25th Northeast Conference on Andean Archaeology and Ethnohistory

October 21 - 22, 2006
(cash bar reception on evening of October 20)


Presenters, and Titles, and Abstracts

Oral Presentations

Elizabeth Arkush (University of Virginia)
Warfare, Chronology and Causality in the Northern Titicaca Basin.

Evidence is presented from the northern Titicaca Basin from a suite of fortified, hilltop habitation sites or pukaras built and used in the Late Intermediate Period (LIP, ca. AD 1000 – 1450). While they vary in size, intensity of use, and defensibility, pukaras evidence a great concern for defense and were clearly a response to elevated levels of warfare. Radiocarbon dates from samples from occupation and wall-building events suggest that pukaras did not become common until late in the Late Intermediate Period, in the fourteenth century. This result challenges the traditional assumption that warfare in the LIP resulted directly from the collapse of the Middle Horizon polities of Wari and Tiwanaku. Alternative explanations, including climate change, are evaluated for the apparent escalation of warfare late in the Late Intermediate Period. On a local scale, the shifting nature of pukara occupation indicates cycles of defense, abandonment, reoccupation, and wall building within a broader context of elevated hostilities. Once in place, fortified sites altered the political landscape of the region, enabling further warfare and the resistance of Titicaca Basin inhabitants to their Inca conquerors.

Leo Benitez (University of Pennsylvania)
Sky and Landscape in the Formative Period Southern Titicaca Basin: Archaeoastronomy of Three Sunken Courts.


This research finds similarities involving alignments to seasonal astronomical events and to prominent mountains at the sunken courts of Chiripa, Khonkho Wankane, and Tiwanaku in Bolivia. The similarities indicate a common usage of visual symbols to express meaning in these small ritual spaces. However, the meaning is not the same. This presentation outlines the criteria in selecting points for measurement, and discusses the evidence in favor of some alignments as intentionally planned features of the architecture. The conclusion will compare and contrast the visual experience of each court and weigh the influence of alignments in the location chosen to construct these structures.

Katie Caljean (Drew University) and Maria Masucci (Drew University)
Weaving Tradition: An Archaeological Reconstruction of Andean Textile Technology and Traditions in Coastal Ecuador.

The well-preserved collections of pre-Columbian textiles of ancient Peru and Chile provide a rich data set for studies of ancient weaving technology and production methods. They also elucidate ethnicity and identity through regionally specific weaving traditions and styles, patterns of trade and tribute, and even political strategies. Lack of preservation of organic materials in the northern Andean region, such as Ecuador, has resulted in a limited sample of what was likely a rich textile tradition. Thus, textile fragments and textile-impressed ceramics provide the only reflection of this central element of Andean material culture. This research focuses on analysis of textile impressions from the coastal region of Ecuador which offer potential keys to the reconstruction of textile technologies and traditions for this region. The results are placed into context with previous studies conducted on textile impressions and have been critically analyzed in comparison to the two known collections of preserved textiles in Ecuador. The evidence drawn from these textile-impressed ceramics has allowed us to reconstruct regionally specific thread spinning methods, patterns of textile use inceramic manufacture, and test hypothesis of local specialization in textile production processes.

Sofia Chacaltana (Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago)
Inka Strategies of Control in the Southern Andes: The Role of Camata Tampu, an Inka Waystation in the Upper Moquegua Valley of Peru.

This paper looks at the control strategies used by the Inka Empire in Colesuyo region, a territorial sub-division of the southern Andes. I will focus on the role of Camata tampu, an Inka waystation localized in the Upper Moquegua Valley of Southern Peru. It is suggested here that Camata tampu, one of the most important Inka sites of this region, in addition to providing food and storage to state travelers and tampu personnel, supported and institutionalized the exchange network between the altiplano polities and the upper, middle, and lower valley local populations. In addition, I will address the social and economic impact of Camata tampu, as an imperial institution, on the local (Estuquiña) populations.

Katharine Meade Davis (Harvard University)
Interpreting Spaces Outside the Core: Muru Ut Pata, Tiwanaku.

Excavations of domestic spaces around Tiwanaku have historically been eclipsed by investigations and descriptions of the masterfully executed monumental lithic constructions of the core. However, over the last twenty-five years, archaeologists have made important contributions to the study of what lies on the immediate periphery of the monumental core of the site. This work has led to the recognition of a high degree of economic specialization and complexity of domestic areas during the Tiwanaku V period (A.D. 725-1000). Recent excavations at the site of Muru Ut Pata have uncovered an area of domestic habitation which shows evidence of diverse economic, ritual and ceremonial activities. A variety of animal and human figurines, as well as hallucinogenic drug paraphernalia, found at Muru Ut Pata suggest that the residents of households in this area were engaged in the production of finely-crafted objects that, it is argued here, were important in household religious and ritual activities.

