Social zooarchaeology at Nortwestern Argentina

I’m a zooarchaelogist, meaning that my field of research is the analysis of faunal remains at sites. These range from the refuse of killing and consumption of herd animals, to sacrifices made at burials. My work is focused on the agrarian communities of the semiarid valleys of Northwestern Argentina, from 500 B.C. to 1500 AD.

The first step on faunal analysis is the description of bones or bone fragments found at sites, identifying their anatomical source, taxonomy and the post-mortem traces left by humans and natural agents. The goal is to picture the chain of activities that produced the evidence in its actual state.  Later, you try to test different hypothesis about behavior and their cultural, economic or political constraints. My main interests are those practices that are conditioned by economic and political inequalities. From the 500 to 1450 AD the northwestern of Argentina was the stage of various complex organizations and polities (regional cults, chiefdoms). Later, it was conquered by the Inca Empire. These social transformations were based on the extraction of surplus production from peasant communities, and justified by tradition and ritual practices.

Right now I’m doing my postdoctoral research, and working on publishing the results of my doctoral research. I work at the Museo Etnográfico J. B. Ambrosetti (Universidad de Buenos Aires).


Carlos Belotti López de Medina, Phd.