Diversity of cultivars and other plant resources used at habitation sites in the Llanos de Mojos, Beni, Bolivia: evidence from macrobotanical remains, starch grains, and phytoliths

Ruth Dickau, Maria C. Bruno, Jose Iriarte, Heiko Pruemers, Carla Jaimes Betancourt, Irene Holst, Francis E. Mayle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although sparsely populated today, the Llanos de Mojos, Bolivia, sustained large sedentary societies in the Late Holocene (ca. 500 to 1400 AD). In order to gain insight into the subsistence of these people, we undertook macrobotanical and phytolith analyses of sediment samples, and starch grain and phytolith analyses of artifact residues, from four large habitation sites within this region. Macrobotanical remains show the presence of maize (lea mays), squash (Cucurbita sp.), peanut (Arachis hypogaea), cotton (Gossypium sp.), and palm fruits (Arecaceae). Microbotanical results confirm the widespread use of maize at all sites, along with manioc (Manihot esculenta), squash, and yam (Dioscorea sp.). These integrated results present the first comprehensive archaeobotanical evidence of the diversity of plants cultivated, processed, and consumed, by the pre-Hispanic inhabitants of the Amazonian lowlands of Bolivia. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-370
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012

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