The history of the Incas represents one of the best case studies for both the development and spread of complex societies and for the correlations proposed between expansive processes in the archaeological and linguistic records. The Incas drove the last great phase of the expansion of the Quechua language family, but did they do so by moving people or by promoting cultural assimilation – or by which complex mix of the two? And how much of the present time language distribution is influenced by the most recent European contact?
The Americas, with their relatively recent history of population diffusion and post-colonial collapse, allow us to test the genetic footprints left by these important demographic changes. The population movements and the diversification processes in the continent resulted in one of the highest cultural and linguistic diversity of the world. Can we trace back these trajectories in the populations who currently inhabit in different regions and environments, and speak different languages?
The congruence between cultural and biological diversity was explored to shed light on population origin, diversification and contact. Mismatches between linguistic and genetic variation are usually disregarded as an exception to the general pattern. But how often these events occur? To answer this question we will assemble a new genetic databases to be matched with relevant qualitative and quantitative linguistic and cultural information.