Paleoethnobotanical evidence points to agricultural mutualism among early camelid pastoralists of the Andean central Altiplano

Brie Anna S. Langlie, José M. Capriles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Through paleoethnobotanical analysis, we illustrate mutualism between herding and cultivating crops among early Andean mobile pastoralists who lived in the Iroco region of the Central Altiplano of Bolivia during the Formative period (1500 BCE - 500 CE). These pastoralists, known as the Wankarani culture, cultivated quinoa, kañawa, and tubers even though they were mobile pastoralists. Cultivating these crops improved food security for the Wankarani and enhanced the landscape for pastoral production. In turn, a pastoral lifestyle enhanced agricultural productivity. Based on the absence of non-local plant remains, such as maize, or other exotic materials, there is no evidence that the Wankarani were involved in the early interregional llama caravan trade networks that underpinned the development of cities and states in the region. These findings demonstrate that herding and crop cultivation interact in unique ways that lead to farming strategies, crop varieties, and opportunities that would not otherwise exist. Above all, this article brings attention to the role of Andean pastoralists in the development of early agricultural programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Volume13
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology

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