Changing animal utilization patterns and their implications

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Changing animal utilization patterns and their implications southwest Ecuador (6500 B.C.-A.D. 1400)
Byrd, Kathleen Mary, 1949-
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viii, 155 leaves : ill., map ; 28cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Agriculture ( jstor )
Animals ( jstor )
Bones ( jstor )
Fish ( jstor )
Fishing ( jstor )
Food ( jstor )
Hunting ( jstor )
Peninsulas ( jstor )
Species ( jstor )
Vertebrates ( jstor )
Anthropology thesis Ph. D ( lcsh )
Antiquities -- Ecuador ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Anthropology -- UF ( lcsh )
Excavations (Archaeology) -- Ecuador ( lcsh )
Indians of South America -- Antiquities -- Ecuador ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: leaves 149-154.
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Statement of Responsibility:
by Kathleen Mary Byrd.

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SOUTIlWEST ECUADOR (6500 B.C.-A.D. 1-:00)







In the course of this study numerous individuals have provided

guidance in the identification, analysis, and interpretation of the

material considered here. I would especially like to thank Elizabeth

Wing, my major professor, for always being available for consultation

and for reading several drafts of this report; laxine Margolis, Gerald

Milanich, William Maples, and David Webb, my committee members, for

reading ny dissertation and offering many helpful suggestions; Clifford

Evans, Donald Lathrap, Ronald Liptak, Gene NM-Dougle, Presley Norton,

Allison Paulsen, and Karen Stothert for making faunal collections from

coastal Ecudor available for analysis; Donald Lathrap and Jorge Mlarcos

for making it possible for me to visit sites in the area and collect

fishes; 'alter Auffenberg, Pierce Brodkorb, Carter Gilbert, and Fred

Thompson for aiding in the identification of some of The faunal remains

and suggesting useful readings; and my fellow students and the staff of

the Florida State Museum for their suggestions and encouragement.


ACi OW EDG ENTS . . . . . . . . . . . ii

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . .. . . . . v

LIST OF FIGURES . . . . . . . . . . . .. . vii

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viil


I. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . .. .. . . 1


III. IETHODOLOGY . . . . . . . . . . . 1S


The Santa Elena Peninsula. . .. . . . . . 27
Climatic Change and Prehistoric Occupation of the
Santa Elena Peninsula . . . . . . . .. 31
Su imary . . . . . . . . .. . . 33

V. F'Ui.AL /Il.LYSIS AiD RECOliSTrUCTIOI . . . . . . 39

Pre-Valdivia . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Valdiv.ia . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Post-Valdivia . . . . . . . . .. . . 72

VI. DISCUSSION . . . . . . . .. . . . 81

Protein Scarcity and Protein Acquisition . . . . 8]
Changes in Protein Exploitation and Subsistence
Orientation . . . . . . . . . ... 83
Hunting and Fishing Methods . . . . . . .. 91
Human Behavioral Patterns . . . . . . . 93
Internreal Comparison . . . . . . . . .. 95
Sum: ary . . . ...... .. . . .. .... . 97

AFPPi.II : A ... .. . .. . . . .. ... .. . . 99
B . . . . . . . .. . . . . 132
C . . . . . . . .. .. ... . . . . 141
D ............... .............. 143
E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
F . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146


IIBLIOGJiJl'ilY . . 149

BIOG\RP;IICAI SKETCH . . . . . . 155









. . . . . . . . . . . 86





















JIII . .





























W. T.

* .

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* . .

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* . .



































Abstract of Dissertation Presented to t:le Graduace Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Fequircimnts for the Degree of Doctor of Philooopliy



Kathleen Iary Byrd

August 1976

Chairperson: Elizabeth S. Using
llajor Department: Anthropology

The purpose of this study is to determine subsistence practices

and related huri;n behavioral patterns for Valdivia Phase (3000 B.C.-

1500 B.C.) in:ihbitants of southwest Ecuador. This goal is accomplished

by an analysis of vertebrate, faunal remains and the application of

cultural, ecological research methods. A total of fifteen samples is

considered, including three pre-Valdivia, eight Valdivia, and four post-

Valdivia since. (6500 B.C.-A.D. 1400). For most of these sites faunal

lists with minimum numbers of individuals, nuriber of bone fragir.ents and

bone heights are included. In addition, biomi, s, edible meat, calories,

and protein estimates are computed for the principal sites. Based on

these analyses, questions concerning protein scarcity and protein acqui-

sition, changes in protein exploitation and subsistence orientation,

hunting aiid fishing methods, and human behavioral patterns for the

varcojs groups aru considered.



1Ihatever is one's theoretical viewpoint, few. anthronologiscs today

would argue against a particular stage in cultural development in

which one or more cultural groups. shifted from a hunting-gathering

subsistence system to a sedentary one baseJ on agriculture. This

change in subsistence emphasis is an important shift because it laid

the foundations for later cultural evolution. With the domestication

of plants and an increasing reliance on cultigens, people become

more sedentary, populations increased, more complex: social, political,

and economic systems developed and in some areas urban centers and

civilizations arose. In the flew Uorld this initial shift from a

hunting-gathering econo:;,y to a sedentary agricultural one is referred

to as the Formative Stage.

The e:-act definition of the Formative Stage and chose traits that

are most diagnostic of it are the subjects of some debate. Gordon 2..

l1illey and Philip Phillips (195S:1.44) stress the presence of maize and/

or manioc agriculture an-' "... the successful socioeconomic integration

of such an agriculture into well-established sedentary village life" in

their definition of the Formative. James A. Ford indicates several

po.-sible'.implifications in llilley and Phillip's definition and

offers a definition based more on certain artifact types. Ford (1969:5)

views the Formative

... as the 3000 years (or less in some regions)
during which the elements of ceramics, ground
stone tools, handmade figurines, and manioc and
maize agriculture were being diffused and welded
in the region extending from Peru to the eastern
United States.

1lhichever position is held, the salient points in each appear to be

the incorporation of agriculture and sedentism anJ their related cultural

characteristics into a new way of life. This new form sets the stage

for subsequent cultural evolution.

One of the earliest manifestations of the Formative Stage is the

Valdivia Phase of coastal Ecuador. This phase has received considerable

study in the last 25 years (Bischof and Gamboa 1972; Bushnell 1951;

Estrada 1956 and 1961; Hill 1966; Lanning 1976a; Lathrap and Ilarcos 1975;

rlegger.-, Evans, and Estrada 1965; Norton 1971; Paulsen 1971; Porras 1973;

Stothert 1974; Zvalnlos ;ieneendez 1970; Zevallos Menendez and Holm 3960).

For the most part, these studies have addressed themselves to the estab-

lishe2nt of the ceramic chronologies and they provide basic site

information as well as development of hypotheses concerning the origins

of the Formative of this region. Recently there has been a growing

interest in obtaining evidence of agriculture from these siLts. This line

of research has met with some success (Zevallos lienandez 1970) even

though nost plant remains--and thus direct evidence of agriculture--are

not wel] preserved in sites of this region.

.'ith few exceptions (Sar-ma 1974; Ileggers, Evans, and Estrada 1965)

little attention has been paid to the non-agricultural segment of

subsistence. The relatively high survival rate of animal bone provides

ample opportunities to study at least this aspect of the quest for food.

Detailed analysis of food bone refuse can provide information not only

on past dietary patterns, but also on the technology used to obtain the

a-iirals. Mihen bone analysis is coupled with human, ecological, research

methods, additional information on subsistence related, human behavioral

patterns may be revealed. This study attempts to arrive at a better

understanding of some Formative patterns through the analysis of the

vertebrate remains associated with eight Early ForTaitive (Valdivia)

sites in Guayas Province, Ecuador. To understand subsistence patterns

prior to the Early Formative, the vertebrate remains from three pre-

Veldivia sites are., analyzed. Past-Valdivia developments are indicated

by the remains from four additional sites (Fig. 1).

To achieve the aim of this study, i.e. to analyze the subsistence

practices and related human behavioral patterns of the Formative Valdivia

culture of the area, a modification of Julian II. Ste:rard's (1955)

cultural ecological procedures is applied to the archaeological material.

The natural environme-nt of the area and technology used to exploit the

food resources are examined.

Environments are not static, but are subject to change. Some

cnvironnen;al areas are relatively stable while others, due to their

location at the edge of two different and unstable climatic zones, are

particularly susceptible to environmental fluctuation. In all areas

changes in the climatic conditions can profoundly affect their animal

populations. Therefore, before any real understanding of resource use

within an area can be achieved, some attempt to reconstruct previous

envLronmental conditions is necessary.

Two lines of evidence can be used in attempting to deter.:ine the

technology employed to obtain the animals. First, the artifactual

remains themselves can be considered. Secondly, the animals fund in the

midden can he analyzed and, by using ecological and ethnological studies,

Fig. !


FJ Pre-Voldivia Site
0 Valdivia Site

/' Post-Valdivia Site

r 1- 20 km
0 10 20 km


the '.uniing and fishing methods effective in catching these animals

suggested. Coupling the environmental reconstruction with an analysis

of subsistence-related technology indicates which of the available

rcsourcze were ui.sed and ho'.i the people might have obtained them.

Having reconstructed the enviornment and the subsistence technology

of the culture, the second step of Steward's procedure can be attempted.

In this step, the human behavioral patterns connected with particular

technologies that are effective in catching certain animals are

examined. One method of viewing this is by utilizing game theory.

Game theory studies on ethnographic populations (Davenport 1971;

Gould 1972) have revealed people's attempt to maximize returns while

minimizing the time, the energy, and the risk involved in obtaining them.

On any given day the subsistence strategies adopted take into account

the :mount of time arid energy that will be expended in attempting to

achieve a certain economic goal. For e:-ample, will it take more time

and energy to track, kill, butcher, and carry back to camp a large

mammal or will more of the desired food be obtained and less time and

energy expended by spending the day fishing? Is the risk of not

obtaining food greater if the person hunts or if he or she fishes? Will

more proteins and calories be obtained by hunting or by fishing? The

abundance, ease of capture and nutritional and energy values of the

various resources will determine which strategies or combination of

strategies are most effective in obtaining the needed foods. Rodents

might be abundant and by using traps they may be easy to capture, but

they are snail in size and provide little meat. Deer are less abundant,

harder -o capture, but for each successful hunt a greater volume of meat

is obtained. Fishl might be very abundant and easy to capture, but are

relatively small, and when compared with mammals, have a lo'. caloric and

pr':,t,:in content. The strategy chosen by a people on a particular day

takes these factors into consideration.

Subsistence strategies are closely related to the hunan behavior

patterns of a people. Some procurement : tecchniques require relatively

large numbers of people, while others are more successful if carried out

individually. For example, in the South American tropical forest where

species densities are lot:, the maximum terrestrial hunting returns for

a population, as a whole, occur if the hunters, individually or in groups

of two or three, exploit several different areas. Using this method the

hunters maximize the possibilities that at least one of the areas hunted

will provide some game.

In areas with large gregarious herds, as in the North American

Creat Plains, communal hunting provided maximum returns for the time and

energy expended. In this region individual hunters could kill only a

relatively few animals before the herd scattered. If, on the other

hand, a coma.unal drive and jump is practiced, a larger number of animals

can be obtained. The same principle is applicable to fishing. letting

and poisoning of waters, in which large densities of fishes occur, result

in greater returns if a number of people cooperate in the operation. Hook

and line fishing, because of the relatively lo:' densities of carnivorous

fishes, provides greater return if the fishermen distribute themselves

individually or in small groups over a wider area.

The third step in Steward's procedure involves determining the

extent to which subsistence-related, human behavioral patterns effect

other aspects of culture. There are m.ny methods of studying this

relationship. One technique of reconstructing past cultural patterns is

through ethnographic analogy. Ideally, by comparing archaeologically

reconstructed exploitative patterns with a series of well research

ethnographic samples, it would be possible to suggest certain subsistence-

related, prehistoric cultural patterns. Unfortunately, good ecologically-

oriented ethnographic studies of the subsistence patterns of a large

series of groups, relying on different subsistence bases, have yet to be

undertaken. Until this is done, detailed correlations between certain

susbistence patterns and other aspects of a culture cannot be attempted.

Nevertheless, some generalizations can be made. A comparison of two

groups of people--one which relies primarily on aquatic fish resources,

and the other which depends on terrestrial forms for their animal

protein, suggests some of these general correlations.

Yolanda Ilurphy and Robert F. 11urphy (1974) have worked among tw:o

groups of ilundurucu Indians in Brazil, one savanna dwellers and the

other riverbank inhabitants. Both groups rely primarily on slash and

burn agriculture for their caloric and carbohydrate needs. ;Although

the savanna group fish, most of their animal food comes from hunting.

Both individual andr comm;nnal hunting are practiced. Yields obtained by

individual hunters vary and when a large animal is caught the ilundurucu

share it with other families in the village. One of the central focuses

of the savanna Nundurucu is the men's house and all its social roles,

duties, and functions. murphy and Murphy (1974:223) believe that

"... the need for cooperation in hunting utilizes general human fears is

shaping the institution of the man's house."

