Ethnographic Studies, Agricultural Practices, and Optimal Diet in the Ambato Valley, Catamarca, Argentina, VIth to XIth Centuries AD
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Germán G. Figueroa & Mariana Dantasespañol
Abstract. In this paper the authors report results of the ethnographic studies conducted in the Ambato Valley, Catamarca, Argentina, which were designed to explore different aspects of agricultural practice. To this end, data were collected in three areas: the number of individuals involved in these tasks, the economic performance of cultivated plant resources and the costs and benefits involved in the different stages of the operational chain. The data collected were then added to those obtained from similar works carried out on wild plant resources. They were tested using the linear programming model, thus trying to ascertain what might have been the optimal combination with which each of these resources have contributed to the diet of the ancient inhabitants of the valley. The results obtained suggest that in these lands, during the VIth to the XIth century AD, the products obtained through gathering, mainly algarrobo (Prosopis sp.), would have been the better option. Within the agricultural products, maize (Zea mays) would have been the best choice. These data are consistent with those observed in the archaeological record of the valley and the information available for the region.
Keywords: Aguada Culture, human behavioral ecology, ethnographic studies, linear programming, optimal diet.
Figueroa, G. G. & M. Dantas. 2012. Estudios etnográficos, prácticas agrícolas y dieta óptima en el valle de Ambato, Catamarca, Argentina, siglos VI al XI d. C. Arqueología Iberoamericana 14: 17-31.
Publication date: 30-6-2012.

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