Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 577–590

Archaeobotanical remains found in a house at the archaeological site of Cardonal, valle del Cajón, Argentina: a view of food practices 1,800 years ago

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00334-013-0406-2

Cite this article as:
Calo, C.M. Veget Hist Archaeobot (2014) 23: 577. doi:10.1007/s00334-013-0406-2


This paper explores food and daily activities in domestic areas at the archaeological site of Cardonal, Provincia de Catamarca, Argentina. It is based on archaeobotanical carpological macro remains recovered by flotation techniques in a residential compound. A set of five taxa including wild plants such as Geoffroea decorticans (chañar), Phaseolus vulgaris var. aborigineus (wild bean), Prosopis sp. (algarrobo) and the crops P. vulgaris var. vulgaris (domesticated bean) and Zea mays (maize) were identified. These well-known staples of ancient communities in this area suggest that the Cardonal people combined agriculture with foraging practices, taking advantage of a diversified environment and extensive social networks. The most abundant plant food remains were bean cotyledons and maize cupules, which were densely concentrated in the “kitchen”, near the hearth. Conversely, chañar endocarps, algarrobo seeds and also Chenopodium sp. seeds were almost exclusively confined to the “patio”, in the hearth area. As a result, two distinct food-related activity areas could be identified, defined by the relative density of plant remains, occurrence of plant taxa and the different practices of processing and consumption which they evoke.


Northwestern Argentina Formative period Archaeobotany Food practices Domestic areas 

Supplementary material

334_2013_406_MOESM1_ESM.doc (75 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 75 kb)
334_2013_406_MOESM2_ESM.doc (56 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 55 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Museo Etnográfico “J.B. Ambrosetti”, Universidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina

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