Ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis provides a powerful means of investigating human migration, social organization, and a plethora of other crucial questions about humanity's past. Recently, specialists have suggested that the ideal research design involving aDNA would include multiple independent lines of evidence. In this paper, we adopt a transdisciplinary approach integrating aDNA with archaeological, biogeochemical, and historical data to investigate six individuals found in two cemeteries that date to the Late Horizon (1400 to 1532 CE) and Colonial (1532 to 1825 CE) periods in the Chincha Valley of southern Peru. Genomic analyses indicate that these individuals are genetically most similar to ancient and present-day populations from the north Peruvian coast located several hundred kilometers away. These genomic data are consistent with 16th century written records as well as ceramic, textile, and isotopic data. These results provide some of the strongest evidence yet of state-sponsored resettlement in the pre-Colonial Andes. This study highlights the power of transdisciplinary research designs when using aDNA data and sets a methodological standard for investigating ancient mobility in complex societies.
Keywords: Andes; Inca; ancient DNA; mobility; transdisciplinary approach.
Copyright © 2020 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.