By Benjamin S. Orlove
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Additional info for Alpacas, Sheep, and Men. The Wool Export Economy and Regional Society in Southern Peru
At the time of the Spanish conquest, the Andean area was the only part of the New World that had domesticated mammals for the production of meat and wool. 10 The period of domestication is now the subject of investigation. The difficulty in distinguishing the bones of wild and domesticated members of a single species has limited the progress of this work. C. Since the Early Horizon (1400-400 B . C . ) , a large variety of weaving techniques were used, adapted to the variations in fiber. During the Inca Empire, there were large numbers of llamas and alpacas, the latter confined primarily to the Lake Titicaca area.
A few of them send purchasing agents to the weekly markets and annual fairs in the wool-producing regions. Several 38 The Wool Economy in Southern Peru Peruvian textile mills have attempted to establish regular wool purchases but failed for a number of reasons. The established wool-buying firms benefit from a detailed knowledge of the market and from long-term contacts with suppliers. Since these firms handle a larger amount of wool than most factories, economies of scale offer them a second advantage.
The wool auctions in London, dating from the early nineteenth century (Lipson 1953: 8), retained their importance for Peruvian wools long after The Uses of Wool 37 auctions had sprung up in other producing nations. Around 1940 they began to be replaced by direct sale. In both cases, London and Liverpool brokers sold to European manufacturers as well as to British ones, exercising a virtual monopoly over alpaca wool. A noted French fashion designer seems to have spoken with sincerity when he remarked in 1971 that he believed that alpacas were raised in England (Barrionueva 1973: 64).