Javier Escalante (Unidad Nacional de Arqueología de Bolivia)
Excavation of the Akapana Pyramid, the Site of Tiwanaku, Bolivia.

Blenda Femenias (University of Pittsburgh)
National Patrimony and International Prestige: The Legacy of Paracas at the Exposición Ibero-Americana (Seville, 1929).

Among early-twentieth-century archaeological excavations of pre-Columbian sites, textiles from Paracas, Peru, were unprecedented both in amount and documentation. During this era, international expositions abounded, featuring massive displays of objects from many nations. These expositions, I argue, played a vital role for nations that sent objects, not only for “first-world” host nations. Peru, increasingly famed for diverse pre-Hispanic cultures, promoted them through international expositions. This paper explores Peruvian participation in the Exposición Ibero-Americana in Seville, Spain, 1929—1930. Paracas materials sent to Seville from Peru apparently never returned. Where are they today? What does their absence mean for national patrimony?

Joerg Haeberli
Emergence of and Transition from Rayed Heads to Staff Gods in the South Central Andes.

Early Horizion (EH) and Early Intermediate Period (EIP) tradition examples will be described that reveal an evolution of Rayed Heads and a transition from Rayed Heads to Staff Gods. Iconographically the early EIP Provincial Pukara tradition differs in specific details from type-site Pukara (late EH - early EIP) and Middle Horizon Tiwanaku and Wari. The latter two are separated from Provincial Pukara by approximately 200 years. Presently, among the EIP traditions only Provincial Pukara can be a stylistic and iconographic antecedent toTiwanaku and Wari because their derivation from late EIP Qeya is most unlikely. There must be a missing link, a yet to be discovered late EIP tradition somewhere from which Tiwanaku and Wari are derived.

John Janusek (Vanderbilt University)
Recent Research at Khonkho Wankane, Bolivia: Steps toward a Reappraisal of State Emergence in the Andean Altiplano


Ongoing archaeological research at the site of Khonkho Wankane, located in the Upper Rio Desaguadero basin of the Bolivian altiplano, is shedding new light on the long phase of prehispanic cultural development known as the Late (or Upper) Formative, 100 BC – AD 500. In particular, this research is enhancing our understanding of some of the characteristic social practices and regional processes that gave rise to Tiwanaku culture after AD 500. It indicates that the two early centers of Khonkho and Tiwanaku were intimately connected via shared environmental circumstances, vibrant socioeconomic relations, and an encompassing religious ideology. Yet just as Tiwanaku became a major Middle Horizon Andean center, Khonkho waned in size and importance. In this paper I summarize some of the results of research that bear on Late Formative sociopolitical dynamics and Tiwanaku’s ultimate rise to prominence.

Katherine Moore (University of Pennsylvania)
Pastoral Strategies andCamelid Breeding in Formative Bolivia.

Recent work on camelids genetics and the modern variability of camelids have established a new framework for the domestication and recent history of llamas and alpacas. Now, bones from archaeological sites on the Taraco peninsula are examined to explore the variability and pattern in the composition of early camelid herds from this region. The distribution of body sizes and other physical traits from the the ancient camelids suggests the presence of at least one domesticated camelid, and perhaps two, that do not match the characteristics of modern species. Inter-regional comparisons also suggest the diversity of local decision-making and adaptive challenges met by ancient herders across the Andes.

Thomas Pozorski (University of Texas-Pan American) and Shelia Pozorski (University of Texas-Pan American)
Domestic Architecture at Pampa de las Llamas-Moxeke, Casma Valley, Peru.

The Initial Period site of Pampa de las Llamas-Moxeke in the Casma Valley, Peru is well-known for its large number of precisely planned monumental mound structures. However, because the site was never significantly reoccupied after its abandonment around 1400 B.C., it also contains unusually well-preserved areas of domestic architecture and associated midden. Some of this architecture and midden was excavated by the authors during seven field seasons of investigation. The resultant data shed light on the culture of the ancient inhabitants of the site and on the Initial Period in general, including status differences, functional differences, subsistence practices, evidence of cottage industry, and burial patterns.

