Dietary practices in ancient populations from northern Chile during the transition to agriculture (Tarapacá; region, 1000 BC-AD 900).

Auteur(s) :
Santana-Sagredo F., Uribe M., Herrera MJ., Retamal R., Flores S.
Date :
Août, 2015
Source(s) :
Adresse :
Departamento de Antropología, Universidad de Chile., Santiago, Chile.

Sommaire de l'article


The goal of this research is to understand the relevance of diet diversity during the transition to agriculture, in ancient populations from northern Chile, especially considering the significance of marine resources and crops in a lesser degree.


A total of 14 human individuals were sampled from the Tarapacá 40 cemetery. Both bone and tooth samples were collected. Samples were studied from bone/dentine collagen for carbon and nitrogen isotopic analysis; and bone/enamel apatite for carbon isotope analysis. Inferential statistical analyses were performed in order to compare Tarapacá 40 stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values with other Formative and Late Intermediate Period groups. A nonparametrical hypothesis Kruskal–Wallis test was used.


The results show that the individuals from Tarapacá 40 are intermediate to the values observed for terrestrial and marine fauna as well as C3 and C4 plants.


A gradual transition to crop consumption, especially maize, is suggested. This complemented the earlier hunter-gatherer tradition of marine resources and wild fruit consumption. Contrarily to the predictions made by some archaeologists, the results obtained for northern Chile contrast with the classical perspective of a “Neolithic Revolution” in which transition to agriculture occurred more abruptly and linearly.

Source : Pubmed