William Randall Haas
Grant TypeHunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Institutional AffiliationWayne State U.
Grant numberGr. 10374
Approve DateOctober 11, 2022
Project TitleHaas, William (Wayne State U.) "The Andean Ascent: High-Altitude Forager Archaeology in South America"
Over 10,000 years ago, Native American foragers ascended the frigid, oxygen-starved Andes Mountains of South America. Not only did they solve the challenges of one of the world’s most extreme environments, their populations grew and developed agricultural economies and social institutions that would catalyze Andean urbanization and influence global economies. This book draws on over a decade of archaeological field and laboratory research to reveal new insights into the social and economic lives of these innovative highland foragers. Their adaptive process began 14,000 years ago when Paleoindian megafauna hunters arrived in South America and explored the high Andes. Around 11,000 years ago, a subsequent wave of Archaic foragers settled the highlands. Their diets were diverse, and plant foods prevailed. Women and men hunted vicuña and deer with atlatls and stone-tipped darts. Seven thousand years ago, they developed the iconic practice of artificial cranial modification as part of a distinctive social strategy that released demographic stress. By 4000 years ago, they domesticated potatoes, quinoa, alpaca, and llamas. The Andean ascent is a story of how foragers pioneered one of the world’s most challenging montane environments, overcoming climatic and demographic adversity with cultural innovations that would influence Andean urbanization and global economies.