Spatial and temporal variation in stone raw material provisioning in the Chivay obsidian source area
Research into the prehistoric procurement of widely circulated raw materials provides an opportunity to investigate changes in the mechanisms of exchange through time and the impact of regional demand on local provisioning systems. Raw material sources are often exploited to meet both local and regional needs, but parsing the effects of local from regional demand at a lithic source can be complex. By focusing on the relationship between the artifacts found at raw material source workshops and at local sites, archaeologists can gain information about exploitation of the lithic source, as well as local and regional provisioning in prehistory. This chapter focuses on lithic artifacts found in the vicinity of the Chivay obsidian source that lies above the Colca Valley of Arequipa and the documented regional consumption of obsidian from this source in prehispanic times. Comparisons of local obsidian consumption with production at the source indicate that quarrying in the principal obsidian source area was not carried out by local residents for local consumption. This suggests the operation of two distinct procurement and distribution systems: (1) embedded procurement for a down-the-line exchange mode of distribution, disseminating relatively small nodules of Chivay obsidian into local and regional consumption zones, and (2) direct procurement by caravans of large nodules at the source, specifically for regional consumption.
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