A Study of the Negative del Carchi Culture and its Ceramics
The culture of Negative del Carchi existed approximately five hundred years before Christ in what are today the Ecuadorian provinces of lmbabura, Carchi, Pichincha, and the Colombian territory of Nariiio. The people that lived during this time period and area predated the Incas and had a distinct culture of their own. The region was originally explored by the Spanish and it is from their diaries that we first learn of the culture and country. The intense research done by Ecuadorian philanthropist and archaeologist Jacinto Jijon y Caamano in the early twentieth century uncovered many more clues and ideas to the customs and lives of the Indians of this culture. Through an analysis of the ceramics and customs, he viewed the Negative del Carchi period beginning with those people who lived in Yaguarcocha (located in what is today Otavalo) and ending with the establishment of the Spanish dominatiol1 (Jijon-1920, 1 04). Contemporary archaeologists, such as Ora. Molestina and Carlos Grijalva have continued Jij6n y Caamano's research in the organization of the culture. My personal work done on the ceramics have helped locate the evolution of the culture and give a better idea of each town's style and use of specific ceramics. A detailed geographical description i of the culture will put the research and findings into context. The maps at the end of my thesis also show the location of the towns that were part of the Negative del Carchi culture. The Andes region of Ecuador is an irregular relief pattern of mountains and valleys interlaced with mar;1y rivers and lakes. The central and western offshoots of the mountain chain are united by means of smaller mountains called nudos (knots). Between these mountains and knots there extends valleys called hoyas. Within each hoya there is usually a river. There are four distinct temperature zones found: a subtropical temperate zone, a subandino temperate zone, an andino zone, and a cold glacial zone. The hoyas found in the Sierran region that are included in the Negative del Carchi culture are Guayllabamba, Chota, and Carchi, each of which has its own characteristics and climate where diverse products are grown. Thus, although these people shared similar material culture such as ceramics, habitations, and funerary customs, there were also many differences between them. Within each hoya there were many sites of habitation, each having their own history and growth.