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Chungará (Arica)

On-line version ISSN 0717-7356

Abstract

RATTO, Norma  and  DE NIGRIS, Mariana. CAMELID CONSUMPTION (VICUGNA VICUGNA) FROM A CEREMONIAL SITE IN THE HIGH ANDES (TINOGASTA DEPARTMENT, CATAMARCA, ARGENTINA). Chungará (Arica) [online]. 2012, vol.44, n.2, pp.287-298. ISSN 0717-7356.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-73562012000200006.

This paper discusses current interpretations of the high altitude Andean site of Fiambalá (5,000 masl, Tinogasta Department, Catamarca), which dates to the Formative Period (ca. 530-720 AD), based on zooarchaeological data. The site was originally considered to be ceremonial with temporary or occasional occupations related to the cult of volcanoes. Skeletal remains were only recovered from Structure 1 and zooarchaeological analysis shows the consumption of certain anatomical units coming from a single camelid individual identified as a vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) that was probably obtained from the vegas located in the lower ranges of the Andes (4,000 masl). Most of identified bone elements are limb bones associated with obtaining the fat-rich marrow, an activity that helped allow human groups to face the hostile weather conditions at this site’s location. In addition to low species diversity and a low density of bone remains, the absence of bone remains with evidence of high termoalteration also suggests a discrete and brief consumption event.

Keywords : Zooarchaeology; high altitude ceremonial sites; Formative Period; Catamarca.

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