Pueblo Viejo-Pucara is one of the coastal archaeological sites that were ruled by the Inka Empire on the central coast of Peru, inhabited by the Caringa people. Labor colonists relocated to the site as part of Inka strategies of annexation of new territories, reducing local polities’ power. Archaeological evidence points to connections between the Caringa people and highland communities. An unexplored line of evidence is people’s food habits, identity, diet and nutrition.
The way society prepares, serves, and eats its food is socio-culturally shaped. An integrative approach based on bioarchaeological, dental anthropological, biochemical, and ethnohistorical data is applied, revealing significant intra-site variability and food behaviors being dictated by people’s identity and social status, additionally impacting childhood nutritional condition. The symbolic meaning behind food was embodied in ritual and funerary events, reinforcing local identities, local food cooking modalities, storage facilities and exchange between neighborhoods.
Maria Kolp-Godoy Allende studied Andean Archaeology, Bioarchaeology and Prehistoric Archaeology in Peru, London, and Zurich. In 2019, she was awarded a DPhil for her study on food behaviours, diet, and nutritional status of Andean archaeological settlements under the Inka Empire. Her research focuses on sociocultural and biochemical constructions involving Andean symbolism and identity behind foodways. Currently, she is a research associate in the Institute of Archaeology, Department of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Zurich.
‘The author sets the stage to address the cultural meanings of food well, linking general anthropological studies to the Andean foodways and studies of those from that region. This is a major piece of research, with substantive data sets. Kolp-Godoy Allende weaves them together with rich historical and ethnographic data.’ Professor Christine Hastorf, UC Berkeley