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Article

Bahía  

Jorge G. Marcos

Pre-Columbian regional culture of coastal Ecuador that flourished c. 500 bcc. ad 500. Archaeological field research by Emilio Estrada and Matthew and Marion Stirling at Manta, Manabí, identified a platform-mounded Bahía urban and ceremonial centre. Since no extensive excavation of the area was conducted, the only evidence for Bahía houses is a number of terracotta models, similar in form to examples from China; some archaeologists, such as Meggers, consider them as evidence of transpacific influence. Excavation of a few test pits produced a relative ceramic sequence and some radiocarbon assays. In the Guayas Basin, to the south, Bahía-like Tejar and Guayaquil phases have been described by Meggers and Parducci. Bahía pottery appears to have evolved from the earlier Chorrera style developed by intensive farming communities in the rich alluvial valleys of central Manabí and the Guayas Basin. Bahía potters practised a highly developed craft, having mastered not only traditional coiled construction but also slip-casting, a technique introduced during the Chorrera period. They were proficient in controlled smudging and resist decoration, and excelled in the use of polychrome slips, employing a wide spectrum of mineral and organic pigments. Another characteristic was decoration encrusted after firing in brilliant yellows, reds, greens and blues. Flutes, ocarinas and flamboyantly decorated whistling bottles with spouts and strap handles imitated human and animal forms. At ...

Article

Peter W. Stahl

Pre-Columbian culture, named after the site of La Chorrera on the River Babahoyo, in the Guayas Basin, Ecuador. It flourished between c. 1000 and c. 500 bc, during Ecuador’s Late Formative period (c. 1500 bcc. 500 bc). The terms ‘Chorrera’ and ‘Chorreroid series’ encompass a number of diverse but related cultures of the Guayas coast, ranging northwards from the province of El Oro to the northern area of the province of Manabí and reaching inland to the banks of the Daule and Babahoyo rivers.

The Chorrera style shows particular affinity to the earliest stages of the art of the Engoroy phase (c. 900–c. 500 bc). La Chorrera itself was discovered by F. Huerta Rendón, and later work was carried out by Emilio Estrada, Clifford Evans, and Betty Meggers.

The culture represents the apogee of the early art styles of Ecuador, having a wide geographical distribution and serving as a basic foundation for subsequent developments. During the Late Formative period, the use of metal was introduced, along with the manufacture of earrings and new types of figurines, figure modelling, red and white zoned ceramics, and negative-painted wares. The ...

Article

George Bankes

Pre-Columbian culture and art style of South America. It was centred on a small, dry valley c. 50 km north of the Chicama Valley, Peru. Various sites were located and excavated in the 1930s by Rafael Larco Hoyle. Ceramics from Cupisnique burials and stone-walled structures in the Chicama Valley were attributed to the north-coast version of the Chavín style in the Central Andean area. Lumbreras suggested that Cupisnique ceramics were contemporaneous with the ‘Ofrendas’ style of Chavín and therefore dated between c. 800 and c. 300 bc. Cupisnique pottery has also been found in the Moche and Nepeña valleys south of Chicama. The earliest date for the Cupisnique culture has been pushed back to c. 1000 bc using radiocarbon measurements from such temples as the Huaca de Los Reyes in Moche with its enormous unbaked clay feline heads. Both Larco and A. R. Sawyer proposed chronologies for Cupisnique ceramics. Sawyer defined Early Cupisnique pottery (...

Article

Jorge G. Marcos

Pre-Columbian culture of coastal Ecuador, which flourished c. 500 bcc. ad 500. Archaeological research initiated by Geoffrey Bushnell in 1951 has shown that the Guangala people occupied the forest of the Santa Elena Peninsula from the Chongón-Colonche Cordillera to the sea, extending north through the narrow coastal strip of southern Manabí Province. Like their predecessors, who made Engoroy style pottery, the Guangala people were experts at farming dry land, mostly using condensed fog for irrigation, as well as being accomplished sailors. Ceramic wares similar to those of Engoroy and Guangala have been found in Guatemala, suggesting that a long-distance trade network between Ecuador and Mesoamerica already existed at this period. Studies of settlement patterns in the Chanduy Valley show that Guangala people established permanent hamlets in diverse micro-environments, as well as larger sites, which served as centres of economic, religious, and political power, and regional and long-distance trade. Guangala houses were built on a rectangular plan and had wooden frames and wattle-and-daub construction, with ornate baked clay eaves, window, and door frames....

Article

Paracas  

Helaine Silverman

Name given to a Pre-Columbian culture of the Central Andean area. The culture is named after the Paracas peninsula in Peru, 300 km south of Lima, the location of an important Pre-Columbian site discovered by Julio C. Tello and S. K. Lothrop in 1925 (see also South America, Pre-Columbian). By 1927 three distinct cemetery areas on the peninsula, known as Cabeza Larga, Cavernas and Necropolis, had been located and excavated. Each contained mummy bundles or ‘fardels’ wrapped in exceptionally fine multicoloured embroidered cloths (see fig.). The Necropolis area contained more than 400 conical bundles. Some were noticeably richer than others and were composed of up to several hundred textiles, arranged in layers of plain cloths and decorated mantles, shirts, loin cloths, ponchos, skirts, turbans and belts. Together, the three Paracas peninsula burial areas yielded thousands of iconographically complex, technically excellent textiles, now in museums throughout the world. The Paracas textiles varied in style over the time during which the burial grounds were used. The earliest (...

Article

Salinar  

George Bankes

Pre-Columbian culture and art style that flourished in northern Peru c. 500–c. 300 bc, during the Early Horizon and the beginning of the Early Intermediate period. Salinar culture was more localized than the contemporary Chavín culture; Salinar artefacts, especially pottery, were first discovered in 1941 at a cemetery in the upper Chicama Valley by the Peruvian archaeologist Rafael Larco Hoyle. The tombs were outside the modern cultivated area, stratified below Moche burials and intrusive on some Cupisnique interments. This chronological evidence, together with iconographic evidence, placed Salinar after the Cupisnique style of the Early Horizon and before the Moche culture of the Early Intermediate period. Fieldwork by the Virú Valley Project in the 1940s showed a definite Salinar occupation of the Virú Valley. Between 1969 and 1974 Salinar burials and occupation sites were also found in the Moche Valley by the Chan Chan–Moche Valley Project directed by Christopher Donnan. In Salinar decorative art there is no evidence of the feline themes dominant in Cupisnique art; however, five bone spatulas with incised designs similar to those carved on Cupisnique examples were found by Larco (Lima, Mus. Arqueol. Larco Herrara), but neither were they well-made nor was the motif a particularly close imitation of Cupisnique design. Salinar ...