Challuabamba (chī-wa-bamba)-now a developing suburb of Cuenca,
the principal city in the southern highlands of Ecuador-has been
known for a century as an ancient site that produced exceptionally
fine pottery in great quantities. Suspecting that Challuabamban
ceramics might provide a link between earlier, preceramic culture
and later, highly developed Formative period art, Terence Grieder
led an archaeological investigation of the site between 1995 and
2001. In this book, he and the team of art historians and
archaeologists who excavated at Challuabamba present their
findings, which establish the community's importance as a center in
a network of trade and artistic influence that extended to the
Amazon River basin and the Pacific Coast.
Art and Archaeology of Challuabamba, Ecuador
presents an extensive analysis of ceramics dating to 2100-1100 BC,
along with descriptions of stamps and seals, stone and shell
artifacts, burials and their offerings, human remains, and
zooarchaeology. Grieder and his coauthors demonstrate that the
pottery of Challuabamba fills a gap between early and late
Formative styles and also has a definite connection with later
highland styles in Peru. They draw on all the material remains to
reconstruct the first clear picture of Challuabamba's prehistory,
including agriculture and health, interregional contacts and
exchange, red-banded incised ware and ceramic production, and
shamanism and cosmology.
Because southern Ecuador has received relatively little
archaeological study, Art and Archaeology of Challuabamba,
Ecuador offers important baseline data for what promises to
be a key sector of the prehistoric Andean region.
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