If success can be judged by stability and duration

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If success can be judged by stability and duration, then Tiwanaku was the most successful state ever to arise in the Andes. Yet, with no written sources and with comparatively little archaeological data, our understanding of Tiwanaku expansion is still somewhat speculative. Tiwanaku has been considered a market trade center with a religious or ideological system disseminated by proselytizing merchants (Browman 1978, 1980), a religious and military movement (Serracino 1980), an "apolitical, ideo-economic network" (Wallace 1980), and, most commonly, an example of "Andean verticality", a form of socioeconomic organization purportedly unique to the Andes (Lumbreras 1973, Nuñez 1973, Mujica 1985, Murra 1975, etc.). Berenguer et.al. (1980) suggest convincingly that Tiwanaku expansion took different forms in different places. Ponce (1972) imagines Tiwanaku growing by establishing colonies that later served as bases for military conquest. Others imply that Tiwanaku settlements spread unhindered by indigenous opposition, coexisting more than interacting with smaller, less highly organized groups (Lumbreras 1973, Rivera 1980, Muñoz 1981, Kolata 1988). Most assert that peripheral Tiwanaku sites on the western and eastern slopes of the Andes were colonies established specifically to export low-altitude crops such as maize, cotton, ají peppers, coca, and fruits to the altiplano; the coastal sites would also have exported marine resources such as dried fish, shellfish, seaweed, and guano (Kolata 1988, Mujica 1985, Flores 1972, Rivera 1980). These sketch models are based largely on our incomplete knowledge of Tiwanaku settlement patterns, the geographic distribution of decorated status or ritual artifacts, and grave goods from Tiwanaku cemeteries. While Ponce and others (Bennett 1937, Ponce 1972, Dauelsberg 1960) have laid the crucial descriptive and chronological groundwork, we are just now seeing the important fruits of Kolata's (1982, 1988) more explicitly problem-oriented, ongoing excavations in the Tiwanaku heartland, and of Goldstein's (1985, in press) illuminating work on Tiwanaku in the middle Osmore valley. Both reveal large populations organized to extract agricultural produce on a grand scale. The research proposed here takes the next step away 2
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from the altiplano heartland to the Tiwanaku colonies of the lower Osmore near the Pacific coast, with the intention of assessing the nature of Tiwanaku expansion towards the coast, what motivated it, how it functioned, and how it was similar to, and distinct from, other early state- level expansive developments in the Andes and elsewhere. Background This project will focus on the two known Tiwanaku colonies in the lower Osmore drainage, El Algodonal and Loreto Viejo (fig. 2). It will be one of several relatively independent research efforts operating under the aegis of the Programa Contisuyu, a loose group of cooperating archaeologists working in the Osmore drainage.
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  • Fall '02
  • BruceOwen
  • Radiocarbon dating, Tiwanaku, tiwanaku colonies, tiwanaku expansion

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