The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Chanka Mobility and Diet in the Central Highlands of Peru: A Multi-Isotope Analysis


1Anthropology, University of Florida, 2Anthropology, Vanderbilt University

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Bracketed by the disintegration of the Wari and the emergence of the Inca, the early Late Intermediate Period (LIP, ca. AD 1000-1250) was marked by small scale regional warfare and alliance building in the Andean highlands. Strontium isotopes (87Sr/ 86Sr) and light stable isotopes of oxygen (δ18O) and carbon (δ13C) derived from human tooth enamel (N=44) are used as proxies to elucidate geographical origin and diet of individuals from four burial areas (two LIP Chanka, one LIP Quichua, one Wari) surrounding present day Andahuaylas, Peru. While several individuals sampled exhibit “non-local” 87Sr/ 86Sr values, results do not support previous hypotheses of non-local origin invoking migrant salt mine labor in the region. However, both adult males and adult females exhibit outsider 87Sr/ 86Sr values, suggesting dual patterns of exogamy. Stable oxygen isotope ratios reflect water consumed in food and drink, and complex patterns of water composition and evaporative regimes that vary by altitude and biological age (weaning). δ18O results show an overlapping range of values, with small inter-site differences which likely underscore the complexity of oxygen in highland contexts. Stable carbon isotope ratios help to distinguish between consumers of C3, C4, and mixed dietary regimes. δ13C values suggest high consumption of C4 plants (e.g. maize) for all individuals sampled, but also point to increasing inequality in the post-imperial era. Supplemented by bioarchaeological analyses including cranial modification, trauma and trepanation, this study informs Chanka and Quichua inter-group dynamics in the wake of societal collapse and reformulation.

Research was supported in part by the University of Florida Bone Chemistry Lab, a University of Florida Center for Latin American Studies research grant, and Vanderbilt University dissertation improvement grant.

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