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The Maritime Foundations of Andean Civilization: A Reconsideration of the Evidence

  • J. Scott Raymond (a1)

Moseley's contention that coastal Peruvian civilization was founded on a maritime subsistence economy is challenged, and the evidence that he used to substantiate his claim is re-examined. It is argued that: (1) the number of calories represented by the faunal remains in the late preceramic sites of the central coast is too few to have supported more than a simple hunter-gatherer society; (2) the potential productivity of the agricultural food plants present in the preceramic sites has been grossly underestimated; (3) biases in the preservation of sites and of food remains in the sites have not been considered sufficiently in drawing conclusions from the data; and (4) when considered in relation to the hydrology of the Peruvian coast, the distribution of the late preceramic sites indicates a dependence on flood-plain agriculture.

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G. N. Bailey 1975 The role of molluscs in coastal economies: the results of midden analysis in Australia. Journal of Archaeological Science 2:45-62.

Elsie B. Begler , and Keatinge Richard W. 1979 Theoretical goals and methodological realities: problems in the reconstruction of prehistoric subsistence economies. World Archaeology 11:208-226.

Bennet Bronson 1966 Roots and the subsistence of the ancient Maya. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 22:251-279.

Mark N. Cohen 1978 Archaeological plant remains from the central coast of Peru. Nawpa Pacha 16:23-50.

Sherburne F. Cook 1946 A reconsideration of shell mounds with respect to population and nutrition. American Antiquity 12:50-53.

Sherburne F. Cook 1975 Subsistence ecology of Scovill. American Antiquity 40:354-356.

S. F. Cook , and A. E. Treganza 1947 The quantitative investigation of Aboriginal sites: comparative physical and chemical analysis of two California Indian mounds. American Antiquity 13:135-141.

Frederic Engel 1957 Early sites on the Peruvian coast. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 13:54-68.

Michael E. Moseley 1972 Subsistence and demography: an example of interaction from prehistoric Peru. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 28:25-49.

Michael E. Moseley , and Willey Gordon 1973 Aspero, Peru: a re-examination of the site and its implications. American Antiquity 38:452-468.

Patrick J. Munson , Parmalee Paul W. , and Yarnell Richard A. 1971 Subsistence ecology of Scovill, a terminal Middle Woodland village. American Antiquity 36:410-431.

R. C. Murphy 1923 The oceanography of the Peruvian littoral with reference to the abundance and distribution of marine life. The Geographical Review 13:64-85.

Paul W. Parmalee , and Klippel Walter E. 1974 Freshwater mussels as a prehistoric food resource. American Antiquity 39:421-434.

Thomas C Patterson , and Moseley Michael E. 1968 Late preceramic and early ceramic cultures of the central coast of Peru. Ñawpa Pacha 6:115-133.

Barbara Pickersgill 1969 The archaeological record of chili peppers (Capsicum spp.) and the sequence of plant domestication in Peru. American Antiquity 34:54-61.

L. B. Singh 1970 Utilization of saline-alkali soils for agro-industry without prior reclamation. Economic Botany 24: 439-441.

Michael West 1979 Early water-table farming on the north coast of Peru. American Antiquity 44:138-144.

David J. Wilson 1981 Of maize and men: a critique of the maritime hypothesis of state origins on the coast of Peru. American Anthropologist 83:93-120.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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