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Chungará (Arica)

On-line version ISSN 0717-7356

Abstract

BELMONTE, Eliana et al. PRESENCIA DE LA HOJA DE COCA EN EL AJUAR FUNERARIO DE TRES CEMENTERIOS DEL PERIODO TIWANAKU: AZ-140, AZ-6 y PLM-3. Chungará (Arica) [online]. 2001, vol.33, n.1, pp.125-135. ISSN 0717-7356.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-73562001000100022.

In northernmost Chile, as in the Andean precolumbian world, the use of the coca leaf is tied to Andean reciprocity and communal solidarity. The work we have done with the coca leaves found in funerary contexts demonstrates its ritual and daily consumption which suggests local coca leaf production as well as the introduction of coca leaves from other zones. Ethnohistoric evidence from the 16th century mentions coca cultivation in Arica and the nearby highlands, though geographic areas of cultivation are not specified. The biological characteristics of the coca plant would have allowed for the cultivation of coca in this area; one example is Erythroxylum novogranatense var. Truxillense, variety described as adapted to arid, coastal climates. The main objective of this study is to investigate evidence of coca in the region as well as to taxonomically define the organic material found in the containers (bags) of the funerary bundles. The botanical methodology consists in identifying leaf venation patterns of 107 whole leaves and 4418 plant fragments originating from 51 tombs found in three archaeological sites located in Azapa Valley (Az-140 and Az-6) and on the Arica coast (PLM-3). These tombs belong to the Late Intermediate Period (300 B.C. to 1300 A.D.). The results of the anatomic analysis show heterogeneity in the bag contents (chuspa in quechua and soncos in aymara). The venation pattern indicates a predominance of the brochidodromous type, identified in coca varieties. The presence of eucamptodromous and flabellate venation patterns suggests genera other than Erythroxylum. Some discussion remains concerning the presence of fern leaves in a bag from a coastal site (PLM-3)

Keywords : Coca leaves; Tiwanaku Period.

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