Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Early Ceramic Settlement in the Coastal Osmore Valley: Preliminary Report

Early Ceramic Settlement in the Coastal Osmore Valley: Preliminary Report. This is a paper by Bruce Owen which reports on a systematic site survey in two early ceramic domestic and mortuary sites to clarify patterns of subsistence, settlement, mortuary practices, regional cultural affiliations, and chronology in the coastal Osmore valley. The paper was originally presented at the Institute of Andean Archaeology annual meeting, 1993.

From the site:

Because pottery is useful for boiling starchy foods like maize and manioc, we often suggest that the adoption of ceramics marked the time when people became settled farmers. By studying the early periods of ceramic use, we hope to learn about the early stages of the ecological and social adaptations to agriculture that underpinned subsequent developments. On the far south coast of Perú, the early ceramic period formed the background against which the Tiwanaku state expanded, and may have embodied early expressions of cultural traits as varied as agricultural and craft technologies, ascribed social status, and multiethnic settlement in restricted areas.

In the coastal Azapa valley of northernmost Chile, domestic and mortuary excavations have yielded substantial information about the early ceramic Faldas del Morro and subsequent Alto Ramírez phases. These chronological phases are very long, and feature elaborate material cultures based on settled, mixed agricultural, maritime, and herding subsistence strategies probably bolstered in later stages by exchange relations with sierra and altiplano people (Muñoz 1987; Dauelsberg 1985).

In contrast, until recently, relatively little was known about the early ceramic period in the region north of Azapa. Virtually all the limited data available is from the Osmore river area, on the far south coast of Perú. Aldo Bolaños (1987) reported an apparently early pottery style fromthe coastal spring site of Carrizal, north of the modern city of Ilo. Karen Wise (pers. com.)encountered presumably early ceramics in the uppermost levels of the preceramic K4 site, also on the coast north of Ilo. Maria Lozada (pers. com.) and other members of the Programa Contisuyu have excavated numerous burials from the early ceramic cemetery at Wawakiki, on the coastfurther north from Carrizal. Robert Feldman (1989) described the early ceramic Huaracane pottery from the Moquegua area, far up the valley from Ilo, and Paul Goldstein (1989a) salvaged some artefacts from a Huaracane shaft tomb at Omo, south of Moquegua. Probably early pottery has been found at the site of El Atajo in the Caplina valley southwest of Tacna (Manuel Garcia,pers. com.), but is known only from a deflated surface scatter.

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