Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Destruction and abandonment practices at La Rinconada, Ambato Valley (Catamarca, Argentina)

  • Inés Gordillo (a1) and Bruno Vindrola-Padrós (a1) (a2)

Occupation of the Ambato Valley in north-western Argentina ended abruptly in around AD 1200, with destructive abandonment resulting in burnt and collapsed buildings. Analysis of broken pottery sherds from La Rinconada suggests that this may have been the outcome of a deliberate ‘closing’ activity. Re-fitted vessels were found to be largely complete despite extensive fragmentation; two portions of one vessel were 10m apart with a wall in between. Conjoining fragments of other vessels exhibited contrasting effects of thermal alteration, or were associated with lithic objects that may have been used to destroy them, or appeared to have been deliberately arranged. The evidence is altogether indicative of the intentional destruction and deposition of this material immediately prior to the burning of the site.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence (Email:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

A. Appadurai 1986. Introduction: commodities and the politics of value, in A. Appadurai (ed.) The social life of things: commodities in cultural perspective: 363. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

G. Berthoud & F. Sabelli . 1979. Our obsolete production mentality: the heresy of the communal formation. Current Anthropology 20: 745–60.

A. Blanco-González 2015. Past fragments: from ceramics to social practices in later prehistoric Iberia. Journal of Social Archaeology 15: 342–65.

P. Bourdieu 1977. Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

J. Brück 2006. Fragmentation, personhood and the social construction of technology in Middle and Late Bronze Age Britain. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 16: 297315.

J.E. Byrd & D.D. Owens Jr. 1997. A method for measuring relative abundance of fragmented archaeological ceramics. Journal of Field Archaeology 24: 315–20.

R. Colloredo-Mansfeld 2003. Introduction: matter unbound. Journal of Material Culture 8: 245–54.

T.N. D'Altroy & T.K. Earle . 1985. Staple finance, wealth finance, and storage in the Inka political economy. Current Anthropology 26: 187207.

M. Dantas , G.G. Figueroa & A. Laguens . 2014. Llamas in the cornfield: prehistoric agro-pastoral system in the southern Andes. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 24: 149–65.

D. Garrow 2012. Reply to responses. Archaeological Dialogues 19: 133–44.

D. Hally 1983. Use alteration of pottery vessel surfaces: an important source of evidence for the identification of vessel function. North American Archaeologist 4: 326.

K.W. Kintigh 1984. Measuring archaeological diversity by comparison with simulated assemblages. American Antiquity 49: 4454.

I. Kopytoff 1986. The cultural biography of things: commoditization as process, in A. Appadurai (ed.) The social life of things: commodities in cultural perspective: 6494. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

P. Lemmonier 1986. The study of material culture today: toward an anthropology of technical systems. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 5: 147–86.

G. Lucas 2008. Time and archaeological event. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 18: 5965.

M.B. Marconetto , M.R. Gastaldi , H.B. Lindskoug & A.G. Laguens . 2014. Merging the matrix: stratigraphy, radiocarbon dates, and fire regimens in the Ambato Valley (Catamarca, NW Argentina). Radiocarbon 56: 189207.

M.B. Schiffer 1972. Archaeological context and systemic context. American Antiquity 37: 156–65.

M.B. Schiffer 1983. Toward the identification of formation processes. American Antiquity 48: 675706.

J.M. Skibo 1992. Pottery function: a use-alteration perspective. New York: Springer.

A. Solari , D. Olivera , I. Gordillo , P. Bosch , G. Fetter , L.H. Lara & O. Novelo . 2013. Cooked bones? Method and practice for identifying bones treated at low temperature. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 25: 426–40.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary Materials

Gordillo and Vindrola-Padrós supplementary material
Gordillo and Vindrola-Padrós supplementary material 1

 Unknown (18 KB)
18 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 58 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 203 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 22nd August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.