Provisioning Inka feasts at Tiwanaku, Bolivia: The geographic origins of camelids in the Pumapunku complex

Kelly Knudson, Kristin R. Gardella, Jason Yaeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


While political integration can be achieved by many means, here we focus on the use of feasting and statecraft in the Inka Empire of the Andean Late Horizon (c. AD 1400-1532) in South America. In order to examine Inka political integration of the Lake Titicaca Basin of Bolivia, we examine paleomobility and paleodiet through radiogenic strontium and stable oxygen and carbon isotope data in archaeological camelid remains from the site of Tiwanaku. Mean radiogenic strontium isotope values from all archaeological camelid enamel and bone samples is 87Sr/86Sr = 0.70998 ± 0.00179 (1σ, n = 48), mean stable oxygen isotope values from a sub-set of archaeological camelid enamel and bone samples is δ18Ocarbonate (VPDB) = -10.0‰ ± 2.6‰ (1σ, n = 18) and mean stable carbon isotope values from a sub-set of archaeological camelid enamel and bone samples is δ13Ccarbonate (VPDB) = -9.0‰ ± 1.7‰ (1σ, n = 18). While many camelids consumed in these feasting events were likely local to the Lake Titicaca Basin, others came from a variety of different geologic zones, elucidating our understanding of Inka statecraft and the role of feasting in political integration in empires in the past.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-491
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012



  • Andes
  • Inca
  • Late Horizon
  • Middle Horizon
  • Radiogenic strontium isotopes
  • Stable carbon isotopes
  • Stable oxygen isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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