Table

Return Rates for Collective Hunting Subsistence Strategy species total kg and kcal/family group return rate per number of participants3

Guanaco 460/300,880b

Taruca 188/128,966c

Vicuna 220/179,760d

50,146 37,610 30,088

10,747 8,060 6,448

29,960 22,470 17,976

a Based on two hours of pursuit time per participant.

b Estimates based on family group including one adult male (110 kg), three adult females (80 kg each), and two juveniles

(55 kg each; Aldenderfer 1998, Table 9.6). c Estimates based on family group including one adult male (52 kg), two adult females (42 kg each), and two juveniles

(26 kg each; Aldenderfer 1998, Table 9.6). d Estimates based on family group size including one adult male (50 kg), three adult females (40 kg each), and two juveniles (25 kg each).

1990, 135-136). Another effective strategy that could be used to hunt these animals would take advantage of two of their behavioral characteristics: their territoriality and their tendency to descend to the river bottoms to escape pursuit. If a group of hunters could get above their territories, they could essentially "beat" the animals down slope where they could be taken by hunters awaiting them there. A material correlate of this strategy may be the Qhuna phase open-air sites, which lie just below the quenual slopes. However, this hunting strategy has the added cost of increasing the number of hunters, thus diminishing the return rate unless more than one animal is taken.

Although the foraging efficiency of the chenopods is quite low, the return rates per gatherer per collecting day within the foraging radius are relatively high, and since they are additive—more gatherers are capable of obtaining more of the resource until the patch is exhausted or within-patch search time increases significantly—it is clear that two gatherers are capable of provisioning a family of five, including a slight surplus, from within the typical foraging radius if they spend 10 hours/day directed at gathering pursuits. This is somewhat longer than many known ethnographic foragers living in similar arid environments, and it suggests that children may well have been drawn into the subsistence quest if family size was small. However, the evidence from Qhuna phase Asana suggests that families were likely larger than five individuals. Even if they had as many as eight members, however, three cheno-pod collectors could still provision the entire group over the course of an eight-hour collecting day. These calculations also show, however, that a subsistence strategy based upon intensive chenopod collection may well have been risky in the face of drought, because any shortfall of precipitation would have reduced the number of plants, especially in the lower high sierra, and would have forced gatherers to spend longer days collecting either by increasing search and processing time within patches or travel time to more distant patches beyond the foraging radius.

Since Qhuna phase Asana was a sedentary occupation, could chenopods have supported its population year-round? As Table 8.1 shows, there are approximately 1000 ha of high quality chenopod patches in the Rio Asana valley within the eight-hour foraging radius. Assuming each hectare produces an average of 70 kg/ha, these patches could support just over 250 people/year assuming 2500 kcal/person/day. Although we do not have a firm estimate of population size at Asana for each occupational level of the site, the number of domestic structures present and

FIGURE 8.5. Representation of collective hunt strategy. Note the line-up of anthropomorphs. From Cueva Cimmarona, a small rock-shelter near the Rio Asana drainage.

FIGURE 8.5. Representation of collective hunt strategy. Note the line-up of anthropomorphs. From Cueva Cimmarona, a small rock-shelter near the Rio Asana drainage.

their sizes suggest that the total population may have been 50-60 individuals.

At first glance, the collective hunting strategy appears to be highly efficient (Table 8.5). Custred (1979) and Rick (1980, 328-29), among others, have argued that the most efficient hunting technique for the vicuña family group is a collective, surround technique in which animals are driven into cul-de-sacs or are prevented from moving with a human blockade. This technique is used today by Andean herders who surround vicuñas to shear their wool. A group of 20-30 people surround the family group or male troop, and gradually push the animals into a tight knot. Individual animals are sheared, then released. Hunters could just as easily surround a family group and kill all of its members. This strategy is illustrated in the rock art of the Andean highlands (Figure 8.5), and could have been extended to both the guanaco and the taruca. With six participants hunting guanaco, it has the highest re turn rate of all of the procurement strategies, and even with ten participants, it has a return rate greater than three collectors of chenopods working six hours. The taruca collective hunting strategy is less efficient than the guanaco strategy, primarily because of the smaller body size of the prey within the family group, and has return rates comparable to two chenopod collectors working a six-hour day.

However, there are two problematic features of the collective hunting strategy, one short-term and the other long-term. The short-term problem is getting enough people to encircle the family group effectively. Six individuals appears to be the absolute minimum, and clearly, larger numbers of people are preferable. The number of participating individuals in ethnohistori-cally recorded surrounds ranged into the many hundreds; these were sponsored by leaders of complex societies, however, and are not comparable to those likely to have been done by early

Andean hunters. It is obvious that as the numbers of participants increased, the return rate would diminish proportionately.

The long-term problem is concerned with the issue of resource conservation and hunting strategies. Consensus is beginning to emerge that foraging peoples reliant upon hunting do not conserve game, and tend to take numbers of prey in excess of the maximum sustainable yield in many instances (Alvard and Kuznar 2001). The reasons for this are multiple, and indeed, foraging theory predicts that hunters will tend to maximize short-term returns at the expense of long-term consequences, and that hunters take prey as predicted by typical diet breadth or central place models regardless of the "prey species' vulnerability, reproductive value, or state of local depletion." (Alvard and Kuznar 2001). If this had been the case, it would have been relatively easy for hunters to quickly decimate local populations of camelids and taruca, which were never present in very large numbers (see Table 8.2).

Whether this occurred in the Río Asana valley is unknown. Based on excavation data from the Junin puna, Rick (1980; Rick and Moore 2001) has made a strong case that Andean hunters were resource stewards. He argued that hunters, no matter what strategy they employed, could have easily identified male animals in camelid family groups due to their tendency to move forward toward predators as the other members of the family group retreated. I have argued that conservation may have occurred in the Río Asana valley of the western flanks of the Andes (Aldenderfer 1998, 285-87), but have re-evaluated this position in a more recent publication, and have shown that a "cultural logic" of short-term benefits chosen over long-term considerations may in fact be a better explanation of Andean hunting strategies (Aldenderfer 2002, 405). Indeed, as I shall discuss below, the use of this hunting strategy may have been a contributing factor to the ultimate herding, rather than hunting, of the guanaco.

Likewise, it is difficult to estimate the labor trade-offs chenopod collectors may have made to participate in these hunts. Should they have been successful, they would have obviated the need for daily collecting trips to provision families. However, this has to be balanced against the probability that the return (the amount of meat) for any individual in that collective labor investment would have been shared across a much larger number of people unlike the returns from chenopod collection, which would have been shared only within the family. This would have certainly reduced the payoff substantially, and as a consequence, women may have resisted participation in these hunts if probabilities of failure and a potentially large pool of participants was deemed to be too large.

In summary, an optimal diet for Qhuna phase foragers was based upon women's collecting of chenopods and men's hunting of guanaco within the foraging radius. Taruca hunting was lower ranked and would have been a secondary hunting pursuit for men. The faunal evidence from the site supports this inference: NISP counts of taruca make up far less than one percent of the total assemblage (Aldenderfer 1998, 231). Collective hunting strategies may have been employed as well, but women may have resisted participation in them because payoffs for their labor may not have sufficiently provisioned their families (children). Although chenopod collection could have supported the entire Qhuna phase population at Asana, any substantial lack of rainfall or change in its periodicity could have led to short-term provisioning crises. Given the relatively low return rates for the chenopods, it would have been difficult to store large enough quantities to alleviate such crises unless larger numbers of collectors (i.e. men) were employed to that end. Indeed, the lack of obvious storage facilities at Asana suggests that this strategy was not employed unless it was needed.

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