The OLTler MI.r'idurucu group moved to the ri.'ers primarily to exploit

the rubber trees. liere they rely on aquatic protein resources,

principally fishes. These Mlundurucu do not share animal protein.

The very nature of fishinlg--the in.lividualitv, of
the activity, tile ease of the catch, the time
available and necessary, the size of tle fisl
itself--all militate against collectivization of
the catch. And, hunting, does little to promote
broader social cohesion (Murphy and Murphy 1974.

If the presence of institutions like mens' houses are causally

related to hunting conditions, i.e. low species density, high individual

risk, and large animal size and rapid spoilage, then, all other factors

being equal, groups living under these same conditions would be expected

to have similar functionally related institutions. In addition, certain

radisLribution channels would be anticipated. On the other hand, in

groups experiencing none of these pressures, i.e. fishing groups, an

institution of the men's house type would not be expected to occur, nor

would the same form of redistribution channels appear.

Elaborate and time consuming procurement or food production methods

also r.sggest certain social elements. Specialization requires an

exchange of materials in which the specialists are able to trade their

gcods for those that they are not able to obtain directly through their

i;n efforts. This leads to the developr.Ient of exchange systems and

Lthirr social and cultural ramifications.

In recent years, anthropologists have become concerned with various

points that Ste;iard did not treat, points that are revalent to the

present study (Vayda and Rappaport 1968). Particularly important among

these is the ecological dimension of hur.ian populations. ;iuman beings

do not li.'ve separated from all other living things, but are an active

component in the ecosystem and, as such, their very presence alters it.

People both effect and are affected by changes in the ecology of an

area. In subsistence-related Lerms, climatic changes can radically Lodi-

fy tile rypes and abundances of fod availability. A ricultural crops

thLit are gro.::t on rarginally productive lands are particularly sujcepjibl..

to linus l S freezes, diru.ghts, or floods. But hunting, fishing, and

a.tricultral tec.liCques can alter an area. The plot cl.earin. and

peric-dic. shifts ini gardens practiced by slash and burn agriculturclists

contribute co the modification of the T-.viroimrnt. Tne :.echnizu-as

involved in slash end b-rn agriculture result in increasing forent-edge

conditions and therefore, species that prefer this type of habitat. At

the same tije,;e the area available fo- species that favor deep, undi.trubed

forests is decre-ised. Fish poiseni'.g 'OE pDc.!sI and acti'itiei such as

fire drives are other e:-:xmples of ecoloFical m.od!ifications by human

Sove l atiorns.

Recenc human ecological studie.; (lHarris 1965 Rappaport 196,-) have

sup- .orted Ste,'ird's basic assumption, i,'. tha;: there exists a causal

r;eaiio.;nhip betueer, basic suLibsitance sti-rategies and other aspects of

c-lture. A: successful subsistence str-ite-y is mandatory of a people are

t. survive. The pnrticuiar set. of stranegies adopted apiear to be

cauaally related to other a-pcects of a culituCe.

The remainder of this study applies these cultural, ecological

,tl:i.ods of analysis to the vertebra;e-related, subsiste-ce strategies

of the Valdivi'. Cultul.:, and Early For-aative manifestation of coastal

Ucuadcr. J'h- study attcm~tts to de-rive infonli ,ticn on certain animal-

rclated, sbsiU:-ter.e: techniqoues and Lhe corresponding human behavioral

pattei:.-s and to determiinc hoe' and why these techniques and patterns

c;iacgJd Lhrough timre.


In any complete study of people and their relationship to their

environment, simply listing the resources utilized does not provide an

adequate description of the importance of th12 various foods in the diet.

ifiether a people relied primarily on cooperative net fishing or on

solitary hunting or some combination of these strategies, the relative

importance of the animals and of the methods adopted to obtain them

greatly effects subsistence-related, cultural i.anifestations. Therefo.:e,

in studying subsistence systems some idea of the relative quantity and

quality of the various foods in the diet of the people, and of the

strategies employed to acquire these foods, is needed. This necessitates

consideration of both nutritional requirements and caloric need,.

Without the right (in the nutritional sense) kinds of foods, a

people will cease to function and die. ilu-nans have learned, probably

through trial and error, that the combinations of certain foods and ihe

adoption of certain methods of obtaining such enabled them to be healthy

and to reproduce. Th2 foods eaten by a people and the methods or

strategies adopted to obtain these foods differ greatly from area to

area, but to remain healthy all populations must fulfill their basic

nutritional needs.

Uith respect to human growth and metabolism, food serves two basic

purposes. It provides the structural material used in growth and main-

tenance of the body and it furnishes the energy that is needed in

metabolism. The first of these is referred to as the quality of the

food, i.e. the foods' chemical ingredients; the second as the quantity

of the food, i.e. its energy content (Sebrell and Haggerty 1967).

For proper growth and development certain elements and compounds

must be available to an organism from its food supply. Humans need the

organic compounds of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and vitamins and

certain inorgainc minerals.

Carbohydrates, composed of the elements carbon, hydrogen, and

oxygen, vary in coriplexity from simple three-carbon sugars to complex :

polymers (Pike and Brown 1967). Carbohydrates are divided into simple

compounds, the monosaccharides and disaccharides of the sugars, and

complex compounds, the polysaccharides of cellulose and starches (Arlin

1972). Since the human digestive system is only able to digest a limited

amount of cellulose and most is passed out of the body largely unchanged,

cellulose is largely unimportant in human nutrition. The polysaccharide

plant starches provide the principal energy source for most human

populations. So important, in fact, that peoples are often categorized

according to their starch food, e.g. rice growers or maize horticultur-

alists (Arlin 1972).

Lipids (or fats) are made up primarily of carbon and hydrogen.

The triglycerides, compounds of glycerol and three fatty acids, are

important in terms of nutrition. It is in these forms that energy is

stored by animals and, to a lesser extent by plants (Arlin 1972).

Certain lipids furnish an energy source for cells, others function as

structural compounds, and still others as hormones (Pike and Brown 1967).

Proteins are composed of the basic organic elements carbon,

hydrogen, and oxygen, but in addition also contain nitrogen and sulfur.

The basic structural units of proteins are the amino acids. The amino

acids contain an amino group (-llii) and an acid group and have side

chains which are responsible for Lthe various chemical properties of the

acids (Arlin 1972). Although there are only about 20 amino acids, the

combination of amino acids present in any particular compound, its

position in the molecule, and the spatial arrangement of the molecules,

result in thousands of different kinds of proteins (Pike and Bro;;n 1967).

All foods contain some protein, but both the amount present and the

proportion of the various amino acids vary from one protein source to

another. In human nutrition, protein foods are required in order for

the body to obtain the amino acids necessary for its own protein

synthesis ;which, in turn, is needed for growJth and maintenance. Only

when all the necessary amino acids are available will the synthesis of

a particular protein occur. The lac: of one of che needed amrLino acids

vill result in the termination of the construction of that particular

protein. The human body can manufacture most of the amino acids if

enough nitrogen is present, but since the only available source of

nitrogen is protein, protein is therefore a necessary food constituent.

In addition, there are eight amino acids, the essential amino acids,

that cannot be synthesized. These must be supplied in the diet if

normal protein manufacture is to occur (Arlin 1972).

The other two classes of nutrients necessary for humans are vitamins

and minerals. The human body requires vitamins in trace amounts for

health and growth. Vitamins are all organic chemicals, but are

ot:heruise unrelated. Some vitamins cannot be synthesized in adequate

amounts by cells and must be ingested. Minerals, inorganic chemicals,

are also essential in small quantities for normal body development

(Arlin 1972). Of the 16 essential mineral elements, calcium, phosphor's,

sodium, iron and potassium are required in greatest quantities.

In addition to furnishing the building material for the body, food

also provides the energy that is needed in metabolism. This energy

requirement is measured in kilogrumn calories (Kcals. or Cals.) and is

defined as the amount of heat required to elevate the temperature of one

kilogram of water one degree centigrade. lihen oxidized within the cell,

one gram of protein provides four calories; one gram of carbohydrates four

calories; and one gram of fat nine calories.

In general, plants manufacture carbohydrates, store excess energy

as starch, and rely on cellulose for structure. Animals store energy as

fat, snthasize very little carbohydrates and often depend on a cal-

careous skeleton for support. They also require large amounts of protein

in the form of muscles for locomotion (Arlin 1972). These muscles

consist primarily of protein and fat with a high proportion of water.

Heat also functions as a source of vitamins and minerals.

With the exceptions of mill: and liver, only plants provide carbo-

hydraLes. Animal sources of foods are usually high in fats since

animals store their energy in this form. The actual amounts of fat

vary according to the organism and its condition. Poultry, for example,

provides less fat by weight than beef. Host species of fish are also

relatively low in fats. Certain invertebrates, e.g. oysters, crabs,

shrimp, clams, and lobster, are essentially fat-free. Fats occur in sig-

nificant ainouunts in plant foods only in seeds, nuts and fruits (Arlin

1972). Protein occurs in all foods whatever their origins. Some protein

foods, however, have a higher quality or biological value based on the

efficiency in which their proteins are digested and absorbed, and the

proportions in which the essential amino acids are present. Although

animal protein is both more abundant per unit weight (e.g. per 100

grams) and has a higher quality or biological value than almost all

plan12 protein, 301 of the world's protein comes from cereal grains and

/i40 from other plant sources. Since cereal grains are structured to provide

a complete food source for the sprouting plants, they contain starch,

protein, vitamins and minerals needed for growth of the plant. The primary

purpose of tubers and roots, on the other hand, is to store energy and

they do this in their starchy underground structures. This is an

important distinction when comparing the relative value of these two

food sources (e.g. wheat is about 12, protein, rice 8.7 and the potatoes

and nanioc contain only 2% or less (Arlin 1972).

Uith respect to protein, nutritional needs can be met in three ways.

First, a person can consume large amounts of food. This is the method

adopted by many rice-eating peoples. By consuming up to one pound of

raw rice per day a person can obtain 30 to 35 grams of protein.

In addition, rice is fairly adequate vith respect to amino acids.

Maize, on the other hand, is so deficient in sone essential amino acids

that no matter what volume is consumed it alone can never furnish the

protein necessary for hunan growth and maintenance. Most types of maize

Jack the vitamin niacin and the amino acids lysine and tryptophan (Arlin


Another method for obtaining an adequate amount of protein and

amino acids consists of adding a small amount of animal protein to the

diet. A small amount of meat or fish added to rice, beans or corn will

supplement the cereal protein to such a degree that "... it will

adequately sustain an individual of small stature" (Arlin 1972:242).

The third method that can be used to meet minimum. protein require-

ments involves the use of complementary vegetable proteins. For example,

the amino acids in cereals and legumes supplement each other and together

provide the essential amino acids needed. The presence of large pop-

ulations in Latin America, who live principally on a corn-bean diet

illustrates this third method.

Although three alternative methods of obtaining adequate proteins

are theoretically possible, not all of these methods are possible

alternatives for a given people living in a particular setting. Environ-

mental or ecological factors, combined with the level of technological

developments, favor the utilization of certain methods and preclude

others. In most cases, the most efficient way to fulfill nutritional

needs is through a combination of carbohydrate-rich plant foods and

protein-rich animal sources with both animals and certain plant parts

providing the fats needed.

IIct all the nutritional and caloric parameters of a prehistoric

diet car, be quantified. Some dimensions are more amenable to this

type of analysis than others. iiethods are no,. being developed to

ascertain the relative importance of plant and animal foods in the diet

of prehistoric populations (Crown 1973). The analysis of trace elements

in human bone provide the data base for this type of study. The techniques

used in trace elemental analysis are still in the process of being refined

and, unfortunately, could not be applied to the material from the

sites considered in this study.

Data from the animal remains from archaeological middens are more

readily available for a quantitative approach. The presumed nutritional

value of these remains can be viewed in two principal ways: the degree

to which they furnish the necessary calories or energy units for human

populations, and the degree to which they provide the required proteins.

An energetic or caloric view of an ecosystem furnishes the oppor-

tunity to see the system as a wholc. Since energy functions as a common

denominator for all trophic levels, a caloric approach to an ecosystem

provides an opportunity to view the net gains and losses for each element

of the entire system and is ideal for studying all parameters of the food

web. This method has a wide range of application, including politics,

economics, and religion (Odum 1971). Energy, however, is difficult to

measure. Even for a numerically mrall segment of the system--human pop-

ulations-many difficulties arise in attempLing to obtain adequate caloric

measuremencs. In addition, for a complete ecosystemic study, information

on all trophic levels is needed. This approach is not suitable when

remains from only one part of the food jweb is available. It is

important, however, not to lose sight of this energetic aspect of

subsistence and its ramifications.

Protein functions as one of the basic nutrients and as such can

act as a limiting factor in population growth and culture development

(Carneiro 1961; Gross 1975). Protein can be measured and is amenable to

study based oni zooarchaeological data. It, like the caloric approach,

possesses some inherent drawbacks. ilost studies on the importance of

protein, have been carried out on United State populations under optimum

conditions. The requirements of prehistoric peoples conceivably could

have been different. Also, protein quality can deteriorate uith cooking,

but the rate is not constant. Considerable error could be introduced

if the zooarchaeological remains are viewed as raw, baked, or boiled

meat. The protein approach in analysing arcliaeological food bone does


furnish daca on the relative importance of various foods utilized to

pr-ovi e this basic nutrient.

