Browsing by Author "Taboada, Juan"
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ItemAncient use of coca leaves in the Peruvian central highlands(2015) Valdez, Lidio M.; Taboada, Juan; Valdez, J. ErnestoCoca, of the genus Erythroxylum, is a stimulant and painkiller that played key roles within the Inka state. As reported by the early Spanish chroniclers, coca was the most important plant offering during public rituals. Likewise, important landmarks within the Inka domain regularly received offerings of this precious leaf. Its high value is indicated by the fact that not only the living chewed the leaves on a regular basis, but also the dead carried coca leaves in their mouths. We still do not know when coca leaves were first used in the Peruvian central highlands. This uncertainty is largely due to the lack of coca leaves recovered from highland archaeological sites. Several leaves recently found at Convento in the northern part of the Ayacucho Valley are the first direct evidence from an archaeological context that, based on ceramic stylistic grounds, dates to sometime between the end of the Early Intermediate Period (ca. 1–550 ce) and the beginning of the Middle Horizon Period (ca. 550–1100 ce). The botanical identification also indicates that the source of the coca was the Pacific coast. This paper reports this unique finding and discusses its implications. ItemCoca leaves in the context of the central Andean Wari state(2013) Valdez, Lidio M.; Taboada, JuanCoca, of the genus Erythroxylum (family Erythroxylacea) is a stimulant and painkiller that at the time of the Spanish conquest was widely used in the Central Andean region. Despite its undisputed position within the Andean society in general, archaeologically coca remains little investigated, particularly in the Peruvian central highland region. Consequently, it is uncertain, for instance, when coca leaves began being used in this region. This uncertainty is largely due to the difficulties of finding coca leaves at highland archaeological sites. New evidence coming from the northern part of Ayacucho Valley in the Peruvian central highlands which consists of several coca leaves represents the first direct proof for the presence of coca leaves in an archaeological context that, based on ceramic stylistic grounds, dates sometime between the end of the Early Intermediate Period (ca. 1 – 550 CE) and the beginning of the Middle Horizon Period (ca. 550 – 1100 CE). This unprecedented finding demonstrates that as early as the Middle Horizon, therefore several centuries before the rise of the Inka State, coca leaves were already used in the Peruvian central highlands. This paper presents the new evidence and discusses its immediate implications. ItemCoca leaves in the context of the central Andean Wari state(2013) Valdez, Lidio M.; Taboada, JuanThe Middle Horizon (ca. 550 – 1100 CE) was a period during which the Wari State emerged in the Peruvian central highland valley of Ayacucho and expanded beyond its heartland to exercise political and economic control over most of the Central Andes. One of the probable reasons for the expansion of Wari was to establish direct access over the resources of other regions, including the tropical forest region. In addition to the unprecedented finding of the burial of an elite Wari leader at Vilcabamba, east of the Apurimac Valley, archaeological research carried out in the Apurimac Valley has shown that the Wari State successfully colonized the region. In the particular case of Apurimac Valley, it has been suggested that the establishment of Wari settlements in the tropical forest region was in order to access local products, in particular coca leaves. Until recently, only indirect evidence indicated the use of coca leaves by the inhabitants of the Wari State. New evidence coming from a Wari settlement in the highlands, consisting in the fortuitous and unprecedented finding of coca leaves in association with Wari material culture, confirms that the Wari State produced and consumed coca leaves and that this product was likely transported from the Apurimac Valley.