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Tamara Bray

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Arqueologia, Ecuador, Shanshipampa
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   aney Publishing Multi-Ethnic Settlement and Interregional Exchange in Pimampiro, EcuadorAuthor(s): Tamara L. BraySource: Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Summer, 2005), pp. 119-141Published by: Maney Publishing Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40024938 . Accessed: 03/04/2014 16:21 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at  . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp  . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.  .  Maney Publishing  is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to  Journal of Field  Archaeology. http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from 192.188.55.3 on Thu, 3 Apr 2014 16:21:29 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  Multi-Ethnic Settlement and Interregional Exchange in Pimampiro, Ecuador Tamara L. Bray Wayne State University Detroit, Michigan This paper reports n reeent archaeological nvestigations t the sites of Shanshipampa nd La Mesa in the Pimampiro district of northern Ecuador, zone rich n archaeological resources bout which relatively ittle is known. Within the context of Andean archaeology, this region s particularly ignificant nsofar as it is described n early historic ccounts s an important enter of interregional rade. The role of trade n the shaping of ethnic identity and the evolution of complex ocieties as received relatively ittle attention n Andean schol- arship. The present tudy expands our understanding f the modes, ontent, and significance of interregional nteraction n the Andes by directing attention to the evidence for long-dis- tance trade, rans-zonal onnections, nd multi-ethnic ettlement n the northern highlands. Introduction Ecuador, like other Andean countries, comprises three basic physiographic zones: coastal plains, highlands, and eastern owlands. While the importance of connections be- tween the coast and highlands has long been recognized, linkages to the tropical forest zone east of the Andes have traditionally been downplayed or ignored (but see Lathrap 1971, 1973a, 1973b). The ethnic groups occupying this region have, at least since Inca times, been considered as geographic isolates and treated as separate from, and out- side of, mainstream Andean history (Renard-Casevitz, Saignes, and Taylor 1988). The archaeological record, however, suggests that such a rigid division between high- land and eastern lowland groups has not always been so pronounced (e.g., Lathrap 1971, 1973a, 1973b; Lyon 1981; Myers 1988; Pickersgill 1969). It seems more likely that the opposition between these two regions has been more conceptual than concrete, with differences being var- iously emphasized or obfuscated by proximate highland and lowland societies at different points in time. Recent investigations in the Pimampiro district of northern Ecuador were designed to explore the nature of relations between highland dwellers and neighboring pop- ulations of the eastern montana (the forested flanks of the Andes known as the Oriente n Ecuador) from a multi-dis- ciplinary perspective, integrating archaeology, ethnohisto- ry, and paleobotanical research. Located near one of a lim- ited number of natural passes through the eastern cordillera, Pimampiro was described in 16th-century sources as a gateway to the Oriente and an important mul- ti-ethnic trade center (Borja 1965 [1591]; Ordonez de Ce- vallos 1960 [1614]). Given this information, the Pimam- piro district seemed an ideal venue for advancing our un- derstanding of the nature of trans-regional relations in the Andes. Scattered ethnohistoric references ndicate that the ties between people of the northern highlands and the Oriente were a complex of political, economic, and ideological ele- ments. Oberem (1974: 347), for example, citing a 16th- century document, notes various instances of interzonal marriage and comments on the political implications of such practice. Borja (1965 [1591]) mentions various modes of tribute and exchange, highlighting the mercan- tile elements of the regional economic system. References to the use of tropical forest paraphernalia n the northern highlands as insignia of status (Caillavet 1983a: 17), and the general respect accorded lowland healers and their medicinal herbs (Oberem 1974: 351), underscore the ide- ological linkages between the two zones. Such observa- tions suggest a degree of mutual dependence between the societies of these regions and underline the importance of encompassing extra-local relations in any attempt to un- derstand