Inhen calories and protein values of animals are considered together,

certain differences appear. In some cases certain animals \:ill provide

pr-oportionately more protein, but fe:jer calories, than another group of

animals. Ihen vietving archaeological food rei.ains quantitatively, it

should be remembered that calories and protein serve two, very different,

functions in the body. Both are required.


Since protein is an essential nutritional requirement for growth

and development, its consumption and the methods used to obtain it are

an important human activity. Therefore, a study of protein foods

utilized provides significant data about a culture. To study this

aspect of Formative cultural manifestations in southwestern Ecuador, bone

refuse from eight sites of the Valdivia Phase is considered (Fig. 1).

Four of these sites are located on the Santa Elena Peninsula (OGSE-174,

OGSE-62, OGSE-62C, OGSE-42). Two other sites are situated farther north

along the Valdivia River, one at its mouth (Valdivia) and the other

about 15km upstream (Loma Alta). The seventh site, which because of

its two cultural divisions is considered as two sites, is east of the

Santa Elena Peninsula and five k:. upstream from Chanduy on the Rio

Verde (Real Alto). All sites are located in Cuayas Province, Ecuador.

These eight sites form the data base for the following reconstruction.

Seven additional sites are also treated here. These sites provide

a longer time frame and are included to indicate changing exploitation

patterns from pre-Valdivia through post-Valdivia times. Three of these

sites are pre-Valdivia (OGSE-80, OGSE-3S, OGSE-63) and four post-Valdivia

(OGSE-460, OGSE-46U, OGSE-41E, OGC11-20). Three are located on the

Santa Elena Peninsula, with the fourth being eastward along the Rio


The faunal bone samples fror most of these sites are small and,

unless the field archaeologists indicated some anomaly, all the material

from a site is treated as one unit. In ti.o cases the excavations

revealed heterogeneous distributions of artifactual materials. For this

reason the Loma Alta sample is treated as two units, JII and JIII.

The presence of wall-trenches, pits, and burials at Real Alto necessitated

the analysis of this site in a number of discrete units.

Certain types of error are inherent in any method of analysis used.

Although many of these errors can be minimized by careful processing of

the materials, some sources of error remain. A cognizance of these

possible sources of inaccuracy is necessary to avoid misinterpretation.

In zooarcliaeological analysis, the error sources can be divided into

four types: initial deposition practices, post-depositional and pre-

excavational factors, excavation techniques, and analytical inaccuracies.

The way a people butchered their meat, cooked and served the food

and disposed of the refuse all effect the bone remains found in the site.

The practice of butchering in specialized areas or butchering large

animals at the kill site and returning to camp only parts of the carcass,

bias the sample. The location of the test pits in butchering areas

can result in a very different faunal reconstruction than the analysis of

other refuse materials. Food preparation techniques can also affect the

bone remains. Long periods of roasting or boiling of entire carcasses

or joints of great can weaken the structure of the organic constituents

of the bone and decrease its survival time (Chaplin 1971). Also dietary

practices such as consuming small animals whole, e.g. sardines or an-

chovies, or the grinding of Lhe bone into meal may eliminate material

from analysis. The disposal of the bone after cons-umption can result

in a further uneven distribution of the material. Large bones may have

been eliminated from the refuse areas by their use as raw materials in

t;'e manufacture of utilitarian, ritual, or decorative objects.

Secondly, even after deposition, the bones are still susceptible

to destruction through the activity of rodents and carnivores and by

weathering factors and soil conditions. The o.'erall effect of these

various factors and conditions vary from modifying the faunal composition

of the sample radically to causing very little change in the midden bones.

The third source of error, a controllable one, concerns the recovery

techniques. All too often excavators keep only certain bones, or, if

they use a screen, use one with so large a mesh size that it results

in the loss of many otherwise recoverable bones. These small, seemingly

insignificant bones often supply very detailed climatic information,

and through analysis of habit and habitat of the species represented,

may provide informative dati on procurement patterns and practices.

Finally, once back in the lab the level of identification depends

on the comparative material available for consultation. Especially in

areas here the taxonomy of the animals concerned has not been fully

refined, this level of analysis can result in inaccurate identification.

W\ichout adequate comparative materials many otherwise identifiable bones

can only be assigned to relatively high taxons, such as orders or

families. This is unfortunate, since identification to species level

for animals whose habits and habitats are :ell known can provide

detailed information on various aspects of a people's e:.ploitative


In addition to identification, the analytical methods used can

result in erroneous reconstructions. Especially susceptible to error

are the methods used to determine the relative numbers and importance

of the species represented in the sample. Three methods are widely used

in the determination of the relative numbers of species and their

importance in the diet (ChlaplirL 1971); the minimum number of individuals

(I. il) method, the fragment method, and the method. All three

methods contain some inherent problems, but, for a number of reasons,

the IllI method is used here (Appendix A). This method simply tabulates

for each tocal sample the most often recurring bone of a species, i.e.

four, distal, right humerii of deer represent four deer. Nevertheless,

the number of fragments and the wJeights represented by the various

species in all the samples, except Valdivia, are tabulated in the

Appendi::. These are included to provide the data needed for those

wishing to use a different method. The bone from the Valdivia

site is mineralized and for this reason \jas not weighed.

Once the -U1I is determined, the biomass, the total live weight

represented by each species, genus, family or order, is calculated for

each of the seven principal sites (Appendix: B). Samples from the other

sites were either too small or the nature of the samples such that

Liomass estincmtes would be misleading.

Several methods hr.-e been developed to estimate the size of animals

represented by the archaeological remains- (Irhite 1953; Reed 1963; Casteel

1974; S3:!ith 1975; Wing 1976a). Each method has its limitations (Uing

1976a), but because Casteel's method appears to be the most accurate for

the typ-s of animals considered here it was used. Casteel's method is

based on the relationship between skeletal weight or certain bone

measure;:.e-nts of an animal to the animal's live weight. By weighing the

i.lelo:0:ons of a series of animals of known live weight or measuring a

certain -.s:.letal element, it became possible to generate least square

regression curves. These curves utilize the formula

log y = m(log x) +b

where: y=live weight
m=slope of the line
x:skeletal weight
b=y-intercept of the log-
log plot

and indicate the reliability or the correlation coefficient (r) of the


To generate the formulae employed .n this study, live weights and

hseletal weights from specimens at the Florida State Museun were used.

Least square regression curves were computed using skeletal weight and

live t:eights for mammals, birds, turtles, catfish, and perciform fishes

and on cervical centrun width on the perciform fishes and the largest

centrun :.idth on the sharks and snakes. These formulas are listed in

Appendi:: C. It should be noted that the number of specimens used in the

calculations of these curves in some cases are very small. For this

reason considerable error could be introduced into the live WeigIit


Because of the variability in the types of zooarchaeological remains

it wa.- necessary to use different methods to arrive at live weight

estimates for different animals. The first method, the one that is

probably most accurate, uses the centrum width measurement and the

relevnnt formula (in Appendix C) to estimate live weight for the animal


The second method is somewhat more complex due to the fact that

all the comparative specimens do not have accurate live weight data.

In order to arrive at the live weight estimates a series of comparative

skeletons of the species to be esLimated were weighed. The live weights

for these comparative skeletons ~:ere calculated using the formiulae

(Appendix C). The archaeological bone was then compared wiith the com-

parative skeletal series to dete-rmine which specimen it most resembled

in size. The live weight estimate, computed for the comparative specimen

closest to the archaeological bone in size, was used as an estimate for

hlhe archaeological bone as well. In some cases the archaeological bone

fell, in size, halfway between the two comparative specimens. In these

cases the average, estimated, live eight of the two specimens was used

for the estimated live weight of the archaeological bone.

A third r.ethod for estimating live weight was used in certain

cases where a series of comparative specimens were not available. In

these instances a proportion was set up relating some particular

measurement to skeletal weight for a comparative specimen and the

archaeological bciie. By this method the skeletal weight of the archaeological

material could be estimated. This calculated, skeletal w iicht was

then useCd in the relevant skeletal eight to live weight formula and

the live weight estimated.

In a very few instances nc mreasurabl. elements were present in the

archaeological sample and another method for estimating live weight had

to be used. This fourth method used the bone weight of the archaeological

material to represent the skeletal weight of the animal and employed the

formula for that class of animal. These estimates resulted in very low

estimates and are probably only slightly better than no estimates at all.

In several cases none of the above methods could be used. For

these animals, an estimate of average live weight from biological

stuides, wis used. above methods were enploye.'d to determine the live weights for

the siLes discussed in this study. Another method for estimating live

:eight was alro attempted. This last method used tie archaeological bone

s:eight as skeletal weight and calculated live weight using tie relevant

formulae. This was done to determine if the live weights estimated by

this means differed significantly fiom the more complicated and tine

consuming method used in this study. The results of this comparison are

included in Table 1. As can be seen, when the live weight are calculated

by these two methods very different estimates are obtained. The different

values resulting from the two methods and magnitude of their inaccuracies

should be remembered when considering the estimates in Chapter 5. For

this study the first method is used for the principal calculations.

The live weight or biomass estimates provide the basis for sub-

sequent calculations. For seven sites where biomass calculations were

taken, bar graphs illustrate the relative importance in terms of IE1I and

biomass of the various species from the sites. Edible meat weights were

also conouted from the bionass figures. Data on file at the Florida

State museum m were utilized for these percentage of edible neat estimates.

Th-e entire animals, except the bones, was considered edible for all the

species with the exception of mammals. The weight of skin, in addition

to the bone of the marinals, is assumed to be inedible and, as such, was

subtracted from the calculated live weight to determine the edible portion.

Percentngea used in these edible meat calculations appear in Appendix D.

Having, in this manner, determined the edible meat weight, the calories

and protein values of the foods were computed based on the figures

published by -htt. and Merrill (1975) and Leung (1961) (Appendi:.: E).

When vie'.ing the resulting charts and graphs certain points should

be considered. The number of the individu3as (-D'!) of each species

in-.icate the abundances of that species. Large animals nay provide

considerable' food, but unless portions are distributed among members of


Method I (used in this study)

Maiiunals Fishes
Calc. Calc.
live ut. live ut.

OGSE-SO 52494 61 33813 39
OGSE-63 129055 95 6530 5
OGSE-46D 8324 15 47005 85

Method II (live eight calc. from bone ut.)

I amma s Fishes
bone Calc. bone Calc.
__t. live wt.t. wt. live ut. ,







Formulas used in Method II
Log (live /t.) = 1.0133 (log bone w:t.)
+ 1.2049
Log (live Ut.) = 0.7775 (log bone -..t.)
+ 1.6717

the community or some type of preservation is attempted, the neat not

consumed will spoil. Smaller animals often supply a more reliable flow

of food than the occasional large kill. Diomass indicates, in ove-all

terms, the relative importance of a part Tular specie? in the diet.

\ie:-ing minimum numbers of individual and biorrass estimates together,

provides a more balanced picture of tha day-to-day e::ploitation of

animal protein foods.

Live weight or biomnass estimates do not necessarily indicate the

real value of a food source. Certain animals have a relatively high

biomass figure, but actually contain little edible meat, e. g. turtles.

'he edible meat weight, although balanced by the fact that it introduces

yet another estimate, is still a better indication of the actual food

consuLine. Assuming the estimates are accurate and that all the

potentially edible parts were actually eaten, nutritional compilations,

based on edible meat ;eights, suggest ho; efficient a particular food

was in fulfilling basic protein and caloric requirements. A close

consideration of the sizes of the animals, their feeding habits, and

the habitats tiry occupy, provide information on exploitation patterns

and procurement techniques.

The methods of identification anj quantified described above

furnish the bases for subsistence reconstruction of the sites considered



lluman populations do not live in a vacuum and, as many researchers

have pointed out, in order to arrive at an adequate understanding of a

people's culture it is necessary to view a society in its ecological

setting (Vayda and Rappaport 1968). This is particularly important if

the research centers around the causal relationships or interrelation-

ships between subsistence activities and the other aspects of culture.

Without an appreciation of the resource availabilities, densities, and

ecological patterns, subsistence strategies may appear incomprehensible.

In ethnological studies an analysis of the area, with respect to resource

availabilities and densities, seasonal abundances, productivity, and the

nutritional value of the various foods, can provide the needed informa-

tion to investigate the subsistence patterns. In archaeological

research the problem is not as easily resolved. In some instances data

exist which indicate that in the past the area of concern exhibited a

different faunal and, probably, floral composition than is present today.

The Santa Elena Peninsula is one such example.

The Santa Elena Peninsula

Today the Santa Llena Peninsula area is characterized by semiarid

steppes with the extreme wesLern part of the peninsula being an arid

desert (Tretartha 1962; Sheppard 1930). Further north and east, tropical

wet and dry savannas occur (Trewartha .1962). The vegetation is classi-

fied as ::erophvtic (Acosta-Solis 1970: Sverlson 1946). Annual grasses

thinly cover the sandy, soil of the area and small groves of d:arf trees

and rounded shrubs are present along the arro'os (Svenson 1946). The

average temperature at Ancon, on the peninsula, is 23.90C With a high

in March of 26.9C and a low in August of 21.4"C (Acosta-Solis 1970).

