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Identifying Intensification in Prehispanic Andean Agropastoral Systems

Opportunities are available for graduate students interesting in stable isotope analyses of animal and plant materials from Andean archaeological sites in northern Peru and northern Chile. This project is funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant (2019-2024) and students admitted to the M.A. program in anthropology at Trent University are provided with financial support for two years. The larger goals of the project are to understand how ancient Andean societies produced food, with an emphasis on the strategies they used to manage their crops and livestock. Specific projects would focus on specific case studies at particular sites or in particular regions:

  • Identifying fertilization and irrigation practices through isotopic analysis of macrobotanical remains

  • Assessing animal management practices through isotopic analysis of camelid (llama and alpaca) or guinea pig bones

  • Determining the geographic origins of textiles manufactured from camelid fibre

  • Experimental studies examining the impacts of fertilizers on plant stable isotope compositions

Examples of publications on related topics:

  • Szpak P, Chiou KL, 2020. A comparison of nitrogen isotope compositions of charred and desiccated botanical remains from northern Peru. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 29, 527-538. doi:10.1007/s00334-019-00761-2. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Szpak P, Valenzuela D, 2020. Camelid husbandry in the Atacama Desert? A stable isotope study of camelid bone collagen and textiles from the Lluta and Camarones Valleys, northern Chile. PLOS One 15, e0228332. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0228332. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Szpak P, Millaire J-F, Chapdelaine C, White CD, Longstaffe FJ, 2019. An Integrated isotopic study of Early Intermediate Period camelid husbandry in the Santa Valley, Perú. Environmental Archaeology, 25, 279-295. doi:10.1080/14614103.2019.1583302. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Szpak P, Millaire JF, White CD, Donnan CB, Longstaffe FJ, 2018. Stable Isotope Sourcing of Wool from Textiles at Pacatnamú. Archaeometry 60, 612-627. doi:10.1111/arcm.12342. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

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