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The Early Manchachi Slate on Red Period (?-A.D. 1480)

This early period comprises all pre-Inka occupation. The survey in the Khosko Toro region revealed very few sites dating to this era. In the surveyed zone, just two sites were detected. The largest settlement (Site S-7) was located in the western canopied forest, buried underneath the Cuz- cotuyo Inka complex (Figure 6.2). This location demonstrates that local populations had occupied the site before the arrival of the Inka. The second site (S-10) is in the western Pucara plains and included both pre-Inka and Inka components. Considering the scarcity of surface materials, it was difficult to define the nature or function of this early occupation.

Because no other local or Guarani sites were detected in the survey, we can only conclude that the indigenous occupation before the Inka conquest was characterized by low settlement densities—a likely reflection of shifting residential patterns of semimobile swidden agriculturalists dwelling in the tropical mountains. This type of adaptation must have required the use of an extensive territory for temporary farming on the alluvium, and hunting and gathering in the upper mountains like Khosko Toro. Two additional factors might have contributed to such a sparse occupation. One factor might be the creation of wide, unoccupied buffer territories to minimize intertribal conflict, a common practice among tropical and Amazonian groups (DeBoer 1981; Upham 1986). A second factor could relate to broader perceptions of space and territoriality. For the Guarani and adjacent semimobile groups, an optimal territorial range (or guara) included a sizable area with sufficient wildlife to hunt and fish, and strategic access to good-quality arable land. Therefore, each tribe owned a sizable guara, which was spatially defined by rivers, mountains, and other natural landmarks. Intrusion by other groups into these territories was considered a critical offense, and the cause of potential intertribal conflict

The Khosko Toro region. The map shows the location of ancient settlements identified in the survey in a topographic layout

Figure 6.2. The Khosko Toro region. The map shows the location of ancient settlements identified in the survey in a topographic layout.

(Susnik 1982:25). Another possibility that cannot be discounted is that local residents did not leave material traces that could be archaeologically identified.

Altogether, the fragmentary archaeological evidence hints that the Guaram-Chiriguanos did not move into the Khosko Toro forested mountain prior to the arrival of the Inka. This situation stands in stark contrast with the early Guaram-Chiriguano settlements documented in other areas of the Chaco, such as San Pedro or Monteagudo (Parssinen and Si- irainen 2003). Unlike Khosko Toro, however, these sites were on the lower alluvium or in proximity to river areas, illustrating the Guarani settlement preferences.

More likely, the few local inhabitants maintained some form of affiliation with western valley groups and other pre-Chiriguano populations. This is manifested by the fact that the Manchachi Slate and Red local pottery exhibits technological features more consistent with western valley polities (for example, slate in the paste, a red slip on the surface, and the absence of crushed sherds as temper). In fact, based on ethnohistoric narratives, we know that Arawak-related groups like the Chane, Arawak, and Payzunos inhabited the region. The Candires are also mentioned as a neighboring tribe, perhaps in association with the legendary Candire. Although of tropical origins, some of these peoples maintained long-term ties with sub-Andean valley populations (Barragan Romano 1994; Julien 2007; Lathrap 1970; Renard-Casevitz et al. 1988; Saignes 1985, 1990). For example, the Payzunos are described as mobile merchants and key players in the broad exchange networks that crossed the Andes and the Amazon (Susnik 1968).

 
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