Dating Matters at Chavín de Huántar

Conférence

Jeudi 22 octobre 2015
14h-15h30, MAE – salle du Conseil – 4e étage

Daniel A. Contreras (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
« Dating Matters at Chavín de Huántar: Bayesian Modeling of 14C Dates and Revisiting the Central Andean Early Horizon »


Like monumental centers worldwide, the Central Andean site of Chavín de Huántar has long been a focus of archaeological research.  At Chavín as at many such centers, however, it remains difficult to link the monumental to the mundane. The physical separation of the monumental and the domestic in the past creates distinct lines of archaeological evidence, whose relationship must be understood in order to address questions about sociopolitical organization and emerging inequality at the site.  With this in mind, I explore the application of a Bayesian modeling approach to the corpus of radiocarbon dates associated with the ceremonial center of Chavín de Huántar.  Employing stratigraphic sequences from various excavations and the site’s complex sequence of monumental construction, I suggest a chronology for the site more detailed than any previously offered.  Such an accurate and precise chronology at Chavín is vital to linking the public/ceremonial and the private/domestic, to understanding the emergence and establishment of inequality at the site, and to broader consideration of regional interaction in the Central Andean Middle Formative Period.  Linking this chronology to Bayesian models of published 14C dates associated with phases linked to the “Early” or “Chavín” horizon from seven sites spread over a wide area of the Central Andes allows exploration of the implications of this improved chronology for interpretations of Chavín itself as well as for understandings of the so-called Early Horizon. These new chronologies suggest that it is time to revive this brief period of heightened interaction in the Central Andes as a subject of research, and to work to develop research strategies with sufficient chronological resolution to address questions about regional dynamics.

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