Alvaro Ruiz (Northern Illinois University), Nathan Craig (The Field Museum), Winifred Creamer (Northern Illinois University), Jonathan Haas (Field Museum), Gerbert Asencios (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos), Jesus Holquín (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos) and Rebecca Osborn (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Preliminary Results from Excavations at Caballete, a Late Preceramic Site in the Fortaleza Valley.

Excavations were conducted at the site of Caballete in the Fortaleza Valley in the summer of 2006. Caballete, with calibrated radiocarbon dates from 3120 to 1950 B.C. consists of 6 large platform mounds arranged in a “U” around a central plaza. 2006 excavations focused on residential architecture in five different parts of the site. Of particular interest was the discovery of an entire layer of maize, with roots, stalks, ears and florescences, along with yuca rhizomes, avocado wood and what appear to be camelid coprolites. The presence of temporary residential occupations was revealed in two of the excavation units. These results help to improve knowledge about the lifeways of Late Preceramic peoples of the Norte Chico.

Nicola Sharratt (University of Illinois, Chicago), P. Ryan Williams (Field Museum), Maria Cecelia Lozada (University of Chicago), Michael Moseley (University of Florida), and Donna Nash (University of Illinois, Chicago)
Late Tiwanaku Bioarchaeology and Iconography: Rescue Excavations at the Tumilaca la Chimba Cemetery.

This paper presents data recovered during initial excavations, in summer 2006, in the cemetery sectors of the Late Tiwanaku site, Tumilaca la Chimba, in the Moquegua Valley of southern Peru. This cemetery is the largest Late Tiwanaku cemetery in the Moquegua drainage. Mortuary evidence from this site can shed light on the community identity of the inhabitants of Tumilaca la Chimba, and contribute to debates surrounding the extent to which a Tiwanaku social identity was maintained in Moquegua following the collapse of the Tiwanaku state. Despite looting at the site, initial results suggest that the Tumilaca phase was a period of transitional social identity. Preliminary evidence for a typology of grave architecture, material inclusions is presented, and it is argued that continued excavations at Tumilaca la Chimba will prove central to ongoing interpretations of Late Tiwanaku ethnic identity.

J. Marla Toyne (Tulane University), Bernarda Delgado Elias (Museo del Sitio Túcume), Alfredo Narváez Vargas (Museo del Sitio Túcume), and Natalia Guzman Requena (Museo Nacional Sicán)
Mortuary Treatment of Human Sacrificial Victims at the Templo de la Piedra Sagrada, Túcume, Peru.

A growing number of important prehispanic archaeological sites on the northern coast of Peru have evidence of human sacrifice. At the site of Túcume we discovered almost 120 human and 61 camelid burials in a small patio area in front of the Temple of the Sacred Stone (Templo de la Piedra Sagrada). In this paper, I will discuss how the burial treatment and cut mark patterns of the human burials strongly support a hypothesis of ritual sacrifice. The results of this analysis provide physical evidence that can be compared with patterns of Inca ritual practices described ethnohistoric accounts. While Túcume demonstrates earlier human sacrifices, there is evidence of an increase in scale and apparent frequency of these rituals during the Inca occupation. These sacrifices perhaps are frequent appeals to divine intervention in times of increased social or environmental problems in the Late Horizon.

Tiffiny A. Tung (Vanderbilt University)
Warfare, Raids, and Ritual Violence in the Wari Empire: A Bioarchaeological Study of Trauma among Populations from Conchopata and the Majes valley, Peru.

This study presents skeletal trauma data to evaluate the role of violence during the period of Wari imperialism. All skeletal samples date to AD 650-800. They derive from 1) Conchopata, a Wari heartland site in the central Peruvian Andes; 2) Beringa, a community of commoners in the Majes valley of the southern Wari hinterland; and 3)La Real, a high status ceremonial and mortuary site, also in the Majes valley. Results show that cranial trauma frequency was similar at all three sites (Conchopata=26%; Beringa=33%; La Real=31%). This may suggest that differential positioning in the Wari empire had little effect on exposure to violence. Sex-based differences in cranial trauma frequency were present only at La Real, but the patterning of wounds differed between the sexes at all sites: females display more wounds on the posterior of the head, while males generally show more on the anterior. These skeletal data suggest that Wari rule may have contributed to violence in the heartland and southern hinterland. When combined with archaeological evidence, the data suggest that violent encounters might have included raids, ritual battles, and other forms of physical conflict.

