The Casma Valley of Peru’s north central coast contains the largest New World structure of its time period---2500 to 200 BC---as well as one of the densest concentrations of early sites. In this detailed and thought-provoking volume, Sheila and Thomas Pozorski date each major early site, assess this important valley’s diet and subsistence changes through time, and begin to reconstruct the development of Casma Valley society.Fifteen sites are surveyed, including Pampa de las Llamas-Moxeke, the earliest planned city in the New World. The Pozorskis then synthesize their own fieldwork and previous work in the Casma Valley to chart its development during the critical time when civilization was emerging. The result: a scenario which is somewhat revolutionary in the context of more traditional views of Andean prehistory.Early Settlement and Subsistence in the Casma Valley, Peru adds substantially to the growing body of evidence that the earliest development of Andean civilization occurred on the coast rather than in the highlands. This volume presents comparative data for students of emerging civilizations worldwide and will be of value not only to Andean and New World archaeologists but also to everyone interested in the emergence of complex societies.
La Consentida explores Early Formative period transitions in residential mobility, subsistence, and social organization at the site of La Consentida in coastal Oaxaca, Mexico. Examining how this site transformed during one of the most fundamental moments of socioeconomic change in the ancient Americas, the book provides a new way of thinking about the social dynamics of Mesoamerican communities of the period.
Guy David Hepp summarizes the results of several seasons of fieldwork and laboratory analysis under the aegis of the La Consentida Archaeological Project, drawing on various forms of evidence—ground stone tools, earthen architecture, faunal remains, human dental pathologies, isotopic indicators, ceramics, and more— to reveal how transitions in settlement, subsistence, and social organization at La Consentida were intimately linked. While Mesoamerica is too diverse for research at a single site to lay to rest ongoing debates about the Early Formative period, evidence from La Consentida should inform those debates because of the site’s unique ecological setting, its relative lack of disturbance by later occupations, and because it represents the only well-documented Early Formative period village in a 300-mile stretch of Mexico’s Pacific coast.
One of the only studies to closely document multiple lines of evidence of the transition toward a sedentary, agricultural society at an individual settlement in Mesoamerica, La Consentida is a key resource for understanding the transition to settled life and social complexity in Mesoamerican societies.
Beginning about A.D. 1250, the Zuni area of New Mexico witnessed a massive population aggregation in which the inhabitants of hundreds of widely dispersed villages relocated to a small number of large, architecturally planned pueblos. Over the next century, twenty-seven of these pueblos were constructed, occupied briefly, and then abandoned. Another dramatic settlement shift occurred about A.D. 1400, when the locus of population moved west to the “Cities of Cibola” discovered by Coronado in 1540.
Keith W. Kintigh demonstrates how changing agricultural strategies and developing mechanisms of social integration contributed to these population shifts. In particular, he argues that occupants of the earliest large pueblos relied on runoff agriculture, but that gradually spring-and river-fed irrigation systems were adopted. Resultant strengthening of the mechanisms of social integration allowed the increased occupational stability of the protohistorical Zuni towns.