Rethinking the Andes–Amazonia Divide

A cross-disciplinary exploration

Edited by Adrian J. Pearce, David G. Beresford-Jones, and Paul Heggarty

ISBN: 9781787357358

Publication: October 21, 2020

What is this?

Nowhere on Earth is there an ecological transformation so swift and so extreme as between the snow-line of the high Andes and the tropical rainforest of Amazonia. The different disciplines that research the human past in South America have long tended to treat these two great subzones of the continent as self-contained enough to be taken independently of each other. Objections have repeatedly been raised, however, to warn against imagining too sharp a divide between the people and societies of the Andes and Amazonia, when there are also clear indications of significant connections and transitions between them.

Rethinking the Andes–Amazonia Divide brings together archaeologists, linguists, geneticists, anthropologists, ethnohistorians and historians to explore both correlations and contrasts in how the various disciplines see the relationship between the Andes and Amazonia, from deepest prehistory up to the European colonial period. The volume emerges from an innovative programme of conferences and symposia conceived explicitly to foster awareness, discussion and co-operation across the divides between disciplines. Underway since 2008, this programme has already yielded major publications on the Andean past, including History and Language in the Andes (2011) and Archaeology and Language in the Andes (2012).

Adrian J. Pearce is Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American History at UCL.

David G. Beresford-Jones is a fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge.

Paul Heggarty is a senior scientist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, in Jena, Germany.

Introduction: Why Andes-Amazonia? Why Cross-Disciplinary?

Adrian J. Pearce, David Beresford-Jones, and Paul Heggarty

Section 1: Crossing Frontiers: Perspectives from the Various Disciplines

1.1  Archaeology

David Beresford-Jones and Eduardo Machicado Murillo

1.2  Linguistics

Paul Heggarty

1.3  Genetics

Lars Fehren-Schmitz

1.4  Anthropology

 Alf Hornborg

1.5  The Andes-Amazonia Culture Area

Tom Zuidema

Section 2: Deep Time and the Long Chronological Perspective

2.1  Initial East and West Connections across South America

Tom Dillehay

2.2  The Andes-Amazonia Divide and Human Morphological Diversification in South America

André Strauss

2.3  Deep Time and First Settlement: What, If Anything, Can Linguistics Tell Us?

Paul Heggarty

2.4  Early Social Complexity in Northern Peru and its Amazonian Connections — Peter Kaulicke

2.5  Changing Andes-Amazonia Dynamics: El Chuncho Meets El Inca at the End of the Marañón Corridor

Alexander Herrera Wassilowsky

Section 3: Overall Patterns – and Alternative Models

3.1  How Real is the Andes-Amazonia Divide? An Archaeological View from the Eastern Piedmont

 Darryl Wilkinson

3.2  Genetic Diversity Patterns in the Andes and Amazonia

Fabrício Santos

3.3  Genetic Exchanges in the Highland /Lowland Transitional Environments of South America

Chiara Barbieri

3.4  Broad-Scale Patterns Across the Languages of the Andes and Amazonia

Paul Heggarty

3.5  Highland-Lowland Relations: A Linguistic View

Rik van Gijn and Pieter Muysken

3.6  Rethinking the Role of Agriculture and Language Expansion for Ancient Amazonians

Eduardo Góes Neves

3.7  The Pacific Coast and Andean Highlands/Amazonia

Tom Dillehay, Brian McCray, and Patricia J. Netherly

Section 4: Regional Case Studies from the Altiplano and Southern Upper Amazonia

4.1   Linguistic Connections between the Altiplano Region and the Amazonian Lowlands

Willem Adelaar

4.2   Hypothesised Language Relationships across the Andes-Amazonia Divide: The Cases of Uro, Pano-Takana and Mosetén

Roberto Zariquiey

4.3   The Andes as Seen From Mojos

Heiko Prümers

4.4   The Archaeological Significance of Shell Middens in the Llanos de Moxos: Between the Andes and Amazonia

Umberto Lombardo and José M. Capriles

Section 5: Age of Empires: Inca and Spanish Colonial Perspectives

5.1  The Amazonian Indians as Viewed by Three Andean Chroniclers

Vera Tyuleneva

5.2  The Place of Antisuyu in the Discourse of Guamán Poma de Ayala

Cristiana Bertazoni  

5.3  Colonial Coda: The Andes-Amazonia Frontier under Spanish Rule

 Adrian J. Pearce

5.4  A Case Study in Andes-Amazonia Relations under Colonial Rule: The Juan Santos Atahualpa Rebellion (1742–1752)

Adrian J. Pearce

Conclusion: The Andes-Amazonia Divide: Myth and Reality 

Adrian J. Pearce, David Beresford-Jones, and Paul Heggarty



‘This book makes a major contribution to the study of the deep, interregional history of humanity in South America. I am unaware of any other volume that occupies the place envisioned for this work, with the result that it will become a standard book to be read or consulted for some time to come. Overall, it is a professional contribution of real significance that will be widely used across history, genetics, linguistics, and archaeology, as discussion of the kinds of issues treated by this study of Andean-Amazonian relations is badly needed.’ – Terence N. D’Altroy, Columbia University

Format: Open Access PDF

420 Pages

64 colour illustrations

Copyright: © 2020

ISBN: 9781787357358

Publication: October 21, 2020

Scroll to top