John W. Verano (Tulane University), Alexei Vranich (University of Pennsylvania Museum), and Kristen Gardella (University of Pennsylvania)
Skeletal Remains from a Unique Dedicatory Offering at Tiwanaku.

Human dedicatory offerings have been found in several distinct contexts at Tiwanaku. These offerings appear to reflect rituals associated with the dedication and abandonment of architectural complexes at the site. In 2005, archaeologists from the Proyecto Arqueológico Pumupunku-Akapana discovered an offering of human and camelid remains, accompanied by elaborate polychrome ceramics, in the monumental core of Tiwanaku, to the east of the Kalasasaya. Excavation of the offering and analysis of the skeletal remains was completed during the 2006 field season. This new offering shows some similarities to previous discoveries of human skeletal remains at the base of the Akapana, and to dedicatory offerings in adobe compounds to the east of the pyramid. However, some of the skeletons show blunt force and projectile wounds unlike any previously reported from Tiwanaku. Additional characteristics of the skeletons distinguish them from the two dominant forms of human dedicatory offerings seen at Tiwanaku.

Robert Wittman (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Us vs. Thieves

Gregory Zaro (University of Maine-Orono)
Agricultural Landscapes Past and Present: Long-term Thinking along the Peruvian South Coast.

The Peruvian south coast between the Tambo and Ilo rivers is today a dry and desolate landscape. The lomas among the inland hills are considerably diminished, while agriculture in the area has been reduced to only a few surviving farmsteads. However, recent archaeological investigations provide evidence that farming was once a significant and viable activity along this intervalley coastline, and the lomas provided some opportunities for both dry farming and herding. These results suggest that contemporary patterns of land use, resource distribution, and sustainability are best understood when contextualized within long, historical trajectories of landscape transformation and human-environment dynamics.

Thomas Zoubek (Stamford Historical Society Museum)
Exploring the Cultural Identity and Relationships of Peru's North Coast Agricultural Societies during the Initial Period (c.2100-1100 B.C.).

Recent work in the Viru Valley supports the notion of a Peruvian North Coast Initial Period (2100-1100BC) area of shared cultural identity. Similarities in a wide range of contemporaneous cultural material among the valleys making up this zone argue for the existence of shared religious traditions and governmental structures as each valley coped with the same environmental constraints with limited technology. The valleys appeared to have coexisted peacefully and with relative harmony given the absence of military or defensive architecture. This absence of militarism in nascent agricultural societies supports the scenario outlined long ago by Carneiro for Peru's circumscribed coastal valleys.

Poster Presentations

William E. Brooks (George Mason University), Victor Piminchumo (Instituto Nacional de Cultura, Trujillo), Hector Suarez (Instituto Nacional de Cultura, Trujillo), John C. Jackson (U.S. Geological Survey), and John P. McGeehin (U.S. Geological Survey)
Mineral Pigments from Tacainamo, Chan Chan, Northern Peru.

Ancient Andeans also exploited mineral occurrences for pigments in addition to the more well-known use of copper, gold, silver, platinum, and mercury for artisanal metalwork. Five samples of mineral pigments from a recently excavated mural at Tacainamo, the Chimú capital of Chan Chan, northern Perú, were analyzed by X-ray diffraction methods. Results indicate that the Tacainamo muralists used: 1) atacamite [Cu2Cl(OH3)], a copper halide mineral to produce green pigment; 2) azurite [Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2], a copper carbonate for blue; 3) calcite [CaCO3], a common calcium carbonate mineral for white; 4) cinnabar [HgS], a mercury sulfide for red; and 5) goethite [HFeO2], an iron oxide for yellow-brown or yellow ochre. Binder for the pigments is unknown. A calibrated 14C date on woven plant material from the site gave a 2 sigma date of 1412-1614 AD. Sourcing the Tacainamo pigments is difficult due to the large number of mineral occurrences in the region, lack of a geochemical database for comparison, and destruction of the original surface outcrop from mining. For example, Huancavelica is the most well known cinnabar occurrence in Perú and is one of 5 cinnabar localities listed by Petersen (1970). There are probably many other minor cinnabar occurrences associated with hot springs or the abundant epithermal mineral deposits in the cordillera that may have been exploited. Similarly, there are at least 20 atacamite localities and goethite is a ubiquitous alteration product associated with epithermal systems throughout the Andes.

María-Auxiliadora Cordero (University of Pittsburgh) and Richard Scaglion (Carnegie Museum of Natural History)
Piartal Pottery from Northern Ecuador: New Interpretations from an Old Museum Collection.

