June 23, 2015

Long-Distance Scarlet Macaw Trade Pushed Back 150 Years

New radio-carbon dating of bird remains in a Chacoan site in New Mexico finds that long distance trade networks began 150 years sooner than thought in that area. This means that social and political hierarchies emerged sooner than thought. The trade in macaw feathers from Mesoamerica started in the 9th century, it not appears. The macaw, chocolate and turquoise trade helped facilitate the new hierarchy. The earliest dates that had been established for the Macaw trade was 1040 CE.  Two important burials at Chaco took place at 775-875 CE. And Macaw feathers were found with these burials. 30 macaw remains have been found at Pueblo Bonito, with 14 of them being found in one room, Room 38, which appears to have been an aviary. 12 of 14 macaws sampled in the new study pre-date the 1040 CE date, and half of them dated to 800-900 CE.

Popular Archaeology has the report here with great photos;
http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/summer-2015/article/scarlet-macaw-skeletons-point-to-early-emergence-of-pueblo-hierarchy

The entire research report can be read here;
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/06/17/1509825112.full.pdf?with-ds=yes

And more on the long distance trade networks can be found here;

Mike Ruggeri’s The Casas Grandes World and the Turquoise Road
http://bit.ly/X1jzF9

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