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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Colonial documents demonstrate that the Incas thought about and described their origins in different ways: as the invention of a unique imperial ruling title, as the genealogy of royal households descended from previous rulers, and as the unification of many Cuzco area groups to create an imperial heartland. These distinct approaches to the spread of Inca power can be tested archaeologically in different ways, and several models can be dismissed using the material evidence. Archaeological surveys and excavations in the Cuzco region indicate an early growth of Inca power, with a period of expansion and consolidation that preceded the rapid century of imperial campaigns beginning around 1400 ce. Recasting the spread of Inca power as a long-term process that involved men and women from multiple groups helps us see that the Inca project was not complete when Spaniards took control of the Cuzco region.

Keywords: Inca, power, Cuzco, archaeology, genealogy

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