The average rainfall is 325 mr., i;ith 97': of the precipitation occurring

from January through April with March a particularly wet mornth (Acosta-

Solis 1970). The other months are virtually. rainless. These combinations

of conditions result in a cold, rainless, foggy season (May through

December) and a w arm, rainy season (January through April).

The relative positions of the equatorial counter-current and the

Peruvian, or IHumbolt, current appear responsible for these seasonal

conditions. The currents and their related winds also account for the

estL to east change from colder, drier coastal climates to the warmer,

x:etter area inland.

The PeCLr.'ian current originates in the South Pacific and flous

north along the Chilean and Peruvian coasts. The i.main current veers

west and aw-ay from the contingent at about 5S latitude, although one

branch e::tends northward almost to thE. equator (Tre'.wacrthn 1962; Schott

1932). Tne. current experiences an offshore movement which is

corpensated by up-.-elling of colder waters s from a greater depth (Trewartha

1962). This cold upuelled water appears to be one of the factors

responsible for the arid conditions, the relatively low air temperature,

and the fog or "girua" of the coast (Treuortha 1962).

The northern eaiiatorial counter-current and the smalll E Nino

cicrrr.t are "... genuinely tropical in origin and have a r,uch low.'er

salt content and much higher temperature... than those froi the south'

(Trc;.:arthia 196'2:24). This northern current extends in diminishing force


to 2S latitude, but generally heads west near the equator. Along the

Santa Elena Peninsula, its main force is felt from January through April

and brings with it the warmer temperatures, increasing rainfall and

storms of the rainy season (Acosta-Solis 1970; Sclott 1932).

Periodically the equatorial counter-current extends southward as

far as Callan, Peru, dislocating the cooler Peruvian current. This

results in torrential rains and massive flooding and erosion in the

normally desert coastal Peru area (Murphy 1926). These rare occurrences

seem to be due to the displacement of the "... equatorial convergence

zones, together with its disturbances .well to the south of its usual

position to the north of the equator" (Treuartha 1962:32). These

periodic shifts in currents appear also to have been important factors

during prehistoric times.

Evidence of Climatic Change

Although the climatic history of South America is known in broad

terms, information on more restricted locales is not always as readily

available. In certain areas, however, information on past climatic

conditions can be obtained. Reconstruction of the Recent climatic

conditions for the Santa Elena Peninsula and the ecological settings

of the area is possible, based on studies of an ocean core sample

(Hough 1953) and archaeological research (Lanning 1967).

Akkaraju V. N. Sarnma (1974) has attempted such a reconstruction.

He baser, his analysis on the relative percentage of "wet" or pluvial

indications, i.e. mollusks who inhabit mangrove habitats which require

alluvium from active rivers to grow, to the percentage of intertidal

species which he believes '... were used for foodstuffs more frequently

when the mangrove mollusks were absent" (Sarma 1974:129). lie further

correlates his findings with paleoccological evidence from other areas

of South Amaer:ica. He concludes

Therefore, by analyzing the distribution of
pluvial indicators, as opposed to dry-habitat
indicators in shell-midden contends, the broad
outlines of the climatic records \'ere obtained.
These pluvial periods seem to have occurred during
the following periods: Vegas (6500-5000 B.C.);
Valdivia (2650-1800 B.C. and 1700-1600 B.C.);
Engoroy Guangala (1850 B.C. (350? B.C.) A.D. 50)...
When all the breaks in the seriations of the Penin-
sula are compared with climatic evidences, it is
strongly suggested that periods when the Peninsula
showed no archaeological records at all :ere
periods of aridity. The reason seems to be that
the availability of water was a critical factor
and during arid phases people migrated to better
and inure hospitable regions (Sarma 1974:129-130).

Sarma assumes that the relative amounts of shells in the sites reflect

their abundance in the area. Although this might have been the case,

Sarma's reconstruction fails to take into account possible changing

resource utilization patterns or food taboos.

Allison C. Paulsen uses Sar ca's climatic shift model to explain

obvious gaps in the ceramic chronology and changes in the Santa Elena

Peninsula settlement pattern during the period from 500 B.C. to contact

(Paulsen 1971). Although Sarma's and Pauls2n's data appear mutually

supportive, a nore detailed review of an ocean core sample and zoo-

archaeological analysis discussed in this study suggests a somewhat

different model of climatic change.

The reconstruction represented here includes information gained

from an ocean core sample analyzed by Jack L. Hough (1953). Tihe core

sample was taken at 8056.2' latitude and 29005.2'W longitude, an area

roughly due ve;st of Chir.ibote, Peru. This core contained material dating

back. to 9)0,000 years ago, but of inr.erest here is the segment dating

from about 11,000 to the presen,-. An.-lysis of this sample showed the

presence of globigerina ooze, which according to !hough (1953) indicates

warmer waters than the area e::hibits today. In addition, there are

medium, dark brown, strata characteristic of conditions not much

different than those at present and a dark brown zone composed of

clays which were deposited during colder times. The core signifies wIrmer

periods at about 7000 to 5000 years ngo (5000 to 3000 B.C.) and during

two shorter inter-als, one at around 1900 years ago (A.D. 50) and the

other at 100 (A.D. 350). These zones of oo:-e indicate that the northern

tropical currents shifted radically southward at least as far as 9S

latitude with a corresponding dislocation of the Peruvian current. The

Santa Elena Peninsula then assumed a rrore tropical configuration due to

the south.'ard movement of the equatorial currents during these times.

Two areas of dark brown strata, suggesting colder conditions, arc

present in the segment of the core of interest here. One colder cycle

appears at about 3200 years ago (1250 B.C.) and another 2800 years ago

(850 B.C.). These periods represent a north:-ard shift in the position

of the convergence of the two currents. Ifnether this shift extended

far enough north to directly effect the Santa Elena Peninsula is

unkno-rn, but if it did, a colder and dryer climate would be expected.

-Uhen the core sample is correlated with animal habitat information and

human subsistence and settlement data the following reconstruction

results (Fig. 2).

Climatic Change and Prehistoric Occupation
of the Santa Elena Peninsula

6500 B.C.-5000 ;.C. Vegas Occupation

The earliest fatinal remains considered in this study were left by

the people defined in the Vegas Comple:. This preceranic group exploited

Figure 2



A.D. 1000-1400

A.D. 800-11000

A.D. 600

A.D. 50

550 B,C.-A.D. 50

850-550 B.C.

1000-E50 B.C.

1600-1000 B.C.

3000-1600 B.C.

5000-3000 B.C.

6500-5000 B.C.




w. arm









tropical forest

savnna il

tropical forest






tropical forest




Guangala (coast)


Engoro:y Guangala




Achallan and Valdivia





the -aingroves and coastal waters and also the savannas and forests of

the area as the faunal remains from sites of this period telsify. As

Sarma (1974) points out, the presence of mangrove-specific mollusks

indicates a moister environments during Vegas time than today. Uater must

have flowed nearly year round to provide the alluvium needed for the

growth of the mangrove swamps (lest 1956).

Date from the core sample suggest a relative cool climate during

this period. Although cool, the area was warmer and wetter than it is

today. Mangrove forests extended along the coast and savannas probably

covered the inland areas. The river valleys and other areas might have

supported some forest growth.

5000 B.C.-3000 I.C. Uninhabited

Although an extensive survey was conducted on the Santa Elena Pen-

in;sula (Lanning 1967), no evidence of occupation of the locale had bzen

found during this period. Sarma (1974) believes that this abandonment

of the peninsula was due to increasingly arid conditions. Hough's (1953)

ocean core sample, however, suggests that this period was a time of

increasing warmth, probably resulting from a southward shift of the

equatorial counter-current during this period. If this were the case,

the Santa Elena Peninsula would have experienced increased rainfall

instead of arid conditions and probably would have resembled parts of the

present humid tropical forest of Columbia.

Studies of human subsistence in tropical rain forests suggest that

for foragers and horticult.'ralists the quest for meat (i.e. protein) is

of primary concern (Carneiro 1961; Gross 1975; Lathrap 1973; Holmberg

1969). In the tropical rain forests, species densities are low and,

with the exception of a few terrestrial animals, most inhabit the high

forest canopy and are, therefore:, lird to obtain. Only along major

rivers, rich in aquatic protein resources, did large concentrations of

people occur (Meggers 1971). On the interfluvial areas and along rivers

with low nutrienit levels only small population aggregates were supported.

Gross (1975) has suggested that this is due to the very loi. carrying

capacity of tlese areas with respect to protein sources. Due to this,

many agriculturally productive, but protein-poor areas, experience lo:

population densities. The Vegas people, faced with the encroachment of

the tropical forest, presumably also experienced the pressures of protein


Presented wiLh this problem, the Vegas people had three alterna-

tives: (1) they could leave the area; (2) th-y could try to get along on

decreasing amounts of protein by radically reducing their numbers and

extending their ran:e; or, (3) they could move to the rivers and shores

to attempt to exploit the aquatic protein sources there. The rivers of

the vcstern -Andean coast support relatively few, riverine, fish species

(Eigennann 1921). The coastal area experiences a greater range and

abundance of fishes or sea food, but the Vegas groups did not appear to

have a technology adequate to exploit these marine resources to their

fullesc extent. They seem to have adopted the first alternative and

left the area.

3000 D.C.-1600 B.C. Achallan and Valdivia Occuoation

Betw:cen 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C. the Santa Elena Peninsula w:as once

again inhabited. Early members of this Tligration brought with them the

Achallan Cultural Complex (Stothert 197'.). Another uave of people,

entering the area at Llih same time oi. a little later than the Ach.illans,

was the Valdivians. This latter group is reputed to have introduced

agriculture into the general area (Lathrap 1975). These new people

exploited many of the same habitats that the Vegas groups had found

productive. Both tli faunal rains and the ocean core sample clharacter-

ize a climnatic shiift back to the mangrove wooded coast and probably tile

inland savannas and forest of the Vegas period.

1600 B.C.-1000 B.C. Uninhabited

Based on the lack of archaeological evidence, this period is

believed to represent another time of abandonment of the Santa Elena

Peninsula (Sarma 1974). The ocean core indicates nuch colder waters

around 1250 D.C., presumably resulting from the northward shift of the

Peruvian current. The movement of this cold southern current into the

peninsula area could have brought about colder, drier conditions. The

increasing aridity rendered agricultural and hunting subsistence methods

increasingly inefficient, and evidently lead to the abandonr-ent of the


1003 B.C.-850 B.C. Machalilla Occupation

Sarma (1974:117) suggests that the Hachalilla "... occupation of

the peninsula took place in an arid time and was brief." .nen correlated

with the core sample this cultural manifestation does fall betuilen two,

short, cold periods giving some support to Sarna's position. It should

he noted, however, that the area was sufficiently moist to support

mangroves (Sarma 1974).

850 B.C.-550 B.C. Uninhabited

Sarma interprets no break in occupation during this tine. The

core sample, ho.,ver, reflects another cold period aro'.nd 850 B.C.,

t.'lic'h as Fprobarbly of approximately the same intensity as the 1230 B.C.

episode. 'ihe Santa Elena Peninsula was abandoned during the former dry

period, and, although not conclusive in itself, a gap in Sarma' radio-

carbon dates support this as a possible third period of abandornment.

Paulson al:,o notes a gap of around 200 years in the ceramic occupation

of tle Santa Elena Peninsula Letween the Mac.halilla and En3oroy times,

but she dates this break at 1100 B.C.-900 B.L. (Paulsen 1971).

550 E.C.-A.D. 800 Engoroy and Guangala Occupations

Both Sarma (1974) and Paulsen (1971) see a continuous occupation

of the peninsula during this 1350 year span. Again during this period

mangrove species are found in the middens. The presence of a fox

(Ousicyon cf. sechurae) from a ridden of the early part of this span

(E.ugoroy) suggests that dry savannas or semi-deserts could have existed

inlanJ. Information on the terrestrial vertebrates of the later Guangala

period is not available. The only site analyzed from this time period

contained no terrestrial forms of food value.

For this general time range Hough's core sample indicates both a

coal reri.d formerly correlated on the Santa Elena Peninsula with

suvvannas and a 'a.riier span presumably similar to, but of shorter duration

than the 5000 B.C.-3000 B.C. episode. This warmer period would have

occurred around A.D. 100. This should have resulted in a return of

forest conditions. Neither Sarma nor Paulsen note any human displace-

ment. at this stage. Paulsen does indicate a move of people during

Guangla P-riod VI times. At A.D. 600 this resulted in the abandonment

of the inland sites located near man-made catch basins and the movement

of tlhe populations to thl, shore areas (Paulsen 1971).

'As indicated in the Pacific core sai-.ple, increasingly farmerr

conditions '.pre felt again around A.D. 800. Possibly the encroaching

hu-.iid tropical forest, which wouldl d be experienced ii1 the more nortlherly

Santa Elena Peninsula area earlier than A.D. 800, could have resulted,

as in the case of other tropical forest aILe;s, in more coimetition over

the increasingly scarse protein foods. This pressure miuht explain the

initial riovement of the Guangala people from the no-. protein-poor basin

areas to the r.ore protein-rich shore. This nay also account for the

ultimate Guangala abandonment of the peninsula.

