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In: Ceramic Analysis in the Andes, I. Druc (ed.) pp.37-56.

Deep University Press


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CHAPTER 3

CHAROPHYTES IN MY PLATE: CERAMIC PRODUCTION


IN PUMAPE, NORTH COAST OF PERU
Isabelle C. Druc
The petrographic analysis of ceramic fragments from the Formative site of Pumape on
the north coast of Peru (figure 1) revealed the presence of skeletal and non- skeletal
fragments (bioclasts) of microfossils, non-skeletal allochems, algae remains, and organicderived porosity, which provide information in regards to the resource areas exploited by
the ancient potters. This ceramic corpus was first examined in the late nineteen nineties
focusing on the mineral composition of the paste, but the technical report, in Spanish,
was only recently published (Druc 2014). The desire to elaborate a map of ceramic
technological traditions for the Jequetepeque Valley and adjacent areas prompted a reexamination of the Pumape ceramics.
The close analysis of the minute bio- and non-biogenic remains and voids in the thin
sections brought to light new data, which is presented here and interpreted following the
concepts of technological tradition and cultural technology (e.g. Gosselain 1992, 2000;
Lemonnier 1976, 1986, 2010) and related interpretative framework of community of
practice (e.g. Cordell and Habicht-Mauche 2012). Considering that a technology is an
integral part of a social organization, these concepts highlight the importance to
recognize the numerous socio-cultural factors influencing craft production and
distribution, as well as the behavior of producers and consumers. In the case of ceramic
production, these factors influence the choices made in terms of types of raw materials
used, resource areas mined, paste recipes, and elaboration techniques. These choices are
in great part determined by the community to which the potters belong, technological
tradition, habits, and network of relationships a potter has. The environment and local
geology are however important to consider, mostly in terms of conditions of production
and available resources. Indeed, it is only by recognizing the variety of resources available
locally and regionally that the choices made by the potters regarding the raw materials
used can be acknowledged. The reasons for such choices are then to be explained or
understood taking into account the potters' community of practice and the socio-cultural
or political factors affecting production.
Consequently, mapping the technological traditions of the Formative ceramics found in
the Jequetepeque Valley and adjacent areas should help us not only better understand
ceramic production and distribution at the local and regional scales, but also the sociopolitical relationships occurring at that time in this region. So far, the analysis of the
ceramics from the highland ceremonial site of Kuntur Wasi in the upper Jequetepeque

3 - Charophytes in my plate: Ceramic production in Pumape


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basin, as well as the examination of ceramics from sites in the Middle and Lower
Jequetepeque suggest that each site is characterized by a particular technological
tradition or set of traditions (Druc 2012, 2013; Druc and Inokuchi 2015).

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