Pernil Alto: Transition to early agriculture in Southern Peru / Hermann Gorbahn

In his dissertation, now published as a book, Hermann Gorbahn presents the results of his research at the site of Pernil Alto in Southern Peru. The site dates to the sixth millennium cal BP and is located on the Andean foothills of the Peruvian coastal desert. It was a small village of 18 huts, where people were also buried. The investigations of the site were carried out within the project ‘Andean Transect’ of the Commission for Archaeology of Non-European Cultures of the German Archaeological Institute (link). They documented that a transition from a low-level food- production subsistence economy to a subsistence economy based on agriculture occurred around 5300 cal BP. Pernil Alto is thus one of the oldest agricultural villages in the Central Andes known to date. These results are relevant in order to reconstruct the emergence of early complex societies on the Peruvian central coast at the beginning of the fifth millennium BP, which subsequently formed the nucleus of later cultural developments of the Central Andes.

Hermann Gorbahn completed his PhD thesis in the framework of the Graduate School ‘Human Development in Landscapes’ (GSC 208). In addition to his position within the Graduate School, he was also supported by Graduate School research funds.

Gorbahn, Hermann: Pernil Alto. An agricultural village of the Middle Archaic period in Southern Peru. Forschungen zur Archäologie Außereuropäischer Kulturen 17. Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz Verlag 2020. ISBN: 978-3-447-11417-2 (link)

GorbahnThe site of Pernil Alto on the right margin of the Rio Grande, Southern Peru (Photo: Project "Andean Transect"/KAAK, DAI/Johny Isla).


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