A.D, 800-A.D. 1000 Uninhabited

Contrary to Sarma's reconstruction, 1Hough's analysis of the Pacific

core sample indicates that in this area. the equatorial counter-current

had again shifted south during this period, bringing :.ith it a return

of, moist conditions. Tropical forest vegetation preswuiably once

raorc covered the Santa Elena Peninsula and during this period the people appear to have abandoned the peninsula.

A.D. 1I00-A.D. 1400 Libcrtad Occupation

During this time period the Santa Elena Peninsula again supported

a human population, this time members of the Libert-d Culture. Although

cooler than the proceeding 200 years, the areas was still moist enough to

support mangrove stands. The only vertebrate, zooarchaeological col-

lection available contained no terrestrial species that could provide

cli.iatic indications. Based on the evidence of a ureceeding moist

climate nd the subsequent semii-arid and arid conditions ex:tant today,

presumably the Santa 'lcnl Peninsula was passing through a transitional

sava.'na stage.

S u mmary V

As Iloush's (1953) core sample indicates, the Santa Elena Penin-

sula %arS apparentlyy subjected to periods of high aridity resulting in,- cotditons 'ind to cpi-odes of ir.ceasing i.armth anJ moisture

lea'.ina to the development of humid, tropical forests. Th:z-

evidence that both climatic c::tremnas generally resulted in the

ob,-ndonrjent of the area. Jitliout substantial change in the t'_chnoiogical

e:ploit.atiun base and the related modification in certain cultu-al

institutioLns, the various peoples were unable. to adequately utilize the

area'; available resources.

In aJdition to the radical climate changes described, the

Sance hL .ena Pe'ninLsula, during its 7500 years of .sporadic human settlement,

undoubtedly e:spe-'ienced both seasonal and, at irrct-ular yerly inter .al:.,

minor climatic fluctuations as it does today. These would result from

relntivaly slight shifts in tlir po:;itiucns of itie ocean currents. The

overall effect of these minor episudes on the prAhistoric peoples need

not. have been great.

Although the Santa Elena Peninsula furnishes the main focus for the

reconstruction above, the focus of interest in this study encompasses a

soIme-..hat larger region. Areas a little further north would be affected

slightly earlier by any soutlharJ movement of the currents and late by

the northward displacement. Inland areas, both to the north and east,

:o.uid he slightly less influenced by either shifts, a result of their

co.itior.s relative to the currents and coastal winds.


Thei previous chapters presented the theoretical frarme'.-orl and

methodology for this study. This section concerns the identification

and analysis of the faunal material from the various sites. It is an

attempt to arrive at an understanding of past subsistence patterns and

exploitaLion techniques. The following chapter suLiaarizes these findings

for the cultural phases and identifies the subsistence-related, human

behavioral patterns practiced by the various populations.

For ease of presentaCion, the archaeological sites are divided

into three main groups, pre-Valdivia, Valdivia, and post-Valdivia. The

'Vldivia sectio;l is further divided into coastal and inland sites. For

each of the groups considered in this study, some general remarks on

th-. cultures as a whole, and particularly on other subsistence aspects

of the people, are included.

Each site is then considered. Appendix A contains the detailed

inFo;rm-tion on species present and their ri I, their number of tragmen::s,

and their bone weights. Appendix B tabulates the biomass, edible ieat,

calories and proccins estimated for certain of the sites. The text of

this chapter provides summary observations on the species present and

their relative ir,-;ortance in fulfilling the people's nutritional needs.

Thi:3S sugg,'st- tlih value of the various vertebrate resources in the diet

of the people. No::t, the technology used to obtain Lhe food resources

are e:;iamined. hiere available, artifactual evidence, i.e. projectile

pFoints, fishhookls, etc., is considered, but the discussion of exploitat-

tion techniques largely depends on the habits and habitats of the

princional species present. Information on the relative importance of the

various .ninal. and on their habits and !habitat preferenrcs provide the

basis for observation of possible subsistence-related, 'human behavioral



llaterials from three sites on the Santa Elena Peninsula provide the

data for the pre-Valdivia group. T-o of these sites exhibit Vegas

affiliations while one has been assigned to the newly defined Achallan

Complex (Stotlhect 1974).

Vegas Complex

The prececraric, Vegas Complec:. represents some of the earliest

archaeological material yet discovered on the Santa Elana Peninsula.

Dated at be ;ueen 6500 B.C. and 5000 3.C., this cultural manifestation

consists primarily of shell riddens located along the western section of

the peninsula (Stothart 1974). Excavators have uncovered several types

of stone tools fraro Vegas period middens including side- and end-scrapers,

flake knives, gravers, denticulates and spokeshaves (Willey 1971).

Heav.%- ducy choppers, grindstones, and hammerstones also have baen found

(Scothere t974). No bifaces or stone projectile points have as yet

been uncovered.

In his sumr-nry of the \'egas Complex, Gordon R.. \illey states that

... the shoreline sites are shell middens which
offer our only direct evidence of marine subsistence-
and LInnLng suggests that the former midden dwellers
might have followed a seasonal round of winter

shellfishing at the beach and summer plant gathering
and fishing along the streams (Uilley 1971:262).

As is seen belo-., this does not appear to be entirely the case. From

the faunal sample from the two Vegas sites analyzed, both sea turtle and

marine fishes :.:e; identified in considerable number's. Although these

samples provide no evidence to either support or refute seasonal occu-

pation of the Vegas sites, a seasonal Fhift in subsistence emphasis is

cot.aon for manj, largely Iunting and gathering peoples. It should be

noted, however, that today and presumably for some time in the past, the

western slopes of the Andes and the coastal strip have been characterized

by a relatively impoverished, freshwater, fish fauna (Eigenmann 1921).

AIL' certaii climatic factors characteristic of the area cause p-.riodic

desiccation of the Santa Elena Peninsula. This results in the destruction

of the meager, freshwater, fish fauna. It is interesting to note that,

with the exception of two, fresh.iater catfish, no fre3hwater fonrs were

found in any of the middens considered in this study. Although this

could s.I;rply reflect cultural selection of marine forms, it might

indicate tlh exceptionally lo densities of freshwater fish populations

and, therefore, little or no advantage in fishing t.he freshwater streams.

OGRE 2-80

The cemairns from OGSE-SO represent the largest, pre-Valdivia, bone

sample available for analysis. It is, therefore, particularly important.

OGSE-SD is located about 3.5 km from the sea and is a shell midden site

with a Vogas occupation overlaid by a shallo:.- Valdivia deposit. Three

different types of burials ere found in the midden. Kare- Stothert,

the excavator of the site, believed two of these were of Vegas affiliation.

The third she identified as possibly an intrusive "'aldivian burial type.

Faunal remains. This Vegas ridden contained the bones of a wide

variety of vertebrates, including humans. The human remains slho' no

in!dicarions of cannibalism. The human bones crre. sc-atcered in the midden, a

pactern ch!aracterisitic of food refuse, but it is ransoned that, since

che midcden functioned as a burial area, these human bones could '.cll

represent burials that were dislodged by later internents. For these reasons,

the human bones are not viewed as food remains and have been deleted from

consideration. The only other evidence of the use of vertebrates for

other than or in .addition to food purposes was the presence and location

of a large number of fox teeth (Stothert 1974). The teeth were included

in a burial as grave goods. Other vertebrate remains found at the sit.e-

presumably represent Vegas food items.

In terms of numbers of individuals, rodents are the most abundant

ri:nmmal collected for food. This large number of rodent remains is

surprising due to the nearly total lack of these animals in other midden

samples considered in this study. The rodents from OSSE-SO are a small,

rat-like animal and, although numerous contributed relatively litLle

i'.eat to the aboriginal diet if they were in fact used as food and not

merely incidental to the site.

The fox remains constituted both more individuals and more meat

than the rodents, but not all the remains of the fox can be assumed to

be food refuse. Stothert, while excavating the Vegas type III burials

nio;:ed tlihee, conical, piles of fox teeth distributed around one human

skeleton. Analysis o[ fox teeth from the total CGSE-80 sample and the

calculaticn of the number of individuals (;.UI) they represent

indicates that the excavated portion of this site contained the remains

from at least 27 fox:es. 'Then the nI is calculated on skeletal parts,

other than teeth, at lea3t four individuals are represented. The !GII of

fouLr undoubtedly represents a more reliable estimate of the importance

of fc:.: as a food source at this site. For this reason subsequent cal-

culations of the dietary inportcnce of tile fo:; is based on a 1GII of four.

Although less numerous than either rodents or foxes, the deer

provided by, f3r more edible meat (/1't) than an,' other vertebrate source.

Thie size of the deer bones arc rather small and are probably from the

relatively small, brocket deer (Maza3-.a). Other n-~Lals found in the

midden that are both less numerous and presumably of less nutritional

importance include rabbit, weasel, and an unidentified fox-like mamiial.

These animals functioned as additional meat sources for the Vegas

inh bitb L ant .

Although na:rmals represented tle most important vertebrate food

(c. 59" of the edible meat), fish also contributed considerable meat to

the diet (40?). Catfish and drur.i were particularly abundant, although

the less common shark, snook, jack, and tuna actually supplied more meat

providing more proteins and calories. Additional fish sources were ray,

snJ'ap etr, grouper, and mullet.

The Vegas material contained several] other vertebrates including

fro,. snakEe, sea turtle, an-1 parrot. These remains represent a minor

food component of the diet. Figure 3 suimnarizes the IOII, biomass, edible

ime 2t, calories, and protein for this site.

Reconstructed huntigc and fishing untteris. Although there exists

little artifactual evidence of stone or bone hunting and/or fishing

equipmen-lt, somn ob-ecrv' nations on procurement techniques can be made using

the principal faunal reinains themselves. The Vegas people apparently

huI-itcd fox for two principal reasons, for food and for the teeth that ::ere

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inter-red ithl one of the burials at the site. This suggests some type

or specialized hunting or at least the retention of the teeth of this

animal. The em-phasis on fox: hunting becomes particularly apparent when

tlie OCSE-30 remains are compared with those Froi.i other sites where fo:.

bones are uncommon or absent.

No direct evidence exists to indicate lhoiw the Vegas people

obtained either these foxes or the single deer fo-ind at the site. Several

possible methods could have been effective in capturing these animals.

These methods include the use of so-m type of projectiles or traps of

cither the snare or death fall types.

The rodents are basically nocturnal animals and forage from the

late afternoon to early, morni.n-3. This time span generally represents a

period of low hunting activity by the human predators. The rodents are

also of relatively small size (about 80 grams live weight), and, as such,

direct hunting methods, e.g. single stalking of the animals, uould result

in little return for the energy expended. Trapping would probably

represent the most productive method for obtaining these small, nocturnal

animals. They might have been attracted to the rubbish around the camp

and trapped there.

Most of the fishes found in the midden are indiscriminate carni-

vores and readily take a baited hook. This method could have been

utilized to catch them. The mullet, a fish that cannot be easily caught

with a baited hook, must have been ta:e-n by another method, possible by

spearing or hand-catching or, as the .southern United States blacks do,

by wrapping filamentous algae around hookls (Wing 1976b). Although some

of the fishes are fairly large, about 9500 grams, nost are smaller,

under 700 grams, with the majority in the 100 to 200 grains range (Fig. 4).

lo evidence, such as large numbers of herds of terrestrial animals or

schooling fish species, which night incjcnte that the people practiced

cooperative hunt ing and/or fishing was found in the sanole. In fact,

the fish- remains suggest that cooperative fishing ?:os not practice..

Fisherman working singly or in small groups probably were the most

efficient way of obtaining the fishes represented ini tih ldilden.


The shell midden OCSE-38 is the other Vegas Complex site consLdered

in this study. Like OGSE-80, this site is located on the Santa Elena

Peninsu-la. it is situated, however, nearer to the shoreline. Originally

it w:as expected that this site could demonstrate either close similarities

with OGSEI-30, indicating a general subsistence exploitation pattern

despiLte slight differences in ecological setting for V.'as sites, or a

different resource foc'i sugge;-tive of a modiEication of subsistence

base to take advantage of the more readily available resources. UnfortunatCly,

the suall size of ti-h OGSE-33 s.anple makes it impossible to test either

hy1pothes is.

Faunal remains. The siall sample from OGSE-33 does indicate that

these Vegas people utilized nmany of the sarne resources as the CGSE-SO

group including fox and rodent and the marine forms, catfish, jack,

mullet, and sea Lurcle. This site did include the pufEer, a fish absent

fron tlhe other Vegas' midden. Due to the extremely sm-all size of this

sample no biomass, edible meat weigh:, calories or protein estimates

were attempted for this site. It would seem, however, that terrestrial

forms or the sea turtle were probably the most important food sources.

.,'Cil:llan Complex

Thir: Acha;lla:. represents a recently defined cultural complc;:.

