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Continuity and Change in Ceremonial Structures at Late Preceramic Asana, Southern Peru

  • Mark Aldenderfer (a1)

A 500-year record of changes and continuities in structures defined as ceremonial has been discovered in the Qhuna phase (5000-4400 B. P.) of Late Preceramic period Asana in the Moquegua drainage of southern Peru. These are the earliest known ceremonial structures in the south-central Andes, and their existence raises new questions about the trajectory of cultural change in the region. In its earliest construction around 4800 B. P., the ceremonial complex appears to be a “dance ground,” similar to the sometimes-enclosed spaces used by ethnographically known mobile foragers for periodic feasts and social exchanges. By 4500 B. P., however, the complex appears to be more formal in its construction, with a clear inside-outside dichotomy of feature placement and presumed activity performance. In this paper, the structural features of the ceremonial complex are described, compared to other, roughly contemporaneous expressions of ceremonial structures in the Andes, and their function interpreted.

Quinientos años de cambios y continuidades de estructuras identificadas como ceremoniales se han descubierto en la fase Qhuna (5000-4400 A. P.) del período Precerámico Tardío en el sitio de Asana en la cuenca del Río Moquegua, sur del Perú. Estas son las estructuras más antiguas que se conocen en los andes sud-centrales, y su existencia estimula una nueva reflexión de la trajectoria del cambio cultural en la región. En su construcción más temprana (4800 A. P.), el complejo ceremonial parece ser un foco festivo, parecido a los espacios utilizados por grupos nomadas etnográficamente conocidos para sus festivales e intercambios sociales. Más tarde (4500 A. P.), el complejo tiene una construcción más formal con una dicotomía clara de las actividades del interior y del exterior de la estructura. En este informe se describen las características estructurales del complejo ceremonial, y se comparan a otras expresiones contemporáneas en los Andes y se interpretan sus funciones.

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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.

M. Aldenderfer 1989a The Archaic Period in the South-Central Andes. Journal of World Prehistory 3:117158.

J. Damp 1984 Architecture of the Early Valdivia Village. American Antiquity 49:573585.

T. Dillehay , P. Netherly , and J. Rossen 1989 Middle Preceramic Public and Residential Sites on the Forested Slope of the Western Andes, Northern Peru. American Antiquity 54:733759.

E. Molina , and A. Little 1981 Geoecology of the Andes: The Natural Science Basis for Research Planning. Mountain Research and Development 1:115144.

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Latin American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 1045-6635
  • EISSN: 2325-5080
  • URL: /core/journals/latin-american-antiquity
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