Paiján culture

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Paijan)
Jump to: navigation, search

The Paiján culture was an archaeological culture that developed on the northern coast of Peru between 8,700 and 5,900 BCE.[1] It was first described by Peruvian archaeologist Rafael Larco Hoyle in the 1940s from the Pampa de los Fósiles site.[2] Later research, mainly by French archaeologist Claude Chauchat, identified dozens of open air sites, which include camps, workshops and quarries.[3] Most findings are concentrated along the valleys of the rivers Jequetepeque, Cupisnique, Chicama and Moche in the northern coast of Peru; more limited evidences of Paiján presence have been found in the central and south coasts of Peru as well as in the highland site of El Inga in Ecuador.[4]

The Paiján environment was arid with sparse vegetation and small animals such as rodents, lizards and snails; further resources were provided by the sea which at the time was located 15 kilometers farther than today due to a .lower sea level.[5] To adapt to this environment, the Paiján developed long needle–like projectile points which were mounted on hollow shafts of cane or reed and be used as harpoons to catch fish; they also collected snails, hunted small animals such as vizcachas and used grinding stones to process plants.[6]

Early Paiján sites, dated between 8,600 and 8,000 BCE, indicate large bands that moved seasonally between the coastal plains and the western slopes of the Andes; later sites, dated between 8,000 and 6,500 BCE, evidence smaller groups of decreased mobility.[7] According to anthropologist Tom Dillehay, a possible explanation for this change is that an amelioration of the climate increased the availability of wild plants and animals; thus, Paiján people required less movement to meet their requirements while still relying on hunting-gathering.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tom Dillehay et al, "The first settlers", p. 21.
  2. ^ Tom Dillehay, The Settlement of the Americas, p. 145.
  3. ^ Danièle Lavallée, The first South Americans, pp. 97–98.
  4. ^ Tom Dillehay, The Settlement of the Americas, pp. 145–146.
  5. ^ Danièle Lavallée, The first South Americans, p. 98.
  6. ^ Michael Moseley, The Incas and their ancestors, pp. 93–94.
  7. ^ Tom Dillehay et al, "The first settlers", pp. 21–22.
  8. ^ Tom Dillehay, "Profiles in Holocene History", p. 38.


  • Dillehay, Tom. "Profiles in Holocene History". In Helaine Silverman and William H. Isbell (eds.), Handbook of South American archaeology. New York: Springer, 2008, pp. 29–43.
  • Dillehay, Tom. The Settlement of the Americas: a new prehistory. New York: Basic Books, 2000.
  • Dillehay, Tom, Duccio Bonavia and Peter Kaulicke. "The first settlers". In Helaine Silverman (ed.), Andean archaeology. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004, pp. 16–34.
  • Lavallée, Danièle. The first South Americans: the peopling of a continent from the earliest evidence to high culture. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2000.
  • Moseley, Michael. The Incas and their ancestors: the archaeology of Peru. London: Thames and Hudson, 2004.