“A welcome addition to the sparse but growing literature on the upper Amazon region. One of the strengths of this volume is that it includes contributions from multiple countries; even though national borders would have had no impact on ancient societies, they too often constrain our contemporary discussions of the past.”—Robyn Cutright, Centre College
“Demonstrates that archaeology of the uppermost reaches of the Amazon Basin is, indeed, indispensable to a fuller appreciation and enriched understanding of South America’s indigenous history. This well-written and illustrated volume should find a place of pride in your library.”—José R. Oliver, author of Caciques and Cemí Idols: The Web Spun by Taino Rulers Between Hispaniola and Puerto Rico
This volume brings together archaeologists working in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia to construct a new prehistory of the upper Amazon, outlining cultural developments from the late third millennium B.C. to the Inca Empire of the sixteenth century A.D. Encompassing the forested tropical slopes of the eastern Andes as well as Andean drainage systems that connect to the Amazon River basin, this vast region has been unevenly studied due to the restrictions of national borders, remote site locations, and limited interpretive models.
The Archaeology of the Upper Amazon unites and builds on recent field investigations that have found evidence of extensive interaction networks along the major rivers—Santiago, Marañon, Huallaga, and Ucayali. Chapters detail how these rivers facilitated the movement of people, resources, and ideas between the Andean highlands and the Amazonian lowlands. Contributors demonstrate that the upper Amazon was not a peripheral zone but a locus for complex societal developments. Reaching across geographical, cultural, and political boundaries, this volume shows that the trajectory of Andean civilization cannot be fully understood without a nuanced perspective on the region’s diverse patterns of interaction with the upper Amazon.
Ryan Clasby is research associate in anthropology at Skidmore College. Jason Nesbitt is associate professor of anthropology at Tulane University.