the north coast of Peru, and the subsequent development of these complexes, more detailed settlement and subsistence studies, combined with tighter chronological control are necessary. Funds are requested for only speciali~ed analyses of floral, faunal, and carbon materials already collected from the survey and excavatIon. Specialized analysis of these materials will provide an important opportunity to study: 1) organizational changes in the mobility, settlement/subsistence, and technology of Early Preceramic complexes, 2) how these changes relate to the larger processes of localization a~d regionalization, and 3) how they laid the socio-economic foundations for subsequent changes m the Early Holocene.
Effective start/end date8/1/037/31/05


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