Stother: believes, based on her world at OCSE-63, that the Achallan

"... sbo:jed some technological impoverishment" (Stotlert 1974:14) when

co.Fpared to the Vegas group, but had added rather crude ceramics to

their cultural inventory. To date only one ;ite, OGSE-63, has been

assigned to this comple:-. Its assignation is based on detailed lithic

analysis (Stothert 1974) and it has been carbon dated at around 2700 .. C.

Stothert believes this date too recent and suggests the middle of the

4th millennium B.C. as more accurate.


This site is located along the Rio Achallan on the Santa Elena

Peninsula. Stothert suggests that originally the site consisted of a

ring of small middens containing shell.

As in the case of OGSE-33, the zooacchaeological sample from this

site is small. Nevertheless, since it represents the only material from

this period, and could be viewed as intermediate between Vegas and Valdivia,

biomass, edible meat, calories, and protein estimates are computed

(Fig. 5). Because of the small sample size these estimates could include

considerable error.

Faunal remains. Ifhen this Achallan material is compared with

earlier Vegas samples certain dissimilarities appear. This is

particularly evident he en e:-:amining the mammal remains. LThile tie two

Vegas sites exhibited a wide subsistence base, the Achallan people were

more selective. The fox and rodent, that are well represented in the Vegas

faunal samples, are lacking in the OCSE-63 material. Deer is the only




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mo.mal pre.-ent at this site. By a comparison of the sites of the bones

two specie.- of deer appear in the midden, the larger uhlite-tailed deer

and the smaller bracket.

The amrph.i.bcns, snakes, and bird bone pr-een'- in the Vegas sites

are missing from the Achallan sample. This mihtl: be the result of the

small size of the sample. The fish.s e-:ploited are nut unarkedly

different in type than those from Vegas sites and .res'r..bly represent

a continuation of Vegas-like fishing patterns.

Valdivia Phase

The Valdivia Phase represents the early' Formative manifestation in

Lcu.dor and one of the earliest Formative phases in the geu UJorld. As

such, it provides an excellent opportunity to study the gradual shift

from nomadic hunting and gathering to sedentary horticulture. How this

shift came about and under what conditions it occurred is the interest

of many researchers.

Some scientists believe that early sedentisL.u ias possible on the

Ecuadorian coast because of the abundant and- reliable food found in the

coastal area, i.e. shellfish and fish (r'eggers 1966). These researchers

note that, at the same tine as early Valdivia, coastal Peruvian groups

were already cultivating beans, squash, bottle gourd:. and cotton (Lanning

1.976b). They suggest that rhe early, Valdivians h:,d more or less permanent

settlements on 'he coast where they c;ploited the local food resources

andc possibly, like their Peruvian neighbors to the south, engaged in

incipient agriculture (!'egsers 1966).. The Vallivian people theoretically

suuolemeinted lheir macina protein resources by occasional huntLin" trips


Other researchers (Lathrap 1975) believe that the Valdivia people

were engaged in substantial agricultural practices as early as Valdivia

I ti-mes (c, 3400 B.C.) and were well established by Valdivia III (c. 2500

B.C.). These archaeologists find support for this hypothesis in the

location of the sites, the presence of storage pits and grinding


The presence oF agriculture and its importance in the diet is an

interesting question, but one that is difficult to study. Conditions on

the periodically wet Guayas coast result in poor preservation of plant

remains and, to date, no direct evidence of substantial agriculture for

this period has heen unearthed. Indirect evidence (Lathrap and Marcos

1975) and analogies with other areas of the sane time period (Ileggers

1966) suggest thlt the early Valdivians could have practiced agriculture

at least in its incipient forms. Presumably, increasing reliance was

placed on agricultural crops through time. Although plant foods including

agricultural products are important components in a diet, animal protein

sources are as important, if not more important, than plant foods in

supplying needed nutrients, especially protein. .What protein sources

the Valdivians used and how' they obtained the animals is the question

that is considered here.

Certain similarities are found in all the Valdivia sites studies

below', but it wouldd be erroneous to speak of a "Valdivia hunting and

fishing pattern". Considerable differences are evident among the sites,

especially .whien comparing the Santa Elena Penirnsula sites with those

either inland or farther north. Some of these differences are undoubted-

ly attributable to local biological and ecological factors, such as the

presence of lhabitats particularly favored by certain species, while

other differences are inore easily explained as resulting from cultural

patte-rns nd practices.

Coastal Sites

Zooarchaeological materials weree available from five coastal

san:ples, four of which ereue located on the Santa Elena Peninsula and

the fifth is to the north at the mouth of the Valdivia River. Two of

these samples came from one site, OSSE-62 (numbered OGSE-62 and OCSE-

62C). OGSE-62C was assigned to the middle Valdivia (Stothert 1975)

subphase, while OCSE-62 is simply listed as Valdiv.ia. These two

samples could have been regarded as one unic, but they are considered

individually here. It was felt thac cre'acing these samples individually

provided the opportunity to study tie variability within a site. For

this reason biomass and food value estimates, as well as relative

number charts and fish size graphs, are constructed for each sample.

The other cto Santa Elena Peninsula sites were too small for any kind

of reliable estimates. Faunal lists and a short description of the

remains are included for these sites. The fifth 'aldivia site, the one

from which this cultural phose takes its, is considerably different

from the Santa Elena Peninsula sites both in species present and the

size of the individuals. Material from this site suggest a slightly

different subsistence emphasis.


OCSE-42 represents the Valdivia Phase I occupation on the Santa

Elena Peninqula. Based on ceramic similarities and date:; from the Phase

I, Lama Alta site, OGSE-42 was occupied around 3400 B.C. (Bischof 1972),

although the actual dates, based on shell, were late- (Stothert 1974).

LKncen Stothert, the excavator of the ridden, believes that this site

waz occupied for a fairly short period of time and that the middec

deposit itself nay have been in the form of a ring, as in the case

of the Achallan Complex site CGGSE-63 (Stothert 1974).

Lh.en the animal bones from this sire were first submitted for

analysis it was thought that this material might slhow a subtle shift in

exploitation emphasis. If this shift in protein utilization had occurred

it mriht be correlated with the introduction of a neu culture type whhich

possessed at least incipient agriculture. Although thE nacerial fro.i

CS:E--42 contains sone elements suggesting a shift, i. e. decreasing

amounts of terrestrial forms, the sample \:as so snall that this apparent

change may be the result of the sampling itself.

Fauna1. re-mains. The species found in the midden material include

brocket deer and marine catfish, snook, drum, and sea turtle.

OG:E-62 (O3SE-G2C)

CGSE-62 is situated abcut 100 meters south of the Achallan ComLplex:

site, OGSE-63, discussed above. Occupation at this site began during

ValdiviaL Phase III times (c. 2500 B.C. Lanning 1968) and continued

through Valdivia V (Stc.therL 1974). .s in the case of OCSE-63 and OGSE-

:2, the miidden at OGSE--62 ',as distributed in a form suggestive of a ring

of sxall deposits (Stothert 1974).

Although similar to Achlallan in location and settlement, here

sinmilaricies stop. OGSE-62 (OGSE-62C) had both a much more elaborate.

ceracr.ic inventory and, more important for this study, a very different

protein base. This latter difference is not explainable on site location

along ;ince both sites are situated relatively close to each other.

Although a sll.;.c .n the climate, in the highly variable Santa Elena

Penin!sula area, could explain the different numbers of species present,

the difference could also be due to a shift of c::ploitarion emphasis.


Faunal remains. Ihe vertebrate faunial remains from OGSE-62 are

alrmst entirely mac-ine (93.9' HIJI). Principal abundant species include

the catfish (41.9%) and the prunts (31.4%). Other important fishes

represented here were the grouper, jacks, snappers, and porgies (Fig. 6).

Due to the larger sizes (Fig. 7) of these numerically fewer fish, the

groupers, jacks, snappers, and porgies contributed more meat than the

catfish and the grunts. Both numerically and nutritionally minor

components of the diet are the sea turtle and a mammal. The true

nutritional importance of these last two animals are considerably

underestimated due to the method of calculating their live ',eight, but

the relative importance of these resources, versus fish, is probably

not too accurate.


Faunal remains. The material from OGSE-62C resembles in many

respects che proceeding sample. nevertheless, these remains include

proportionally more catfish (63.6?') and fewer grunts (25%) than at

OGSE-62 (Fig. S). Also fewer species are represented. Due to the overall

size distribution (Fig. 9) third fishes from OGSE-62C actually contributed

more meat in ;weight than those in the 0GSE-62 sample. i:uinerically minor

species in this sample included the snook, grouper, jack, and porgy.




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O.,SE--62 and OGS.-62C

Reconstructed hunting and fishing patterns. eihen CG3.-62 and

OGS.;-G.C are compared, several differences become evident. Particularly

noticeable is the wider range of species present in the OGSE-62 sa-.ple

which ;rLe absent from OGSE-62C. These species account for 9.4, of the

IC'I from CGSE-62. This need not be a- im-portant as it first appears.

All the species represented in rhe samples (with the exception of mullet)

are inshore carnivores and can he taken with a baited boo!: and line.

Shell fishhooks have been found in Valdivia midJens and these hooks range

in size from sbcut 1.8 cm. by 2.0 cm. to 2.5 cm. by 2.8 cm. (Ieggers,

Evans, and Estrada 1965). The seemingly disproportionate reprasentatioii

of certain forms could simply represent fish caught on.a day or season of

Tlhe year when "the snappers v'ere running" or result from a particular

fisherman's atLachment to a particularly good fishing area.

Ancthcr method had to be used to catch the mullet. Bullets are

herbivores and as such ace not readily taken by a baited hook and line.

One effective method for catching this fish is using nets either of the

gill net or seine type. This could result in the capture of large

numbers of this schooling species. Weirs and traps could also result in

numbers of mullets as well. In any event, only two individuals of this

species were identified from the samples. If nets or some other collective

techniques had been regularly used on this abunJant species more

individuals would be expected. This suggests that none of these methods

were employed. The Valdivian fisherman could have resorted to spearing,

or ihand catching or algae-baited hook to catch these herbivorous animals.


OGSE-174 represents nnotl--r Santa ELer.a Peninsula midden. No

sub'hhase association is available for this Valdivia site. If, ho-wever

OGSE--42 and OGSE-62 are representative of Santa Elena Peninsula coastal

middens, the relatively large representation of mammal remains suggests

Ln early Valdivia affiliation.

Faunal remains. Although three deer were identified from this site

only one is assignable to a species, i.e. Odocoileus, the other deer

material was either too fragmentary or of a size that made species

correlations impossible. The marine resources represented in this midden

re3e,nble those front other sites discussed. Again the catfish and the

grunt are parLicularly abundant. Snook, jack, and sea turtle also occur.


The Valdivia site material is the only Valdivia coqstel site outside

the Santa Elena Peninsula area considered in this study. This site is

located north of the peninsula and at the mouth of the Valdivia

River (Fig. 1). The ceramic and lithic material from this site formed

the bases for the original description of the Valdivia Phase (leggers,

Evans and Estrada 1965).

Faunal remains. The vertebrate fauna from the Valdivia site differs

somewliat from those discussed above. At this site terrestrial species

include the peccary and two types of deer, the ;fliite-tai]ed, and the

brocket. Based on comparisons of the size of the deer bones, the larger

white-tailed deer appears more co:rmmon in the i uidden. Catfishi are still

a common fish in the midden, but at Valdivia snook is also abundantly

represented (Fig. 10). :More neat 'was available to thl people from

snook and deer sources than all other sources combined (Fig. 11).

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Reconstructed hunting and fishing patterns. The technique used to

o.btni.n the terrestrial forms is difficult to determLine. As yet no stone

or bone projectile points have been uncovered in Valdivia middens.

Perishable wooden projectiles or traps and deathfz;lls are techniques that

could have been used.

All the fish species from the Valdivia midden sample are inshore

carnivores and will take a hook. 11o herbivorous forms are included in

the remains. If herbivorous forms had been present in numbers, another

or additional method of fishing, e.g. cooperative netting, might have

been suggested. The fish bones from this site, then, present a picture

of individual fishermen exploiting the inshore or shoreline waters .ith

baited hooks and lines. Further evidence for this is the shell fishliooks

that have been found at Valdivia. Although boats could have been used,

there is no evidence to suggest that they would have been needed to

obtain the fishes present.

One difference in this site, compared with other sites, is the

proportionally greater representation of large fish, particularly snook,

and the low numbers of smaller animals-. The lack of smaller species is

pL-obably in part due to the excavation techniques used. The relatively '

large representation of snook, undoubtedly, results from fishing the

estuary that is believed to have existed near the site during Valdivia

times (Ileggers, Evans, and Estrada 1965). This sort of ecological

setting would have been particularly attractive to the snook.

Inland Sites

Zooarclih ological materials from two, inland Valdivia sites were

available for analysis, the Loma Alta site, located about 15 kim. upstream

from the Valdivia site, and the Real Alto site situation about 5 km.

from the rea along the Rio Verde. Loma Alta represents an ea:!.y

Valdivia site (Ihase I) while the principal occuJpntion at Real Altu

occurred from Valdivia I1T through VIII times (Harcos 1975). In an

attempt to study, chlanIe through time this latter site w.ns divided into

two groups, a middle Valdi'.ia component represented by ITIi-V ceramics and

a later Valdivia indicated by VT-VIII ceramic types.

