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Ancient Titicaca

Ancient Titicaca: The Evolution of Complex Society in Southern Peru and Northern Bolivia

Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 1
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Ancient Titicaca
    Book Description:

    One of the richest and most complex civilizations in ancient America evolved around Lake Titicaca in southern Peru and northern Bolivia. This book is the first comprehensive synthesis of four thousand years of prehistory for the entire Titicaca region. It is a fascinating story of the transition from hunting and gathering to early agriculture, to the formation of the Tiwanaku and Pucara civilizations, and to the double conquest of the region, first by the powerful neighboring Inca in the fifteenth century and a century later by the Spanish Crown. Based on more than fifteen years of field research in Peru and Bolivia, Charles Stanish's book brings together a wide range of ethnographic, historical, and archaeological data, including material that has not yet been published. This landmark work brings the author's intimate knowledge of the ethnography and archaeology in this region to bear on major theoretical concerns in evolutionary anthropology. Stanish provides a broad comparative framework for evaluating how these complex societies developed. After giving an overview of the region's archaeology and cultural history, he discusses the history of archaeological research in the Titicaca Basin, as well as its geography, ecology, and ethnography. He then synthesizes the data from six archaeological periods in the Titicaca Basin within an evolutionary anthropological framework. Titicaca Basin prehistory has long been viewed through the lens of first Inca intellectuals and the Spanish state. This book demonstrates that the ancestors of the Aymara people of the Titicaca Basin rivaled the Incas in wealth, sophistication, and cultural genius. The provocative data and interpretations of this book will also make us think anew about the rise and fall of other civilizations throughout history.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92819-0
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Maps
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Foreword
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    Joyce Marcus

    Henry T. Buckle would have applauded this book. Many of the world’s great civilizations—Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman—have been the subject of books, but few of those books connect the parts into a whole as this one does. Charles Stanish combines empirical archaeological data with a wide range of models, showing us how society could be transformed from autonomous village to expansionist empire over the course of three millennia. The fact that this book covers Andean civilization, a culture far less known than the four mentioned above, makes it rarer still.

    The events presented here took place in the...

  7. Preface
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  9. CHAPTER 1 Ancient Collasuyu
    (pp. 1-17)

    The first Europeans to see Lake Titicaca arrived as part of an advance force of Francisco Pizarro’s conquering army in the 1530s. These soldiers had marched into Collasuyu, the great southeastern quarter of the Inca empire. Collasuyu was one of the oldest provinces of the Inca state, and probably the richest. Inca presence in the basin was correspondingly intense and vast. One of the largest Inca administrative centers was established in the northwest region of the lake at the town of Hatuncolla. Scores of Inca settlements were built along the western and eastern roads that ringed the lake, and a...

  10. CHAPTER 2 The Evolution of Political Economies
    (pp. 18-29)

    For centuries, social philosophers and anthropologists have tried to systematically and rationally explain the emergence of complex society in the great centers of world civilization. Since at least the late nineteenth century, anthropologists have realized that the shift from Neolithic or Formative village societies to ranked and class-based societies was somehow linked to the weakening of kinship relations and the strengthening of political and economic ones.¹ Anthropologists have long dealt with the basic problem of how the apparently strong bonds of kinship gave way to the emergence of a political class that was exempt from some of the traditional rules...

  11. CHAPTER 3 The Geography and Paleoecology of the Titicaca Basin
    (pp. 30-43)

    When the Europeans first began their explorations and conquest of the vast South American continent in the early sixteenth century, they encountered the Inca empire, by far the largest state in Andean history and one of the largest preindustrial empires in world history. Tawantinsuyu, or Land of the Four Quarters, as the empire was then known, covered an area that stretched from central Ecuador to central Chile.¹ Its four imperialsuyus,or quarters, included the vast and populous northwestern quarter of Chinchasuyu, the poorer but strategically important southeastern Continsuyu, the sparsely populated eastern forests called Andesuyu, and to the south,...

  12. CHAPTER 4 The Ethnography and Ethnohistory of the Titicaca Basin
    (pp. 44-71)

    The great early Spanish historian Pedro de Cieza de León wrote that the Inca province of the south-central Andes, known as the Collao, was one of the richest and most densely populated provinces in all of Peru. The heartland of the Collao is the Titicaca Basin. During the sixteenth century, the early Spanish historians referred to a number of peoples and languages in the region, the most notable being the Aymara, Pukina, Quechua, and Uruquilla. In this chapter, I discuss the ethnography of the Titicaca region and describe the most important aspects of political, social, and economic organization and lifeways...

