South america archaeology, muisca, chibcha, dietary reconstruction, dietary analysis, chiefdoms, intermediate, preferential diet, restrictive diet, chief, bacata, hunza, bogota, tunja, colombia
The Muisca people of the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia had an exceptionally complex diet, which is the result of specific subsistence strategies, environmental advantages, and social restrictions. The distinct varieties of microclimates, caused by the sharp elevations in this part of the Andes, allows for a great biodiversity of plants and animals that was accessible to the native population. The crops of domesticated and adopted plants of the Muisca include a wide variety of tubers, cereals, fruits, and leaves that are described in detail in this thesis. The Muisca used an agricultural method known as microverticality where the different thermic floors are utilized to grow an impressive variety of species at various elevations and climates. This group also domesticated the guinea pig, controlled deer populations and possibly practiced pisiculture, patterns that are also described in this text. Some of the foods of the Muisca were restricted to specific social groups, such as the consumption of deer and maize by the chiefly classes and the consumption of roots and tubers by the lower class, hence the complexity of their dietary practices. The utensils utilized in the preparation and processing of foods, including ceramics and stone tools were once of extreme importance in the evolution of the Muisca diet and form an important part of this research as well as the culinary methods that are described in the Spanish chronicles and by contemporary experts. The majority of food products utilized by the Muisca in antiquity are still part of the diet of contemporary Colombians and the current uses of these foods can allow us to understand how these products were used by this pre-Columbian society. On the other hand, knowledge of the practices used by the Muisca can facilitate the preservation of these foods in the modern diet and avoid the introduction and replacement of these foods by nonnative products, which can be less nutritious.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Anthropology; Archaeological Investigation
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic;
Garcia, Jorge Luis, "The Foods And Crops Of The Muisca: A Dietary Reconstruction Of The Intermediate Chiefdoms Of Bogota (bacata) And Tunja (hunza), Colombia" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2131.