Environmental risk and population pressure: conflict over food and resources in the Acari Valley, Peru
archaeological sites, food, Acari Valley, Peru
The South Coast of Peru is a hot and dry region with high sand dunes that is relieved only by a series of small rivers that carry water a few months per year and form valleys made fertile by irrigation. One such valley is Acari, a narrow valley with limited arable land and scarce water. Despite such limitations, recent archaeological research carried out in the Acari valley indicates that during the Early Intermediate Period (circa AD 1 – 550) the inhabitants of this valley successfully managed to cultivate a variety of crops. Perhaps as a response to the harsh environmental conditions, food storage was also developed. This research also indicates that guinea pigs were locally raised and constituted a fundamental source of protein. Nonetheless, scarcity of resources, in particular of arable land, appears to have prompted stress manifested in form of conflict. Walled sites, buffer zones, and evidence for human decapitation strongly indicate that during this particular time period violence prevailed in the Acari Valley.
Presented on November 10–12, 2007 at the 40th Annual Chacmool Conference "Eat, Drink and Be Merry: The Archaeology of Foodways" held at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta.
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