Thursday, May 18, 2017

When warfare and climatic challenges threaten food security

an ancient people adapt to sustain life within a challenging high-altitude environment

What do we know about ancient farming on the Bolivian altiplano near Lake Titicaca? Probably, we know very little. We might be aware that the number one superfood is quinoa, and that it comes from somewhere near Lake Titicaca in Bolivia.

Perhaps your box of Ancient Grain will tell you that the grain is 3 or 4,000 years old. If you have climbed the steps to The Temple of the Moon on an island on Lake Titicaca, you know the effects on the human body at an altitude of over 13,000 ft. Or, if you have been on a tour to the ancient site of Tiahuanaco, you are convinced that organized communities did survive in that breath-stealing region.

Well, there is much more to know about the ancient farming people of Ayawiri living in the hinterlands of Lake Titicaca 3,000 years ago; Dr. BrieAnna Langlie has agreed to enlighten us.

Dr. Langlie received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Washing-ton University in St. Louis in 2016. Currently she is an in-structor at Loyola University. She specializes in paleoethno-botany and is interested in the development and long-term sustainability of agricultural systems.

The history of the crops of the Andes is rich territory for her interests. She has been studying how terraced fields, cropping schemes and food-ways were affected by war-fare and climate oscillations for Ayawiri between AD 1100 and 1450.

She is also involved in ongoing and collaborative research on agricultural terraces, and the domestication of quinoa, potatoes, and other Andean crops. How did the people manage to farm, raise or herd cattle in this challenging environment and fight the Incas who were savage warriors?
Please remember that admission to this and to all CAS meetings is free and open to the public.

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