BEZOAR STONES IN CONTEXT: FIRST STUDY OF THEIR RELEVANCE IN PREHISPANIC COMMUNITIES OF NORTHWESTERN ARGENTINA
PIEDRAS BEZOARES EN CONTEXTO: PRIMER ESTUDIO DE SU RELEVANCIA EN COMUNIDADES PREHISPÁNICAS DEL NOROESTE DE ARGENTINA
Gabriel Miguez, Norma Nasif, María E. Vides, Mario A. Caria and Mónica Gudemos
This article expands our knowledge about bezoar stones by studying the first specimens recorded in archaeological contexts of the Argentine Northwest. These come from an artificial mound at Yánimas 1 site (750-1,200 AD), in Tucumán Province (Argentina), and were studied using an interdisciplinary approach to identify the taxon that produced them, and to explore the activities in which they were used. From the formal and crystallographic (X-ray diffraction) characterization of three bezoar stones and their contextual relationships, it is proposed that they are gastroliths produced by camelids, which would have been used in magic-therapeutic practices and deposited in the mound as offerings. These interpretations were complemented and reinforced by data from various sources (colonial, ethnographic). Additionally, a new absolute age for this site is presented.
Tags: Bezoar stones, prehispanic ritual practices, Northwestern Argentina