Guest Talk: Human-Animal Interactions in Northwestern Argentina with a Particular Focus on Camelids

  • Datum: 01.12.2022
  • Uhrzeit: 13:00 - 14:00
  • Vortragende(r): Dr. Enrique Moreno
  • Ort: Hybrid
  • Raum: Villa V14 and Zoom
  • Gastgeber: Department of Archaeology
  • Kontakt:
Guest Talk: Human-Animal Interactions in Northwestern Argentina with a Particular Focus on Camelids
This talk will review the historical changes in the relationship between human populations and South American camelids in Northwest Argentina (NWA), with special emphasis on transformations after the Spanish conquest, through two study cases.

The first case study explores human interactions with vicuñas (Vicugna vicugna). Several investigations have shown the importance of this species to human societies from at least 12,000 years ago, with clear evidence for diverse, specialized hunting approaches. I present archaeological evidence for hunting landscapes identified at Salar de Antofalla, Catamarca, Argentina. However, following the Spanish conquest, there is a clear shift in human interaction with this species, eventually leading to contemporary threats of extinction.

The second case study centres on the Sierra de El Alto-Ancasti, Catamarca, Argentina and explores the differences between archaeological evidence for dispersed rural South American camelid pastoralism and more recent settlement patterns focused on dispersed villages with specialism in different livestock relationships. This economic shift seems to appear since the incorporation into the Spanish colonial regime in the 16th century, with landscapes being emptied of human populations to be put to use for large-scale cattle ranching.

Building from these two case studies, I discuss the changing socio-historical contexts of human-camelid relationships in this part of the Neotropics. In particular I seek to probe the role of political and economic changes, with a notable focus on colonialism, in reimagining Argentinian landscapes and pastoral possibilities. I conclude by arguing that these historical perspectives are critical if we are to understand the threats facing camelid populations and traditional approaches to animal management in the region in the 21st century.

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