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  On Ch'arki Consumption in the Ancient Central Andes: A Cautionary Note Minimize

Lidio M. Valdez

Abstract


Recently, Andeanist zooarchaeologists have introduced the so-called "ch'arki effect": taphonomic factor to explain the disproportional occurrence of some camelid skeletal parts at archaeological sites. It has been argued that the lower frequency of head and foot bones is the by-product of ch'arki (dried meat) exchange and therefore indicative of ch'arki consumption. This generalization, however, is problematic. When fresh meat is distributed (by trade) and consumed, exactly the same pattern as with ch'arki distribution is produced. To infer ch'arki consumption on the basis of the absence of head and lower limb bones is therefore misleading.

Resumen

Recientemente, los zooarqueólogos andinistas han empezado a utilizar la categoría del "factor ch'arki" para explicar la presencia desproporcionada de algunas partes del esqueleto en los sitios arqueológicos. Se sostiene que la menor presencia de algunos huesos, tal es el caso de aquellos de la cabeza y los pies, es producto del intercambio y consumo del ch'arki. Esta generalización, sin embargo, es problemética. Con la distribución (intercambio) y consumo de carne fresca, se produce exactamente el mismo patrón que se plantea existir con el consumo de ch'arki. Por lo tanto, el asumir el consumo del ch'arki en base a la ausencia de los huesos de la cabeza y las patas puede ser totalmente engañoso.

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