the historical trajectory of a given group (e.g., Schortman and Urban 1992; Stein 1999). The Pimampiro district lies at the extreme eastern end of the semi-arid Chota-Mira River valley in northern high- land Ecuador (fig. i). The warm, dry climate of this valley has made it a resource zone of special mportance since Pre- columbian times. During the late Prehispanic period, it was dedicated to the production of coca, cotton, indigo, 119 This content downloaded from 192.188.55.3 on Thu, 3 Apr 2014 16:21:29 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  120 Multi-Ethnic Settlement and Interregional Exchange in Ecuador/Bray Figure 1. Map indicating the general boundaries of the Pimampiro district in northern highland Ecuador. and aji (Capsicum), nd constituted an area of considerable economic interest (Coronel 1991; Landazuri 1990). The Chota-Mira valley historically ormed the boundary between the Caranqui ethnic group of Imbabura Province to the south, and the Pasto, who inhabited the Carchi-Nar- ino region immediately north, their territory extending well into southern Colombia (fig. 2). The Caranqui com- prised several nominally distinct polities, chief among them being the Otavalo, Cayambe, Cochasqui, and Caran- qui proper. Each polity had its own semi-urbanized center associated with a number of smaller, hierarchically-ranked satellite sites. The highly stratified nature of Caranqui soci- ety found material expression in the construction of large truncated pyramidal mounds known as tolas, with sites in this region having anywhere from one to several dozen such mounds (Athens 1980; Bray 2003). The Pasto to the north shared a common ethnic identity but do not appear to have been as highly stratified as the Caranqui. Absrci- nal villages were comprised of numerous low circular dwellings known as bohios Uribe 1977-1978, 1986a). Ac- cording to ethnohistoric information, the level of sociopo- litical organization among the Pasto was not sufficiently This content downloaded from 192.188.55.3 on Thu, 3 Apr 2014 16:21:29 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  Journal of Field Archaeology Vol. 30, 2005 121 Figure . Distribution f ethnic groups n the late Precolumbian period n northern Ecuador. complex to warrant classification as a chiefdom (Larrain 1980; Uribe 1986b). As one of few trans-sierran valleys in Ecuador, the Cho- ta-Mira was an important conduit of e-w interaction. This is evidenced by finds of exotic materials such as obsidian, gold, shell, greenstone axes, and non-local pottery at the few archaeological ites that have been examined in the area (Athens 1980; Berenguer 1984; Bray 1994, 1995a; Echeverria and Uribe 1981; Jaramillo 1968; Rodriguez 1992). Documentary sources also indicate that the Pi- mampiro district was a center of mindald activity (Salomon 1986: 105). The mindaldes were specialized long-distance traders who trafficked n goods of high prestige and unit value, including coca (Salomon 1978). In the Andes, the effects and significance of transzonal contacts and interregional nteraction on the historical tra- jectories of Precolumbian societies are not often discussed. While some studies of Precolumbian societies on the coast have highlighted the importance of long-distance exchange (e.g., Ramirez 1982; Rostworowski 1970, 1975; Shimada 1982, 1985, 1987a), this has generally not been the case for highland studies. Investigations of economic interac- tion in the latter region are more commonly framed in terms of the vertical archipelago model (Dillehay 1979; Pease 1982; Morris 1985; Stanish 1989). As srcinally for- mulated, this model describes an approach o interzonal ar- ticulation that emphasizes economic self-sufficiency and direct access to extra-local resources at the expense of terri- torial contiguity and significant inter- ethnic relations (Murra 1964, 1968, 1972). Within this model, Andean communities attempt to insure direct access to a variety of resources through the deployment of permanent colonies to different, vertically- rrayed ecozones. These colonists would have retained membership in their srcinal commu- nities and maintained close connections through kin oblig- ations and economic transactions. The dominance of this model in the Andes has arguably stymied interest in ex- ploring other forms of regional interaction and change through time (Bray 1995a; Van Buren 1996). Directing our attention to the evidence for long-dis- tance trade and other modes of interzonal articulation n the Andes has the potential to inform upon much more This content downloaded from 192.188.55.3 on Thu, 3 Apr 2014 16:21:29 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
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