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Fajardo, Sebastian (2016) PREHISPANIC AND COLONIAL SETTLEMENT PATTERNS OF THE SOGAMOSO VALLEY. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This research documents the social trajectory developed in the Sogamoso valley with the aim of comparing its nature with other trajectories in the Colombian high plain and exploring whether economic and non-economic attractors produced similarities or dissimilarities in their social outputs. The initial sedentary occupation (400 BC to 800 AD) consisted of few small hamlets as well as a small number of widely dispersed farmsteads. There was no indication that these communities were integrated under any regional-scale sociopolitical authority. The population increased dramatically after 800 AD and it was organized in three supra-local communities. The largest of these regional polities was focused on a central place at Sogamoso that likely included a major temple described in Spanish accounts. Demographic estimates for the pre-contact period (1200-1600 AD) and for the Colonial times indicate a density similar to the demographic estimates calculated for 800-1200 AD. Regional-scale political organization shifted, however, without sign of overall political integration of the entire survey area. This scenario suggested political dynamics with only moderate levels of sociopolitical differentiation. The strongest and most intensive social interaction occurred in the local community around which the largest regional polity gravitated. This interaction responded to social and religious activities related to burial practices and the use of large communal structures where people from across the valley gathered regularly in the central place at Sogamoso, but did not live there as permanent residents. Economic activities were also probably at play as centripetal forces that attracted population to different places of the survey area but they seemed less important than social activities and religious practices. This evidence indicates that the polity centered in Sogamoso during prehispanic times was demographically smaller and less central than indicated by interpretations based on the historic accounts. This data suggests that the Spaniards classified as important prehispanic communities that were both large and small and based on varied centralizing forces affecting daily and supra-local interaction. The comparison of the Sogamoso valley with other trajectories in the Eastern Highlands suggests that economic and non-economic centralizing forces acting on human interaction create different degrees of nucleation, inequality and system survivability.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Fajardo, Sebastiansdf20@pitt.eduSDF20
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDrennan, Robertdrennan@pitt.eduDRENNAN
Committee MemberBermann, Marcbermarc@pitt.eduBERMARC
Committee MemberMontmollin, Olivierolly@pitt.eduOLLY
Committee MemberPutnam, Laralep12@pitt.eduLEP12
Date: 29 September 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 April 2016
Approval Date: 29 September 2016
Submission Date: 7 August 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 255
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Settlement Patterns, Muisca, Colombia and Early Human Communities
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2016 00:17
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:35

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