Bethany Turner-Livermore and Barbara R. Hewitt
This chapter discusses research by the authors among Inca populations from two sites in Peru. Machu Picchu was a royal Inca estate, close to the imperial capital of Cuzco and inhabited by a permanent group of servants, while Túcume is a large site on the northern coast of Peru, in the hinterland of the empire, but with an elite burial context including a number of female attendants. Characterization of both light and heavy isotopes in the bones and teeth of individuals from both sites has permitted the authors to estimate the social status (mitmacona, yanacona, acllacona/mamacona) of the servants at both sites, and to better characterize their geographic origins and diet. When interpreted against an ethnohistorical and archaeological backdrop, isotopic bioarchaeology results discussed here indicate that the acllacona in particular represent a variety of possible manifestations in the archaeological record, reflecting the variety of roles they played in the empire.
This chapter presents an overview of pre-Inca states in the Andes, describing patterns of statecraft that came before the Inca Empire. The earliest evidence for Andean urbanism and statecraft appeared on the north coast of Peru, where Mochica polities built on earlier processes. A period of local development followed the disintegration of Mochica states, and the Chimú Empire spread across parts of the region in the centuries before Inca incorporation. In the Andean highlands, the Wari and Tiwanaku empires developed their own urban centers and extended administrative centers and enclaves into other highland areas. As archaeologists explore the pre-Inca Andean states more intensively, focusing more attention on peripheral and non-elite contexts, it is clear that these societies used distinct strategies to integrate their core regions and to extend their power more widely.
Applied Archaeology in the Americas: Evaluating Archaeological Solutions to the Impacts of Global Environmental Change
Jago Cooper and Lindsay Duncan
This chapter considers the role of archaeology in creating solutions for coping with the impacts of global environmental change, illustrated by cases from Latin America. Past examples of the practical application of pre-Columbian innovations and techniques are considered, and the key themes of social practice and community engagement discussed. These principles are then applied to the islands of the Caribbean where archaeology can play an important role in accessing and illuminating pre-Columbian lifeways in the region. The comparative resilience of past and present lifeways to the hazards created by extreme weather events, precipitation variability, and sea level changes are discussed, and the role of archaeology as a means of engaging the public, stimulating discussion, and informing debate is considered.
Guillermo Luis Mengoni Goñalons
South American Camelids (SAC) occupied a central role in the development of Andean societies and were an essential element of the cultural landscape. During the Inca period camelids had a major significance to people, integrating their economy, social, political, and ritual life. Camelids were a key instrument for the expansion and establishment of the Inca Empire. Llamas were used as beasts of burden for transporting goods along extensive redistribution networks that connected the highlands, valleys, and Pacific coast. From a utilitarian perspective camelids provided different products (e.g. meat, wool). This chapter illustrates the strategies used by the Incas for managing these ungulates by presenting some case studies from the Qollasuyu, the southeastern quarter of the Inca Empire.
While reports of child sacrifice in the ancient Andes are often sensationalized to captivate popular audiences, the study of the practice provides archaeologists with an important means of investigating power and sociopolitical dynamics in antiquity. This chapter discusses the significance of the terms ‘child’ and ‘sacrifice’ in the Andes and examines the evidence of child sacrifice from ancient contexts in Andean regions of modern-day Peru and Bolivia. It considers data on sacrificial practices from dives sources, such as descriptions in ethnohistorical documents, representations in architectural design and portable art, and direct evidence found in the archaeological record. Finally, various approaches to the study of these sacrifices and possible avenues for future analyses are outlined.
Based on available archaeological and ethnohistorical data, this chapter examines the nature of Inca presence in the norther portion of the empire. Located in present-day Ecuador, this region had a singular importance in the last phases of Inca imperial expansion. This contribution provides an overview of the Inca occupation and the different forms of integration that the populations dwelling in the sierra, coast, and tropical oriente experienced. The discussion also highlights the importance of the Inca centers of Tomebamba and Quito in the imperial politics, and the system of defensive fortifications along the imperial frontiers. It also discusses the complex relations that the Inca established with competing polities like the Caranqui and Cañari among many others. Altogether, this illustrates the complexity of the complexity of the Inca conquest in the Northern region, and the remaining work to be done in the future.
Melissa S. Murphy
A growing body of bioarchaeological research into the biocultural effects of Spanish colonialism on native Andean communities shows that traditional and popular narratives emphasizing the roles of epidemic disease and Spanish military superiority in the conquest of the Inca Empire are oversimplified. Bioarchaeologists are now interrogating the intricacies and etiologies of native mortality and depopulation, differential fertility, migration, and population recovery, as well as successful native adaptation. Their work demonstrates considerable variability and complexity in native responses to life under Spanish colonial rule, but these results are limited to the coastal valleys, and additional study is required from the other areas of the Inca Empire, especially the Yucay and the highland regions.