Excavations at Loma Alta and Real Al-o revealed a discontinuous

distribution of faunal r..aterial in pits, burials and house structures,

which necessitated a different approach to the material. Since there

was no w'ay of knowing hwJ many pits were associated with any particular

house floor, it was impossible to provide ,n-, kind of meaningful

co-bination of features and, therefore, the units were treated individually.

Lo.-,a Alta

nTe Loma /Alta site contains a uijer variety of vertebrates than

any other site considered in this study:. Representatives of all the

vertebrate classes are present. This indicates a wide subsistence base.

Ho dcubt sone of this results from the location of the site in a presumed

foriested area, although other factors also are evident. Tle types and

i.u.'bers of the remains oere not evenly distributed throughout the site.

The JII unit has more catfish, while JIII contained more deer (Fig. 12)

Faunal ria'ins. Not all the remains from the Loma Alta site

coiistituted food items. 'he large number of human bones in the sample

suggest that at least some of these bones represent burials rather

[lirt food remains. The dog also may represent something other than, or

in addition to, a food item. The dogs could have served a variety of function.

either as guard dogs, hunting dogs, caiap scavengers or pets. The

burned condition of .some of the bones suggest that the dog also ended

up as food.

At Lo;:a '-.lta the t'ro samples analyzed contained the sane principal

ania.rls, but in very different proportions, Since there was no v'ay of

c!eteriniinng which sample rore representative of the site as a

whole, it was felt that no biormass estimates should be attempted.

c:.-ever-, the size of the species present, and their relative numbers,

suggest that terrestrial forms, especially the deer, were the principal

protein sources. The Valdivia hunters obtained both principally

forest-edge and/or savanna animals such as the white-tailed deer, agouti,

and rabbit and rrerumibl: deep forest inhabitants, the brocket deer and

the tanir. Peccary, opossum, an:! the carnivores, the riountain lion

and the fox vere also hunted. Several small rodents, and an armadillo

represent other mnammals captuLred. The Valdivians- at Lor a Alta; also caught

birds, as the considerable numbe- of bird remains froi the site indicates.

Additional animals include snakc, land turtle, and frog.

Of parLicular interest, though of seemingly minor imp-ortance, are

the fish remains from Lo-im Alta. All the fish species represented in

the riidden are of marine forms. It is estimated that Loma Alta is 15 kLm.

(9.3 miles) fro.-n the sea and, therefore, from the marine habitat where

these fishes are found.

r.aconstruction of hunting and fishing patterns. There is good:

evidence for he seasonal of deer. The fauna.-l sample from Alta contained nine mandible fragments representing a minimum of si::

deer. Lased on tooth eruption (Scv.erin'..hauz 1949), one individual wJas



1 ,






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betwo-in fnor and seven months old, t'.:. others were around 15 i.onths,

two 17 months and one was an adult. The deer that could be aged in

r.onthsL indicate n deer hunting season confined to about a five i'ionth

period. This could be interrupted as a seasonal occupation of the site

or a restricted ie-riod of exploitation of deer possibly revolving

around other seasenally-regulatcd activities. The latter possible seems

Pore likely. A people who seasonally moved into the area -'ould be

unlikely to engage in trade with coastal areas for their fish or to

send om.e people out into the hills to hunt while others travel the

15 Ikm. down to the shore to fish. Loma Alta is more likely to represent

at leyat a semi-sedentary village engaged in an exchange system w'ith

coastal groups for marine resources, perhaps with Llhe Valdivia since


Exchange systems are complex sets of social obligations and

reciprocal arrangements which need some impetus for develomenLt. They

generally develop because of the need for scarce and desired resources.

Could protein scarcity have acted as the impetus for the establishment

of trade with the coastal areas? Although it is not possible to say

with any certain.ty whether this was the case, possible evidence for

this exists. Among the faunal remains from the Lma Alta site there were

a large proportion of human bones, especially of fetal or infant

individuals. A total sample of four fetuses or infants, representing

in age seven months, seven and a half rionths and mid-ninth month for

the fetuses and a baby within its first year (Miaples 1974'), were found

in the fainal samples. Could this large and disproportionate number

of fetus'.?s and .infant remains indicate low. nutritional levels re.-ultin;

.in sr.ontLLLeous abortions (liulinski 1976) or infant icjle e ;which is corLrion

in many protein poor areas suLch as the Aimazon? Could c:'arJ for fish

with the coastal sites be an attempt o obtain more animal protein?

Real Alto

Rl:2a- tIco it. the last Vnldivin si.tu considered here. Donald

.aticrap, director of the excavation at the site, states that its location

indicates a river valley rather than marine focus. ile beli.'eve that

Real Alto represents an a5riculttural village based on n.,ize cultivation

(Lath-ir.p 1975).

Because of the long occupation at Peal Alto and tne cultural

shifts that are evident between middle and later Valdivia times, the

material from this site .las separated into t:o groups. Not all the

rat'erial front Pl.a) Alco was analyzed but only a sample from certain

features lhese u;its :ere chosen because of their phase affiliations,

size of tho somples and lac'- of obvious evidence of intrusion. iate-rials

from five different units =ere considered for the earlier cultural

division. Two of these .were materials from the floors of structures

(St.ructu-'es VII and X), two were from features (Features 10 and 171),

and one ;as fror. thle fill of a burial pit (Burial LI).

Faunal remains. The bone from the vario-us units w'.ere identified

arnd the relative numbers of the various species computed. The results

of th.e ;lI comi.ilat-ions are indicated on Fig. 13 and Fig. 14. The

s:uipl s exhibit considerable variation. In most instances, in Mliddle

valdivi a times, catfish represented the main component of the sample in

tero-s of l.r;I with the drunis thle most numerous species represented in one

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sample. Drum is also of considerable importance in several of the other.

samples as uell. Deer are in all. the units an d birds and sLa

turtles and an occasional snake also occur.

Lecausc of the uneven distribution of the fauna 1 re7-ins in tn-

nuii2?rous pits., occupation floors, ;all trenches and burials :tt the site,

biomass estimates were not attempted. There was no :,ay of determining

which h and how many pits riere conitemmporaaeous with esch house floor or

even thi initial volumes of the various features. Since there %was not

any means of correlating pits and floors and other features, it was felt

that any biomass estimates would result in an erroneous representation

and indicate a greater accuracy than the material warranted. Although

bio:nass estimates were nor undertaken for this site, deer undoubtedly

represents the most important, single food source in terms of the amount

of meat provided. Fish, ho:-.ever, especially the raarine catfish, provide

a more constant food source.

.Then the sr.terial from Mliddle Valdivia samples is compared with later

Valdivia material a shift in emphasis become.z apparent. Material from

thei Structure VIIT wall trench, Features 101 and 10G and general non-

feature ridden material indicates a greater exploitation of catfish

in later Valdivia times (Fig. 14).

Reconstruction of hunting and fishing patterns. As in the casE of

Loma i.lta the question of trade or specialized hunting and/or fishing

arises. It could be argued that if Real Alto like Lona Alta was

primarily an agricultural village most of its daily activities would d

be related to agricultural pursuits. Fish could be obtained by e::change.

It should be noted, lihn;ever, that 5 km is not a very great distance to go

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co obtain food. This is at the outer limits, but within the range

indicated l.y E. S. iiggs and C. Vita-Fitnzi (1972) as the c:-:ploitable

distance For hort[culturalists. Also, it would be possible for the village

to have specialized fishermen who could exchange parts of cheir catch

for agricultural goods. Real Alto's nearness to the coast does not

seem to result in the same sorts of pressures discernable at Loma -lta.

h.Trether exchanged between villages, obtained by specialists, or caught

by the Valdivia horticulturalist, fishing techniques similar to tliose

practiced by the coastal fishermen were presumable used. These would

include baited hooks and lines for the carnivorous, inshore fishes found

at this site. There are again some herbivorous remains ini the sample

(mullet and sea chub), but their n'lmbers are veiy low and co not

necessarily suggest nets or traps.

Po3 -Valdivia

r!aterial from only four post-Valdivia samples was available for

analysis. These samples included remains from four cultural phases;

Haclhalilla and Engoro, bones, Guangala phase material and the late

Libertad remains. Three of the samples are from the Santa Elena

Peninsula, the fourth is from the Rio Verde Valley.

:lachaliila and Engorov Phases


This site contains both HIachalilla and Engoroy phase material, but

vr-ry srmll samples of each. In addition, a larger sa.nple from this site

was also included, but had a mixed Mlachallla and Engoroy association.

The material from this site was, therefore, treated in three units;

IMachalilla material, Engoroy remains, and all the bone from the site

together Biompas estimates, fisl species size and nutritional values

were calculated for the site as a whhole (Fig. 15). The faunal lists for

each unit are in Appendix A.

The hiachalilla Phase represents an introduction of some net traits

into the study area. Some researchers see the introduction of a new

people, in part, contemporaneous with the Valdivia Phase inhabitants.

They believe that Machalilla represents a site-unit intrusion into the

area and that the Ilachalillans lived more or less harmoniously with their

Valdivia neighbors (Ileggers, Evans, and Estrada 1965). Other archaeo-

3ogists feel that the Ilachalilla people lived later than the Valdivians

and in fact developed out of the earlier Valdivia Phase (Lathrap 1967;

Wliley 1971).

Faunal remains. The IHachalilla fish remains from OCSE-46D do not

differ in type from those of other Santa Elena Peninsula sites,

although some different species are represented. Catfish are still the

most abundant species. Other species, not found in previously

discussed Santa Elena Peninsula sites, include the dog and the agouti.

The Engoroy material, sometimes included under the Chorrera Phase

heading, represents the only late Formative material available for Tie Chorrera Phase is stated to have evolved out of the

Ear' Macbhlilla and to represent a subsistence shift from sea food

resources to agricultural crops (Willey 1971). Fairly good evidence for

contact w:itlh lesoaimericn is also available for this phase (HIeggers 1966).

Although some sites of Engoroy -Chorrera affiliation might indicate

a decreasing importance in marine foods, this does not seem to be the

case with the Engoroy inhabitants at OGSE-46D. At this site marine


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vertebrates continued to be widely exploited. The remains indicate that

a vider variety of species iere exploited by the Engoroy Lilan by the

earlier Hachalilla people. Terrestrial deer and fox were also taken.

/gain there is evidence of doY.

Because of the small size of the Machalilla and Engoroy samples

and their basic similarities with respect to the types of species present

and their relative numbers, the material from these t.'o samples were

combined with the other faunal remains from OCSE-46D. -igures 15 and .16

represent these combinations. The results of the calculations indicate

that marine resources were of primary importance both numerically and

nutritioially. Although the deer estimates in this set of calculations

was based on bone weight and is, therefore very lo;-, the smali number

of deer bones and the abundance of aquatic resources suggest that deer

\as probably not overly important in the diet. Most of the primary

species exploited by these peoples were those also utilized by previous

groups. In general, the size of the fish captured appears to have

increased compared with previously discussed Santa Elena Peninsula sites

(Fig. 16). This might have resulted from the introduction of larger

fishlihooks during "achalilla times.


The other Machalilla site considered in this study is OGCH-20. It

Is located on the Rio Verde, about five kilometers upstream from Chanduy.

This site is of interest since it represents an inland Machalilla

occupation, one that is in the same vicinity as Real Alto, the middle

and late Inland Valdivia site discussed above. The people at the site

presumably utilized the Rio Verde valley in the same manner as the

Valdivian, i.e. by cultivating crops.

Faunal remains. The faunal sample from the site differs from the

;eal Alto material in having an additional mammal, the fox. This

exploitation of masiaials other than dear %as also evidenL at the coastal

OG.SE--46D site. This differs from the general Valdivia exo:-loitation pa3.tera.

Tie Valdivians, when they exploited any mammals at all, relied on deer.

Thil other faunal remlair.s included large numribers of fish. As in most

cases consider-ed in this study, marine catfish was by far the most

abundant fish. Also of importance were the drums and to a lesser ex.:tern

the grunts.

Guangala Phase

The Guangala Phase represents Lhe local iianifectation of the

P.egiunal Developmental Peri'od. C:arateristics of his:ii period include

"... differentiation in sociopolitical organization, florescence in art

style and elaboration in technology" (Mecger3 1966:67)

At Guailnala sites maize agriculture appears to be -:idespre~ a as the

presence of mane and metate frangents indicate. Interior incised pottery

bo.71,e suggest that manioc or peppers %.ere also grown (Meggers 1966).

:1arine resources continued to be utilized by coastal groups, whilee deer

-.~'2-e hunted in the inland sices (Meggers 1966). Shell fishhooks and

atlacl nooks have been found in the nidderns.


Faunal remains. Tha Guangala faunal material from this site shof.s

a pronounced marine focus. All the idcncifiable remains are of marine

fishes. Particjulrly abundant in the milden are the marina catfish,

al though grunts and puffers are also nurierous. In terrni of actual

jl:;:ritio0ial and caloric values, the single shiL-k from the midden appears

of primary ir,portance. There is no doubt that these Guangalans made

inch Iore use of the available marine vertebrates than the earlier

I-.achalilla and Engoroy peoples who had settled in about the sane area.