The archaeology of Carchi, northern Ecuador, and Nariño, southern Colombia, has been less studied than other ceramic complexes of the region. Most of the ceramic artifacts in museums and collections come from looted tombs and therefore lack precise contextual information for interpretations beyond their value as art pieces and as limited hints on the culture of these northern Andean societies. This study analyzes a 1913 collection from the El Angel area in Ecuador curated at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA. The poster contextualizes the collection and compares it with materials housed in Ecuador. Interpretations of pottery decoration are made. Overpainting of vessels may represent pre-burial curation of bowls used for serving food and drink, part of local chiefly paraphernalia.

Fredrik T. Hiebert (National Geographic Society), Kirk Frye (Taraco Archaeological Project), Stefan Austermühle (Asociación Mundo Azul)
Sonar Research on Potential Ancient Settlements below Current Southern Titicaca Lake Levels in Bolivia.

In July 2006, the National Geographic Society sponsored an experimental survey program on the potential of identifying archaeological sites that are presently submerged. Challenges in identifying submerged landscapes include lakebed sedimentation and survey interference from modern vegetation. In this case, modified sediment sonar was employed in the shallow waters of Lake Titicaca along the Taraco peninsula to survey the ancient lakeshore region. This sonar penetrated through both dense modern vegetation and as much as three meters of sediment. In three cases, the density signals suggest features corresponding to archeological structures similar to adjacent excavated sites.

Calley Levine (University of Pennsylvania) and Ariela Nurko (University of Pennsylvania)
Creating Digital Reconstructions at the Site of Tiwanaku.

Computer reconstructions of archaeological sites are useful in testing hypotheses about the uses and functions of architecture? Using AutoDesk Maya 7.0, a powerful 3D modeling and animation program, three dimensional digital reconstructions of seven central buildings at the site of Tiwanaku, Bolivia were created. A collection of points taken by a laser theodolite was used to generate an AutoCAD file. On the basis of this file, 3D models of the buildings were created from the points. Because none of the
buildings were intact and some such as the Kalasasaya Temple had been inaccurately restored, archaeologists were interviewed to provide missing spatial and architectural information. Using these digital reconstructions, archaeologists can acquire a better understanding of the past. With a full layout of an archaeological site, they can begin to analyze the buildings' relationship with each other and the environment. Digital models are also useful when trying to visualize the original structures, such as the Kerikala and the Kantatallita, which are no longer standing. Such models can be used to help understand any archaeological site.

Mario A. Rivera (Beloit College), Manuel Palacios-Fest (Terra Nostra Earth Science Research), and Daniel E. Shea (Beloit College)
Prehistoric Agriculture and the Rise of Village Life in the Atacama: The Ramaditas Project.

This poster presents an overview of our current knowledge and goals of a multidisciplinary project based on aspects related to the prehistoric agriculture at the Ramaditas site, a formative village site dated around 800-50 B.C. Data from the area covered by the fields provide clues to the sequence of construction of the hydraulic system, and considerations regarding how these societies could become adapted to the environmental conditions by developing an interesting managing of water control.

Alejo Rojas Leiva (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú).
El Sistema Codificado de Categorización Laboral Inca.

Considerando el tributo como el motor en la expansión de un imperio, su carácter laboral durante la época Inca (1400 d.C. ca. - 1532 d.C.) y, siendo el registro de la información en los Andes mediante quipus (soporte de cuerdas anudadas), examinamos la naturaleza del orden en el tributo laboral Inca. En base a tres fuentes administrativas y crónicas coloniales, presentamos el sistema codificado de categorización laboral, en tres contextos; Local (grupo étnico Chupaycho), Regional (sector de la Sierra) y Estatal (Tahuantinsuyo), ordenados en siete categorías. Asimismo, presentamos la reproducción moderna del quipu local.

Jeffrey C. Splitstoser (Catholic University of America) and Anne E. Tiballi (Binghamton University)
Parenthetical Notation: A New Method for Recording Spin and Ply.

This poster presentation offers a new method for recording
spin and ply information in archaeological and ethnographic
textile analysis. It reviews the methods that have commonly
been used by textile scholars, and assesses their relative
ease of use and effectiveness in transmitting spin and ply
data. The merits of the new notational method, termed
Parenthetical Notation, will be demonstrated using examples
from the textile collection from Casa Vieja, a small Middle
Horizon village site in the Lower Ica Valley, Peru.