Alan Covey and Sonia Alconini
This chapter is an editorial conclusion to Part 1, addressing the themes of Inca origins that emerged in chapters on colonial chronicles, Andean prehistory, and the material remains of the Inca transformation of the city of Cuzco and its surrounding region. The concluding chapter focuses on the interplay between documentary and archaeological reconstructions of Inca origins, which begin at different points in the past and offer distinct narrative scales. Although colonial histories provided the sole source of information on Inca origins for centuries, archaeology has introduced important new questions about the relationships between the Inca Empire and earlier Andean states.
Conclusions: the political economy of royal estates and imperial centers in the heartland and more distant provinces
Sonia Alconini and Alan Covey
This chapter summarizes the themes presented in Part 2, which focused on centers of Inca power in the Cuzco region and other parts of the Andes. Focusing on the overlapping concepts of royal estates and imperial centers, the chapter considers the different governing functions of each category, as well as the special social statuses (mitmacona, yanacona, acllacona) providing the labor that sustained them. These people were part of Inca efforts to extend royal households (panacas) from the Cuzco region into the provinces. The provincial construction of new state farms and imperial centers echoed similar projects of agrarian intensification and estate building in the Inca heartland and outlying provinces, helping to create nodes of imperial social and economic power that supported the imperial administration of diverse populations from across the Andes.
Alan Covey and Sonia Alconini
This chapter is an editorial conclusion to Part 3, responding to the central issues raised in chapters on the military, political, and economic power of the Inca state. The concluding chapter mentions some large-scale theoretical formulations for imperial rule, and then discusses the trajectory of Inca militarism as the empire expanded beyond the Cuzco region. Conquest led to varying manifestations of Inca economic power, and many aspects of the political economy were projected from the household of the ruling Inca and his wife. Kinship served as a key means for connecting Inca rulers with subject populations, but local people could evade the imperial state under some circumstances, especially in areas where food production practices were different from those most familiar to the maize-farming Incas.
Sonia Alconini and Alan Covey
This chapter serves as an editorial overview summarizing salient topics appearing in the chapters of Part 5, which focus on religious aspects of Inca expansion and administration. The Incas emphasized the sacred power of their capital, Cuzco, as they entered local landscapes populated by supernatural forces. Cuzco held important temples and shrines, and its imperial highways connected to the sacred networks of other peoples. Like other Andean societies, the Incas moved between sacred places to offer sacrifices, and as their empire grew they developed long-distance pilgrimages to important locations. The most important imperial sacrifice was the capacocha, which offered human victims to powerful supernatural entities. Inca efforts to build new sacred networks reflect their desires to appropriate local sacred power, and the constraints that local shrines presented for establishing imperial authority.
Alan Covey and Sonia Alconini
This chapter is an editorial conclusion to Part 6, building on ideas that appeared in chapters on Inca aesthetics and the production of art and craft goods. The concluding chapter draws attention to the ways that Inca media and technology diverged from European value systems, and the ways that those differences led to biased interpretations of Andean cultural achievements. Questions of Inca civilization were central to the discourse of Spanish imperial expansion in the Andes, influencing written accounts intended to denigrate or defend the Inca legacy. Spanish writers did not appreciate the value of Inca craft production, nor did they fully comprehend the ways that Inca people preserved and deployed historical knowledge, technology, and cosmology. Modern scholars continue to wrestle with the expectations of colonial authors as they seek a more complete reconstruction of a distinctively Inca approach to the arts and sciences.
Alan Covey and Sonia Alconini
This chapter is an editorial conclusion to Part 7, developing important concepts that appear in the chapters on different aspects of continuity and change in the early colonial Andes. As modern scholars developed their interpretations of the meaning and impact of Spanish colonization, they confronted different facets of the colonial documentary record that grew up around questions of Inca sovereignty and Spanish imperial legitimacy. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the conquest of the Inca took on many different meanings, and authors have presented key themes in distinct ways. Most sources discuss the transfer of sovereignty from the Inca to the Habsburgs, the use of Spanish military force in the conquest of the Andes, the European belief that indigenous peoples were of a weak disposition, and the role of Catholic missionary work in establishing colonial rule.
Sonia Alconini and Alan Covey
This chapter addresses the key concepts discussed in Part 8, which focused on the persistence of Inca identity and associated politics of performance, indigeneity, and “Incanism.” The ruptures of natural disasters and political upheaval have allowed Cuzco to be rebuilt in new cycles that invoke Inca identity in distinct ways, the most recent of these as a center of world heritage. At a broader level, the colonial-era broadening of Inca identity helped to sustain indigenous rebellions against Spanish colonial rule, and this persisted after independence, as the Incas became a national Peruvian symbol. The globalization of Inca heritage sites has occurred alongside Inca-inspired representations of indigenous identity elsewhere, making the Incas the aspirational ancestors for different scales of identity-building. Inca sites like Machu Picchu serve as rich places for the intersections of different performances of what it means to be Inca.
