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The First Settled Villages of the Early Formative Period, circa 2000 to 1300 b.c. The beginning of the Early Formative period is defined as the time when the first sedentary populations living in permanent villages developed in the Titicaca Basin. The previous Late Archaic period was characterized by relatively small, semisedentary populations pursuing an economy based on a mix of hunting, plant collecting, horticulture, fishing, and animal domestication. Mark Aldenderfer (1989, 1998) describes patterns of decreasing mobility, resource intensi fication, and settlement shifts that emerged by the end of the Late Archaic period, prior to the emergence of more complex social organization. The Early Formative societies that developed in this context were characterized by sedentism, specialization, hierarchy, and demographic growth (Aldenderfer 1989: 133). 9 9 Over more than two millennia, the Early Formative cultures of the circum-Titicaca Basin developed successful plant agricultural systems, maintained domesticated animal herds, consistently exploited the lake resources, and established permanent villages. Of course, there is no discrete beginning to the Early Formative period, as there is no specific end to the Archaic. The transition from Late Archaic to Early Formative lifeways was a long process, not an event. James Brown (1985) and Jeanne Arnold (1993) have pointed out that sedentary populations can be maintained by nonagricultural subsistence strategies , at least in North America. Michael Moseley (1975, 1992) has persuasively argued that in the Andes , maritime resources supported complex, sedentary societies in the preceramic periods on the coast. The same appears to be true for the Titicaca region, particularly given the rich resource base provided by C H A P T E R 6 The Origins and Elaboration of Rank in the Early and Middle Formative Periods the lake and rivers that run into the lake. The Early Formative period represents the establishment of village life in the region but does not necessarily imply the existence of fully developed agriculture, pastoralism , and the abandonment of hunting, fishing, and plant collecting. Rather, the process from a predominantly nomadic to a predominantly sedentary way of life evolved over millennia and included a variety of subsistence strategies. In the Titicaca Basin, the shift to sedentism was not necessarily based on agriculture and domesticated animals. On the Pacific coast in the central Andes, sedentism and elaborate monument construction preceded the development of plant food agriculture. In theory, the rich lake edge and freshwater riverine environments should have provided sufficient resource concentration to permit the development of permanent villages, as it did on the Peruvian coast in the late preceramic period. For instance, Aldenderfer (1989) argues that the Late Archaic site of Quelcatani was a residential camp. The population lived in semipermanent settlements with domestic structures and probably maintained domesticated camelids. In other words, we can expect many sites with Late Archaic diagnostics to also have features characteristic of the Early Formative, and vice versa. This period would have been transitional between an Archaic lifeway of predominantly hunting , foraging, and fishing to a more sedentary one with the adoption of agriculture as the principal source of food. We can also hypothesize substantial variation of the economies in the Late Archaic throughout the Titicaca Basin. Lake and river-edge areas appear to have been used more intensively, but the puna areas away from these water sources were sparsely populated . This hypothesis is based on the recent work of Aldenderfer (1998) in the Río Ilave region, as well as on the analysis of settlement data from the JuliPomata region (Stanish et al. 1997). The development of permanent residential strucC H A P T E R 6 1 0 0 tures aggregated in sedentary villages is the defining characteristic of an Early Formative lifeway, but the transition to dependence on agricultural or intensive horticultural, lacustrine, and/or riverine resources was a long and uneven process. Archaeologists stress different characteristics as important in this process. The existence of fully sedentary villages is not so important in and of itself; the cultural concomitants of established village life are more significant. The existence of a sedentary village implies a reliance on stable food sources such as agriculture, or at least intensive horticulture, intensive lake or river exploitation, possible territorial marking, and population levels substantially above that of a mobile hunting and collecting economy. At the end of the Late Archaic, there clearly was a major change in the lifeways of the Titicaca Basin peoples that is related to this sedentism process. As Browman (1984: 119) notes, “Shortly after...


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