  13. CHAPTER 5 The History of Archaeological Research in the Titicaca Basin
    (pp. 72-98)

    This chapter traces the historical development of Titicaca Basin archaeology. This survey begins in the mid-sixteenth century and seeks to convey an understanding of basin prehistory during this immediate post-European contact period. For each subsequent era, the results of the archaeological and historical research will be summarized. Several other good reviews of the history of research in the region already exist. In particular, I recommend Cook 1994, Lumbreras and Mujica 1982b, and Ponce 1991a, 1991b.

    Archaeological interpretation is affected by political and ideological factors because it involves the writing of history that is intimately connected with discovering and creating ethnic...

  14. CHAPTER 6 The Origins and Elaboration of Rank in the Early and Middle Formative Periods
    (pp. 99-136)

    The beginning of the Early Formative period is defined as the time when the first sedentary populations living in permanent villages developed in the Titicaca Basin. The previous Late Archaic period was characterized by relatively small, semisedentary populations pursuing an economy based on a mix of hunting, plant collecting, horticulture, fishing, and animal domestication. Mark Aldenderfer (1989, 1998) describes patterns of decreasing mobility, resource intensification, and settlement shifts that emerged by the end of the Late Archaic period, prior to the emergence of more complex social organization. The Early Formative societies that developed in this context were characterized by sedentism,...

  15. CHAPTER 7 The Rise of Competitive Peer Polities in the Upper Formative Period
    (pp. 137-164)

    During the Upper Formative period (500 B.C.–A.D.400), highly ranked societies developed in some areas of the Titicaca region. Prior to this time, the Titicaca Basin societies were demographically small and were not characterized by significant social and political hierarchies beyond that of simple ranked societies, as evident in Qaluyu, Chiripa, Early Sillumocco, and so forth. The adoption of social and political hierarchies, paralleled almost certainly by an economic hierarchy, marks the transition from the Middle to the Upper Formative period in the Titicaca region.

    The Upper Formative is therefore defined as the period in which complex ranked societies developed...

  16. CHAPTER 8 The First State of Tiwanaku
    (pp. 165-203)

    The late Upper Formative period in the circum-Titicaca Basin was a politically dynamic time that provided the context for the emergence of an expansive archaic state. By A.D. 400 or so, dozens of polities of varying sizes and complexity existed in the region. Intense competition was the norm, as evidenced in iconography and other indices of conflict. This competition took many forms, including military conflict, strategic alliances, competitive feasting and ceremonialism, the co-option of exchange networks, and the intensification of economic production. It is no surprise that a state such as Tiwanaku developed out of this political context. With the...

  17. CHAPTER 9 The Rise of Complex Agro-Pastoral Societies in the Altiplano Period
    (pp. 204-235)

    One of the first great historians of Peru, Pedro de Cieza de León, considered the Titicaca Basin one of the most important regions in all of the Indies. By the time Cieza visited the area, the Inca empire had controlled the region for about two generations. The physical and cultural landscape that the first Western historians saw in the sixteenth century was primarily defined by the pre-Inca peoples of the Titicaca Basin. By and large, the peoples of Collasuyu, as the circum-Titicaca Basin was known in the Inca empire, were Aymara-speakers who had created several large and powerful kingdoms, or...

  18. CHAPTER 10 Conquest from Outside: The Inca Occupation of the Titicaca Basin
    (pp. 236-277)

    The Quechua-speaking peoples who lived in the Cuzco region built a mighty conquest state that expanded over an enormous area in a relatively short span of time. Over the centuries, the nature of the Inca state has been defined and redefined, with interpretations ranging from its being a totalitarian state to a benevolent “socialist” empire (Arze 1941; Baudin 1928). In a similar vein, twentieth-century writers interpreted the Inca more as a great redistributive state in which even the poorest citizens were protected from disease and want.

    Leaving such romantic illusions aside, it is clear that the principal mechanism of Inca...

  19. CHAPTER 11 The Evolution of Complex Society in the Titicaca Basin
    (pp. 278-294)

    Social power derives from the political control of economic production and exchange. This control is exercised through a variety of mechanisms ranging from voluntary organizations held together by mutually beneficial reciprocal relationships, to outright coercion by an entrenched elite. The initial development of organization where some groups control production and exchange results in ranked society. In the Titicaca Basin, politically ranked societies developed for the first time in the Middle Formative period. Robert Carneiro (1998) argues that the most salient characteristic of chiefdom development is the formation of intervillage polities and the loss of individual autonomy for some of these...

  20. APPENDIX: Selected Terms from the 1612 Aymara Dictionary of Ludovico Bertonio
    (pp. 295-300)
  21. Notes
    (pp. 301-306)
  22. References Cited
    (pp. 307-330)
  23. Index
    (pp. 331-354)
  24. Back Matter
    (pp. 355-355)