Sonia Alconini and Alan Covey
This chapter provides commentary on the central themes emerging in the chapters in Part 4, which emphasize the bottom-up reconstruction of imperial negotiations in the Inca Empire. Scholars approach such analysis in different ways, depending on theoretical orientations, archaeological methodologies, and the available evidence from colonial ethnohistory and archaeology. A consistent theme across several diverse local cases is the symbolic management of local landscapes, which served as a source of local identity and power during Inca imperial interventions. Local elites influenced the spread of imperial power on provincial landscapes, and many of them appropriated elements of Inca aesthetics as they produced new hybrid craft goods and architecture. Frontier regions were particularly dynamic spaces for evolving local and imperial identities, and the Incas widely resettled populations to contested landscapes to transform frontiers into provincial spaces.
The Inca Empire extended across myriad Andean environments where indigenous peoples had previously developed diverse, locally sustainable practices of agricultural intensification and land modification. Inca expansion disrupted these indigenous landscapes by introducing new laborers, tribute obligations, and land divisions. Many Inca agricultural facilities, such as state farms and estates, were primarily designed to satisfy the demands of the imperial nobility and military, and introduced social contradictions between state officials and commoners that reshaped Andean landscapes. Some subject populations withstood or even resisted Inca domination by continuing traditional farming practices despite the development and implementation of state agrarian infrastructure.
The ruins of the Inca capital, Cuzco, lie among and beneath the colonial, republican, and modern buildings, plazas, and streets of the modern city. This chapter draws on ethnohistorical documentation and published and unpublished excavation reports to describe aspects of this city and its development and function. It discusses the meaning of the term ‘Cuzco’ and the myths concerning its foundation. Archaeological data is presented to outline the earlier Killke occupation prior to the replanning and reconstruction of the Inca city under Pachacuti. The history, architecture and archaeology of the major buildings, such as the Coricancha, the usnu complexes in the two plazas, Haucaypata and Limaqpampa, and the royal palaces, are presented as well as an analysis of the residential canchas and the walled enclosure of Hatuncancha, which housed the acllahuasi. Urban society is interpreted through a discussion of chronicle descriptions, artefactual distributions, ritual offerings and burial practices.
The earliest Europeans in the Andes marveled at the quality of Inca masonry and the engineering of imperial infrastructure. Hiram Bingham’s rediscovery of Machu Picchu brought international attention to Inca architecture, and in recent decades, scholars have begun to place the most elaborate Inca constructions into a broader context. Inca architecture is found at special sites, including royal estates, administrative sites on the royal road networks, and religious shrines. Much of the finest Inca construction is found in the Cuzco region, where several structural types can be discerned. Beyond the capital region, Inca architecture appears in a wide range of hybrid structures, as well as in design features that echo the elite buildings of Cuzco. Although the finest Inca constructions were built of stone, other materials were used to build and roof imperial buildings, and the use of adobe and other materials connotes status and stylistic variations across the empire.
J. Scott Raymond
Ecuador and Peru embrace a large and diverse mountainous landscape stretching from the equator to 18 degrees south latitude. Besides the bounty of protein available from the sea, there are no concentrations of natural food resources that could sustain more than a very small population. Yet it is here that the Inka Empire, the largest and most centralized state in the Pre-Columbian Americas, arose. Beginning with the occupation of the region during the early Holocene, this chapter traces the evolution of the food economies and changes in diet through time, paying attention to intraregional variations. Where possible, multiple lines of evidence are used—archaeofaunal, palaeoethnobotanical, bone isotope, settlement patterns—to elucidate diet and economy. It focuses on changes that were critical to the demographic and political expansion of Andean societies, e.g. crop domestication, technological innovation. Finally, it briefly considers how the Inka conquest impacted the diverse economies of the region.
Stone and ceramic figurines occurred in many pre-Columbian cultures of Amazonia but only appear as recurrent, traditional objects late in the cultural history of the region, primarily in the large settlements which flourished along the Lower Amazon and its estuaries. Marajoara and Santarém ceramics include an array of figurines depicting humans and animals, in languages emphasizing body transformation and reproduction, and, sometimes, decapitation. Some also performed as rattles, or maracas, an instrument traditionally related to shamanic power. Stone figurines from the Lower Amazon present similar modes of body representation and seem to be part of the drug paraphernalia used in shamanic rituals. Rather than being a marker for the appearance of more complex, agrarian societies, Amazonian figurines seem to be related to the intensification of deeply rooted shamanic practices. This chapter reviews the context and repertoires of figurine traditions within the different models proposed in Amazonian archaeology for pre-Columbian societies.