In the Quijos/Upper Napo region of the Western Amazonian frontier,long-distance exchange, markets, and verticality represent significant aspects of social organization that can be found in historical sources. It is argued that local and regional exchanges followed a social logic where human transactions such as marriage—not “commercial”goods—occupied the highest tier of value in the circulation process. These principles are explored through an analysis of ethnohistorical sources and data from fieldwork in contemporary Upper Napo communities. It is suggested that the lowland societies of Quijos/Upper Napo and the highland societies of Upper Napo were of a similar structural type, contrasting in principle with the more hierarchical social orders of the Central and Southern Andes.

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