Bordos and Boundaries: Sustainable Agriculture in the High Altitude Deserts of Northwest Argentina, AD 850-1532

Authors
Salminci, Pedro Miguel; Tchilinguirian, Pablo; Lane, Kevin John
Publication Year
2014
Language
English
Format
article
Status
Published version
Description
Bordos were essential for the long-term sustainability of agriculture in the high altitude desert of Antofagasta de la Sierra in Northwest Argentina during the Late (AD 850 – 1480) and Inca Period (AD 1480 – 1532). Bordos were lineal humps of soil that stimulated the pedogenesis of the predominantly sandy soils of the area. Furthermore, they served as boundaries delimiting irrigation and cultivation fields. Therefore, bordos alongside other technologies were an efficient means by which viable farming was possible in an otherwise marginal agricultural zone. Besides explaining the role of bordos in the context of Northwestern Argentine agriculture this article describes the irrigation systems in place at Antofagasta de la Sierra throughout this period and compares it to the present state of affairs. Our results demonstrate that these late Prehispanic bordos and irrigation networks were well set out and organized such that use of water and soil was efficient, proportional and fair. The Inca do not seem to have disrupted these systems or local autonomy over them. In contrast, modern water and soil is characterized by a household-level decentralized management system. This situation leads to serious conflicts over water use allocations, wastage and flawed irrigation resulting in rising ground salinization.
Fil: Salminci, Pedro Miguel. Secretaría de Cultura de la Nación. Dirección Nacional de Cultura y Museos. Instituto Nacional de Antropología y Pensamiento Latinoamericano; Argentina. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina
Fil: Tchilinguirian, Pablo. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina. University of Cambridge. Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology; Reino Unido
Fil: Lane, Kevin John. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina. University of Cambridge. Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology; Reino Unido
Subject
PREHISPANIC ANDEAN AGRICULTURE
IRRIGATION NETWORK
WATER MANAGEMENT
NORTHWEST ARGENTINA
DESERT ENVIROMENT
BORDOS TECHNOLOGY
HYDRAULIC MANAGEMENT
Historia
Historia y Arqueología
HUMANIDADES
Access level
Open access
License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ar/
Repository
CONICET Digital (CONICET)
Institution
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas
OAI Identifier
oai:ri.conicet.gov.ar:11336/37170