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The Evolution of Social Hierarchy in a Muisca Chiefdom of the Northern Andes of Colombia
La Evolución de Jerarquía Social en un Cacicazgo Muisca de los Andes Septentrionales de Colombia


by Ana María Boada Rivas

An archaeological study of the evolution of social complexity in the Valle de Samacá, Colombia, between AD 800 and AD 1600. This research documents the development of social hierarchy in one Muisca community and assesses the roles of resource control, wealth accumulation, prestige, and authority, as well as the interplay between these things as registered in the archaeological evidence recovered from the site of El Venado. The archaeological and ethnohistorical data analyzed indicate that emerging elites at El Venado did not rely on a single economic or ideological strategy for building social hierarchy, but instead on several intertwined strategies for gaining and maintaining social prestige and wealth. Feasting and ceremonialism were more involved in earlier strategies, during the Late Herrera period, while the creation of wealth through tribute and textile production developed more strongly during the subsequent Early and Late Muisca periods. Complete text in English and Spanish.

Memoirs in Latin American Archaeology, No. 17, published by University of Pittsburgh Latin American Archaeology Publications and Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia (ICANH), Bogotá, 2007. 272 pp. ISBN: 978-1-877812-83-5.

Paperback: $38.00 (shipping included). Order code M017.
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