Considering Imperial Complexity in Prehistory: A Polyethnic Wari Enclave in Moquegua, Peru

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Donna Nash, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Wari is thought by many to be the first Andean Empire (ca. 600–1000 AD); however, the means of expansion, the areas controlled, the strength of the polity, and the nature of Wari institutions remain largely contested. In general, models describing the Wari polity are simplistic and do notexploit sophisticated approaches developed by historical archaeologists. Wari expansion into the Moquegua Valley, Peru, was originally interpreted as an intrusive colony or distant outpost, perhaps to engage its southern neighbor, Tiwanaku. It was presumed that migrants from the polity’s core established settlements and imperial infrastructure in an unoccupied ecozone. Recent research of households in the colony reveals diverse domestic material culture, diets, and use of living space. Those who lived in Wari-affiliated settlements were probably drawn from other imperial provinces and communities from other areas of the drainage. Forced relocations are common among historically documented empires, but willing pioneers may have selected for this tenuous frontier. Regional-scale data show that Wari had the strength to change the local economy and control this distant frontier province; household-scale data reveal the polyethnic nature of the colonial enclave and provide clues to understand early imperial institutions.

Additional Information

Humans 2022, 2, 104–137.
Language: English
Date: 2022
states, empire, household archaeology, migration, colonization, political economy, Wari, Inka, Moquegua

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