NIELSEN Axel Emil
capítulos de libros
Andean pastoralists and caravans
AXEL E. NIELSEN; NICHOLAS TRIPCEVICH
Oxford Handbook of South American Archaeology
Oxford University Press
Since their domestication, camelids were extremely important in Andean society. The llama (Lama glama) and alpaca (Vicugna pacos), the only animals herded in Precolumbian Americas, supported the permanent occupation of the high puna and were a significant complement of farming at lower altitudes. They offered a dependable source of meat, fiber and hides for a variety of manufactures, dung used as fertilizer and fuel, and the possibility of carrying burdens at long distances, a capacity which facilitated the articulation of contrasting ecozones and gave special dynamism to interregional trade and interaction through the organization of caravans. Camelids also occupied a privileged position in society and cosmology; they featured in myth and ritual, were regularly offered in sacrifice to deities, brought prestige to their owners, and were profusely depicted in rock art and other materials. This chapter traces the development of prehispanic Andean herding and caravan trade, from its beginnings ca. 4000 years ago, through the Inca period.