Collaborative Research: Demographic catchments interregional exchange and political complexity

Project: Research project

Description

We request funds to assess the nature of state-building strategies in a complex polity called Paracas that flourished on the south coast of Peru circa 800-200 BCE. We have three seasons of data from work on Paracas sites in the Chincha valley. Excavations in two sunken courts 13 km apart produced numerous objects and human remains deposited between 400 200 BCE. These dates are confirmed by 14c and stylistic evidence on pottery, baskets and textiles. We hypothesize that these complexes were designed to host visitors from distant areas and constituted a strategy of state-building as understood by contemporary anthropological theory. We will test this hypothesis by collecting isotopic data, including 87Sr/86Sr and light stable isotopes (C, H and O), along with additional radiocarbon data from the objects and human remains in the two sunken courts to determine whether these originated in areas 1) outside of Chincha, 2) from the Chincha area, or 3) were mixed. That is, we will determine the catchment zone of the people and objects in the courts. We will then compare the two courts to see if they had similar or different catchment zones. We have completed a study of archaeological human teeth from prehistoric contexts and have the baseline radiogenic strontium isotope data for Chincha. All of the materials from one court have been collected, as well as some materials from the second court. We request funds to complete the excavations in the second court and to conduct the analyses of a statistically-significant sample of the materials.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date7/15/156/30/17

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $72,553.00

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