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The Process of Sedentism in Northwestern South America

  • J. Scott Raymond

Village life had an early start in the lowlands of northwestern South America, compared to most other areas of the New World. In western Ecuador permanent settlements were firmly established by the late fourth millennium BC. A little earlier, semi-sedentary communities developed in northern Colombia. On the Pacific side of Panama sedentism lagged behind the other two regions but signs of the beginnings of village life were evident by as early as the middle of the third millennium BC. The ecological configurations vary among each of these regions; however, each comprises a lowland tropical environment, cut by rivers and bordered by the sea. In the highlands of the northern Andes, the development of permanent villages was delayed by two or three thousand years (Bruhns 2003; Correal Urrego 2000; Lippi 2003; Raymond 1998). For each of these regions—western Ecuador, northern Colombia, and Pacific Panama—archaeological sequences exist that allow some insight into the social and economic conditions that existed before and during the founding of sedentary communities. Here I first examine each of these sequences and then attempt some comparisons between the three. The character and detail of the archaeological and palaeoenvironmental research vary among the three regions, which to some extent limits the possibility of making valid comparisons.

Keywords

Base Camp Permanent Settlement American Antiquity Shell Midden Funerary Rite 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Scott Raymond
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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