Libertad Phase

The last site representative of the post-Valdivia vertebrate

exploitation on the Santa Elena Peninsula is a very small sample from

a Libertad Phase site, OGSE-41E.


Faunal remains. This site is located near the sea and represents

a Finale phase occupation. The small test conducted into this midden

resulted in very few bones. The sample is again mainly fishes, with

grurita the nost abundant form. With the exception of a snall barracuda

all the species present ihad been found in other Santa Elena Peninsula

sites. Of the very snall sample only one bone could be tentatively

identified as mammal, all other identifiable bones were of fish (Fig. 17).


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Over a period of seven or eight thousand years the southwestern

coast of Ecuador has served as the home for numerous peoples. Some of

these groups were simple hunters and gatherers, while e others were

advanced agriculturalists with well developed ceramics and art styles.

Although these populations differed radically in many aspects of their

cultures, they all faced the same basic problem hou to obtain adequate

amounts of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitar.ins, minerals, and calories.

To fulfill these basic needs these peoples relied upon a variety of

different foods. The relative importance of the various foods differed

frcn group to group.

Protein Scarcity and Protein Acquisition

A variety of different subsistence strategies can be practiced by

peoples to obtain adequate protein for healthy growth and development

(See Chapter II). These strategies include the consumption of large

quantities of protein-rich plant foods, the consumption of complimentary

plant foods, or the consumption of a combination of plant and animal


Although these strategies are all possible alternatives in most

areas, in any given area one strategy is more efficient in fulfilling

nutritional and caloric needs. Animal bone was present at all the sites

examined in this study. This indicates that the subsistence strategy

chosen by these groups included the consumption of animal foods.

In areas whe:e protein is abundant, protein acquisition may have

little direct effect on the culture, but uwhbre iL is limited the obtaining

of protein can greatly influence other aspects of culture. In such

cases tlih need for protein may result in the dispersal of the population

(Holmberg 1969, Carneiro 1973), increase hostilities between groups

cor.petiiig over the same limited resource, development of reciprocal

relations between members within the villages (Gross 1975), or lead

to the formation of long distance exchange networks.

Archaeologically, the degree to which a people were obtaining

adequate amounts of protein, can be reflected in the human osteological

remains. Protein deficiency can limit population growth by increasing

the incidence of miscarriages, spontaneous abortions, and high infant

mortality (llulinski J976). It may further result in the adoption of

population-regulating mechanisms such as female infanticide. Even for

those individuals who survive to maturity, protein deficiency can effect

the overall growth and stature of the individual. By'ining the

human bone remains from a site some indication of how successful a

people were in obtaining protein can be determined.

Thu indicators of protein deficiency may not be readily recognized

by the field excavator. Studies on human growth and stature require

knowledge of human osteology and a familiarity with different growth

patterns. Also, human fetal and infant bones are very different from

adult bone and can be easily missed by excavators not trained in human

osteology. Unless a physical anthropologist is present during excavation

and removes the fetal and infant bones from the sample, the lack of fetal

and infant remains in a faunal sample probably means there were few at

the site. Their presence in large numbers in the faunal remains suggests

nutritional stress.

At the Valdivia period, Loan Alta site a proportionally large

nuriber of human fetal and infant remains were uncovered (Chapter V).

This is interpreted as an indication th.t these inland people were living

under conditions of protein stress. In an apparent attempt to overcome

Lhis deficiency the inland Loma Alta people tried to obtain additional

r-roteiin by utilizing marine resources. Theyl did this by acquiring f isl

from the coast, probably by means of exchange.

This tyne of exchange between inland and coastal peoples has been

noted in other areas. The exchange between valley and coastal sites was

evident as early as Period 7 (2500-1700 B.C.) in coastal Peru (ilasi:ish

et al 1975). During this period Richard MIacileish believes that the

coastal fishermen "... sent marine protein foods into the valley and

received cultivated plant foods in return" (Mlaclleish et al 1975:33).

Hone of the other sites considered in this study exhibited the same

high proprotion of human fetal and infant remains as was present at Lora

Alta. This could indicate that protein deficiency was not a problem at

these sites. Their location near the protein-ricl coastal waters is

probably responsible for this.

Chaaigees in Protein E:xploitation and Subsistence Orientation

The relative importance of terrestrial, as opposed to aquatic

resources, used b- the prehistoric peoples of the study area varied.

During sore cultural phases, terrestrial resources were more important,

while at others aquatic animals were irore significant in the diet.

Tncse changing patterns of protein exploitation and subsistence

are summarized in Tables 2 and 3. The relative IiniimLum number of

intdi. ideals of terrestrial and aquatic animals represented in samples from


Santa Elcna Peninsula

Pre-Valdivia Valdivia


80 63 174 62 62C 46D 46U

aquatic % 55 75 82 99 99 87 98

terrestrial 7 45 25 18 1 1 13 2

sample size 56 12 17 86 SS 48 66

Ilorth of the
Santa Elena P.


Coast Inland
Valdivia Loma Alta

Jll J1ll

aquatic % 88 ,.69 26

terrestrial % 12 _31 74

sample siz- 89 133 23

East of the
Santa Elena P.

Valdivia Valdivia

Real Alto OCCH20

Early Late

95 97 96.8

5 3 3.2

133 116 281.0


the principal sites considered in this study are presented in Table 2.

This first set of calculations indicates how intensively the vertebrates

from the two exploitation areas were utilized by the various cultural

groups. 'The second table (Table 3) illustrates the amount of meat

obtained from these two sources.

Estimates of tlhe weight of the aquatic and terrestrial forms were

based on the weight of the archaeological bone. The bone weight .as

used in the formulas in place of the skeletal weight and the formulas

for skeletal weight to live weight from Appendi:-: C was used. The

perciform fish formula was employed to estimate aquatic resources, the

ma;rrial formula was used for the terrestrial animals. The only site

for which estimates of live weight were not computed in this manner

was the Valdivia site. The bones from this site were partially mineralized,

so weight calculations would be extremely inaccurate. For this site, the

estimates calculated in Chapter V were used.

The data presented in Tables 2 and 3 illustrates a steady shift in

subsistence orientation on the Santa Elena Peninsula. Early cultural

groups relied more on terrestrial animals, while the Valdivia peoples

depended more on aquatic forms. The early post-Valdivia people again

hunter terrestrial animals, but later groups shifted back to almost

e:cclusive auatic oe.-ploitation.

The inland and northern sites sho,' a somew.:hat different orienta-

tion. At these Valdivit sites terrestrial resources are more numerous

and provide far :.lore m2at than aquatic vertebrates. Even at these

sites aquatic resources were widely e::ploited.

Several factors could be responsible for the chan.ning subsistence

patterns described here. These include the introduction of agriculture


Santa Elana Peninsula

Pre-Valdivia Valdivia Pocst-Vald'ivia

80 63 174 62 62C 46D 46U

aquatic % 5 ]0 24 99 99.7 95 99.7

terresLrial % 95 90 76 1 0.3 5 0.3

bior.:a3s (g) 21300 5435 9007 7955 9124 12372 5273

North of the
S :nta Elena P.

Va Idivia



Valdivia Loma Alta

East of the
Santa Elena P.


Post-Va d ivia

Real Alto OCCH-20

Jll J111


terrestrial %'

total bio
r.Eass (g)

29 9 16

71 91 84

538951 68915 54633 36567




and the changing climatic conditions. I propose that the change in

emphasis between pre-Valdivia and Valdivia tines is linked to another

subsistence shift, probably the introduction of agriculture.

Although there is little direct evidence of agriculture, indirect

evidence such as storage pits, grinding iiiplements and the locations of

che sites indicates that agriculture had been introduced into the area

and was being practiced during Valdivia times. Crops,e.g. corn, require

periods of fairly intensive cultivacion and care. During these periods

there is less time to devote to other subsistence activities such as

hunting and fishing. ';iis often results in the scheduling of subsistence

activities :.ith certain periods of time devoted to one strategy, i.e.

the cultivation of agricultural crops, and other tines devoted to other

pursuits. This scheduling can ta':e the form of gardening at one time

during the day and hunting and/or fishing at another or a seasonal cycle

of cultivation supplemented by limited hunting and/or fishing in areas

near the village at one period of the year with extensive Punting and

fishing more prevalent in another season.

There is evidence of scheduling from one Valdivia site. At Loma

Alta all the deer that could be aged indicate that they probably were

killed during a particular time of year. This suggests that deer hunting

wns more or less restricted to a particular season.

Although there has been little research conducted on the breeding

cycles of deer in coastal Ecuador, studies on the white-tailed deer from

Venezuala irdicaLe that these species breed year round with a peak in

rating during the dry season (Grokx 1972). The gestation period for

Iorth American Ihite-tailed deer is between 195 and 212 days, with an

average around 202 days (Lowery 197"). If the Ecuadorian deer follow

the sar.,e cyclef, the peak rating would be between Hay and December, the

dry season of present-day coastal Ecuador. This would result in peak

births beL'ue.2; October and July. Since the survival rate of the fa:..ns

xyould be greatest for those born during rainy season, when the lactating

does have abundant food resources, Lho peak in birth and survival of

most fawns- would be expected from January through April. If Janaury is

assumed to be the birth month of the deer at the Loma Alta site, the

individuals that could be aged were killed anywhere from April to

September (Fig. 19). At the other extreme, if they were born at the

end of the rainy season (April) the range would be from July to December.

The onset of the rainy season is also a time of peak agricultural

activities. During this period presumably little time would be available

to engage in substantial hunting endeavors. Instead, more time would be

spent in the planting, cultivating and harvesting of the crops. The

length of this period of agricultural activity is largely dependent on

the crops planted. For corn, anywhere from three to four months would

be devoted to the cultivation and harvesting of this crop. If the crop

Was planted at the onset of the rainy season, January through April

would be devoted to its cultivation.

L.hen the deer hunting season, as indicated from the Loma Alta

material, is compared with the period of corn cultivation a yearly

scheduling of economic activities is suggested. The data on Fig. 19

illustrate this. Agricultural activities, i.e. corn cultivation, uould

be restricted to the rainy season of JanLuary through April with deer

hunting practiced anywhere from April through December.

In addition to th" scheduling of econo.-ic activities, the incro-

duction of agriculture can also result in tl'e expansion of the possible






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sul'sistence base with the introduction of newi cops and an increase in

population size resulting in the shrinkage of the territory exploited by

th-_ inhabitants of a site. This has bean seen ethnographically when

the radius of the ex:p]oitation spheres of the hunters and gatherers

(10 mni.) is compared to the area exploited by horticulturalists (radius

5 I.k.) (OLiggs and Vita-Finzi 1972). This decrease in exploitation area

results in proportionately less terrestrial animals available to hunt.

It would encourage a shift to other protein foods. In the study area

T believe this to have taken the form of increased use of the previously,

underexploited, aquatic vertebrates.

Another possible factor which may explain the shift in subsistence

patterns is climatic change. TheI Santa Elena Peninsula is and has been

an area that is particularly susceptible to climatic fluctuation (Chaitar

IV). In the past there have been several periods much wetter or dryer

than today. Because of the close relationship between climate, flora,

and. faunra, a shift in climatic conditions can profoundly alter the

resources available for exploitation. This necessitates the use of

alternative methods of exploitation, a change to different resources,

or an abandonment of the area.

During periods of extreme wetness or dryness the Santa Elena Penin-

sula was uninhabited (Chapter IV). Presumably under these environmental

conditions, the people were either unw-illing or unable to make the

adjustments necessary in order to continue living in the area. During

tines of minor climatic change extreme action such as the abandonment of

the area might not be necessary. During these periods, by exploiting a

slightly different subsistence base, a people could continue to live

in an area.

As noted in Chapter IV, the ilachalilla and Engoroy peoples occupied

thne peninsula during times of fluctuating cl.iTatic conditions. Immediately

previous to ilachalilla occupation the climate of the Santa Elena Penin--

sula ' very cold and dry. During i'achalilla times it became somewhat

warme:-- but still remained cool and relatively dry. Cold and very dry

conditions existed between the Machalilla and Engoroy occupations and

the climate was cool and dry again in Engoroy times.

As illustrated above (Chapter V) the Iachalilla and Engoroy groups,

considered here, exploited a slightly different subsistence base than

previous groups. I would suggest that this exploitation pattern results

from slightly different climatic conditions and, therefore, different

species availability and densities.

It might be argued that the introduction of a ne-I people, who

utilized a different resource base, is responsible for the different

subsistence pattern reflected in the bone remains. I believe that, since

the sare resource configuration is present during both the aclhalilla and

the later Engoroy times, the migration of new people with a different

e::ploitation pattern cannot be used to explain these difference.

Hunting and Fishing Methods

liow a people obtained their animal protein is another important

aspect of subsistence studies. The faunal composition of a site often

indicates what methods were used to obtain the fishes present. For

example, if the habit and habitats of the fishes that are available in

the area are known, inferencea about the ncLhoaIs used to catch them can

be r--ade.

T.he coastal waters of Ecuador today contain many different types

of ilarine fishes. Estuaries and inshore waters are inhabited by large