Research ArticleANTHROPOLOGY

Rain-fed agriculture thrived despite climate degradation in the pre-Hispanic arid Andes

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Science Advances  20 Dec 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 12, e1701740
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701740
  • Fig. 1 Localization of 48 archaeological sites (red dots) identified in the study area.

    Black dots show archaeological croplands identified by field and aerial surveys. Numbers refer to identification numbers in table S1. m.a.s.l., meters above sea level.

  • Fig. 2 Archaeological dwelling sites in the study area.

    (A) General view of Incali (site 8, Fig. 1) with the salt flat of Uyuni in the background (Photo Credit: R.J., CNRS). (B) Circular granary with preserved rooftop at Charali (site 6, Fig. 1) (Photo Credit: P.C., CONICET). (C) Plan of Loma Bajala (site 5, Fig. 1) (red, granary; yellow, one-room house; gray, patio; arrow indicates north). (D). Aerial view of Incali (Photo Credit: Bruno Roux, L’Avion Jaune).

  • Fig. 3 Ancient MiSP.

    (A and B) Views of ancient MiSP at Charali (site 6, Fig. 1), with stone alignments highlighted (Photo Credit: R.J., CNRS). (C) Sketch of archaeological microterraces found on relatively steep slopes (5° to 30°). (D) Sketch of archaeological crop beds (canteros) found on gentle slopes (<5°). Hatched areas in (C) and (D) show cultivated land surfaces, and colored areas show stone alignments.

  • Fig. 4 Landscape organization of archaeological field structures.

    (A) Aerial view of the site of Charali (site 6, Fig. 1). (B) Sketch of the general distribution of archaeological field structures (red lines) over the site (gray lines and areas show today’s stone fences and cultivated areas). (C) Detail of inset (a) showing identified archaeological lineaments (B, broad fields; M, microterraces; R, rocky outcrop; T, sloping terraces).

  • Fig. 5 Regional paleoclimate variability.

    (A) Synthetic diagram showing the climatic variability during the past 1500 years in southern Peru and Bolivia based on the current available data from the Quelccaya ice cap (13°56′S, 70°50′W, 5470 m) (45), Lake Marcacocha (13°13′S, 72°12′W, 3355 m) (44), Lake Titicaca (16°S to 17°S, 69°W, 3804 m) (43), Mount Sajama (18°06′S, 68°53′W, 6542 m) (86), tree rings (seven records: 18°S to 22°S, 66°W to 69°W, 4300 to 4550 m) (47), Atacama Desert (~21°S, 69°W, 1300 m) (87), and the human occupation with the Wari (550–1000 CE), the Tiwanaku (500–1100 CE), the Regional Development Period (1120–1450 CE), and the Inkas (1450–1535 CE), highlighting the time interval 1200–1450 CE (gray area) and the date of two major volcanic eruptions (Samalas, 1257 CE and Quilotoa, 1270 CE) (red bars). (B) Anomalies in austral summer precipitation [December, January, and February (DJF), in millimeters per day] in the study area (green star) after the Samalas and Quilotoa volcanic events, showing a precipitation deficit of ca. 0.08 mm/day in the period 1200–1300 CE relative to the period 1000–1100 CE. Data are from four distinct climate model simulations (see Materials and Methods and table S4), with black circles showing the grid points where at least three simulations agree on the sign of the precipitation anomaly. Associated changes in surface temperature are shown in fig. S7.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/3/12/e1701740/DC1

    section S1. Archaeological human settlements and quinoa storage structures

    section S2. Rain-fed quinoa-fallow system in the Intersalar region

    section S3. Climate variability in the Bolivian altiplano

    fig. S1. Ceramics of the Intersalar style.

    fig. S2. Calibrated age probabilistic histograms of radiocarbon data from different sites mentioned in the text.

    fig. S3. Plans of four residential sites identified in the study area.

    fig. S4. Sketches of the main types of granaries identified in the study area.

    fig. S5. Percent distribution of archaeological croplands in the study area in relation topographical features.

    fig. S6. Plowing a fallow field during the austral summer will refill the soil water reserve for the next crop (Charali community, March 2011) (Photo Credit: P.C., CONICET).

    fig. S7. Anomalies in austral summer temperature (DJF, degrees Celsius) between 1000 and 1300 CE.

    fig. S8. Examples of agricultural lithic instruments (chelas) found on croplands at Jirira Vinto (site 1, Fig. 1).

    fig. S9. The 2-year quinoa crop/fallow cycle and soil moisture dynamics in the Intersalar region.

    fig. S10. Desiccated quinoa seeds found in archaeological storage structures within a cave at Jirira Vinto (site 1, Fig. 1).

    table S1. Site description.

    table S2. Calibrated radiocarbon dates of archaeological samples from sites in the Intersalar region.

    table S3. Quinoa storage capacity of archaeological granaries in the Intersalar area.

    table S4. Last millennium simulations considered from the PMIP3 data set.

    References (88113)

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • section S1. Archaeological human settlements and quinoa storage structures
    • section S2. Rain-fed quinoa-fallow system in the Intersalar region
    • section S3. Climate variability in the Bolivian altiplano
    • fig. S1. Ceramics of the Intersalar style.
    • fig. S2. Calibrated age probabilistic histograms of radiocarbon data from different sites mentioned in the text.
    • fig. S3. Plans of four residential sites identified in the study area.
    • fig. S4. Sketches of the main types of granaries identified in the study area.
    • fig. S5. Percent distribution of archaeological croplands in the study area in relation topographical features.
    • fig. S6. Plowing a fallow field during the austral summer will refill the soil water reserve for the next crop (Charali community, March 2011) (Photo Credit: P.C., CONICET).
    • fig. S7. Anomalies in austral summer temperature (DJF, degrees Celsius) between 1000 and 1300 CE.
    • fig. S8. Examples of agricultural lithic instruments (chelas) found on croplands at Jirira Vinto (site 1, Fig. 1).
    • fig. S9. The 2-year quinoa crop/fallow cycle and soil moisture dynamics in the Intersalar region.
    • fig. S10. Desiccated quinoa seeds found in archaeological storage structures within a cave at Jirira Vinto (site 1, Fig. 1).
    • table S1. Site description.
    • table S2. Calibrated radiocarbon dates of archaeological samples from sites in the Intersalar region.
    • table S3. Quinoa storage capacity of archaeological granaries in the Intersalar area.
    • table S4. Last millennium simulations considered from the PMIP3 data set.
    • References (88–113)

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