José M Capriles

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pennsylvania State U.

Grant number

Gr. 9778

Approve Date

April 29, 2019

Project Title

Capriles Flores, Jose (Pennsylvania State U.) "Emergent Social Inequality among Terminal Archaic Period (4,500-3,600 BP) Hunter-Gatherers in the Bolivian Eastern Andes"

JOSE M. CAPRILES, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, was awarded funding in April 2019 to aid research on ‘Emergent Social Inequality among Terminal Archaic Period (4,500-3,600 BP) Hunter-Gatherers in the Bolivian Eastern Andes.’ Recent anthropological research has called attention to the significance of inter-generational resource transmission for reproducing social inequality. In the South-Central Andes, the Terminal Archaic Period (4,500-1,600 cal BP) marks a critical transition between egalitarian mobile foraging and increasingly hierarchical sedentary agricultural communities. This project involved collecting primary data to evaluate the degree to which hunter-gatherers were experiencing emerging social inequality in Tarija, a region located and between the Andean highlands and the Chaco lowlands in southern Bolivia. Specifically, researchers excavated ten locations, which contained various formal and informal features including burials that exhibited a wide range of variability in terms of labor investment and demographic parameters. All the burials were directly radiocarbon dated between 3,900 and 3,200 years ago and had carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes suggesting a diet based on animal protein and plants that excluded maize as well as strontium values consistent with reduced mobility. In combination with previously collected data, the end of the Archaic Period in Tarija seems to have featured conditions that incentivized emergent leadership based on embodied and relational wealth, intercommunity violence, and enhanced territoriality. Continuing research in the region will help to further clarify the causal factors behind these patterns.