Social Complexity in the Central Andean Region: Current Research on the Initial Period and Early Horizon - Part 1

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

The Initial Period is often considered an outgrowth of trends that first appear in the late Preceramic Period. However, archaeological research shows that the Initial Period was in fact a time of significant cultural dynamism, which included the first appearance of pottery, expansion of agricultural systems and a proliferation of monumental public architecture. Meanwhile, Early Horizon studies have traditionally focused on the Chavin phenomenon, obscuring broader trends in cultural trajectories. This session is aimed at exploring the archaeology of the second and first millennia BC, with a particular focus on recent research undertaken throughout coastal and highland Peru over the last 10 years. Topics that will be addressed in this session include chronology, the emergence of pottery technology, domestic and village life, ritual and debates centered on sociopolitical organization.

Geographic Keywords
South America

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-12 of 12)

  • Documents (12)

  • Ceremonial Center and Domestic Rituals: The Case of Campanayuq Rumi, South-Central Highlands of Peru (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Yuichi Matsumoto. Jason Nesbitt. Yuri Cavero. Edison Mendoza.

    The main theme of this paper is to reconsider the relationship between the ritual activities in public architecture and domestic rituals carried out in the area outside of ceremonial core through the recent data of Campanayuq Rumi, a late Initial Period and Early Horizon ceremonial center in the Peruvian south-central highlands. New data from the domestic areas of Campanayuq Rumi suggest that ritual activities had been carried out before the construction of public architecture. While the...

  • Early "Guañape" Ceramics from the North Coast of Peru: New Data from Gramalote (Moche Valley) and Huaca Prieta (Chicama Valley) (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Gabriel Prieto. Jeffrey Quilter. Tom Dillehay.

    The problem of the introduction or adoption of the ceramic technology in the Central Andes is still an open debate. Earlier efforts have identified that ceramic vessels in the Moche and Chicama valleys were already in use around 1600-1500 B.C. Current research support the fact that the Second millennium is tentatively the period when domestic wares became popular in this region. New data from the Gramalote and Huaca Prieta sites support this view, suggesting that there seems to be formal...

  • Household Practice and Early Forms of Social Inequality in Huaca Negra, Viru Valley (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Peiyu Chen.

    This research attempts to understand daily household practice in Huaca Negra, a coastal site that was occupied from 5,000 to 3,000 B.P. in the Viru Valley, to answer two interrelated research questions: (1) Were there signs of institutionalized social inequality represented at the household level in Huaca Negra during its occupation? (2) If so, through what kinds of daily household practices did potential leaders in this particular community differentiate themselves from others? Alternatively,...

  • The Importance of the Initial Period in the Development of Early Peruvian Civilization (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Thomas Pozorski. Shelia Pozorski.

    Research over the past 50 years has demonstrated the importance of the Initial Period (2100-1000 B.C.) societies that thrived along the Peruvian coast over 3000 years ago. The Initial Period, once viewed as a mere continuation of the subsistence-oriented Late Preceramic Period (3500-2100 B.C.) with the addition of pottery, is now widely considered to be a time of dynamic cultural change, witnessing the development and maturation of many of the social, political, and economic institutions that...

  • The Initial Period from the Perspective of the Casma Valley on the Northern Peruvian Coast (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Shelia Pozorski. Thomas Pozorski. Bobbie Lovett. Rosa Marin.

    During the Initial Period (2100-1000 B.C.), the largest platform mound in the New World was constructed at Sechin Alto site in the Casma Valley. Measuring 300 m x 250 m x 35 m tall, this mound served as the administrative center for the Sechin Alto Polity which included over a dozen sites, most with monumental architecture. Our current understanding of the Sechin Alto Polity and how it functioned comes from decades of fieldwork by other researchers and by us, and this research is ongoing. This...

  • Initial Period Irrigation-based Societies in the Viru Valley, Peru (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Thomas Zoubek.

    Radiocarbon dates from the sites of V-198 and Huaca El Gallo/La Gallina in the Viru Valley of Peru illustrate that the transition inland from the coast and the construction of monumental corporate architecture based on irrigation agriculture was not unique to the Supe Valle area along the Andean coastline. A second instance has been identified in Viru where it is also associated with the use of ceramics as early as 3950 years before present (2450 calibrated years B.C.). This pushes back the...

  • Localized Formative Traditions in the Upper Nepeña River Valley, Ancash, Peru: The 2015 Excavations at the Cosma Archaeological Complex (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kimberly Munro.

    This paper will explore the development and use of a localized ceremonial complex at the base of the Cordillera Negra Mountains, in coastal Ancash. Located at the headwaters of the Nepeña River valley at an elevation of 2650 masl, the Cosma Archaeological Complex shows a repeated occupation from the Pre-Ceramic through Late Horizon. This paper will cover the chronology and ritual use of the two main ceremonial mounds: Karecoto, and Acshipucoto, which date from the Pre-Ceramic through Final...

  • Lost in Translation in the Formative Period: The Iconography of a Bear from the Formative Period Ceramics (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Yumi Huntington.

    Throughout ancient Andean culture, animals and their attributes have been depicted in objects of material culture associated with religious ceremonies, political authority, and social status. So far, scholars have focused on only a few types of animals, including felines, serpents, caimans, and eagles, for their significant roles in Andean cosmology and society. One important animal has largely been neglected: the bear, which is actually a major species in the Andean habitat, and which also...

  • One Thousand Years of Regional Integration: Malpaso and the Role of U-Shaped Temples in Long-Distance Exchange (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Christopher Milan.

    Located 31 km from the Pacific, Malpaso is the most inland of 8 U-shaped temples in the Lurín Valley. This form of monumental architecture is associated with the Manchay culture that dominated the central coast of Peru during the Initial Period. Malpaso is also one of only a few U-shaped temples located in the chaupiyunga, a climatic zone that serves as an intermediary between the Pacific coast and the Andean highlands. Consequently, Malpaso shows ties not only to the U-shaped temples of the...

  • Revisiting the Chronology of Chavin de Huantar (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Richard Burger.

    Chavin de Huantar continues to play a central role in our understanding of the Central Andes during the Initial Period and Early Horizon and thus an understanding of it chronological position remains crucial. This talk will present a critique of the contribution of recent work at Chavin to this theme, including a consideration of both ceramic and radiocarbon sequences. A new set of radiocarbon measurements based on the analysis of animal bone from the residential sector will be presented and...

  • Social Interactions at Gramalote: A Ceramic Production Perspective (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Isabelle Druc. Gabriel O. Prieto.

    Recent petrographic analysis of ceramics and comparative samples from the Formative site of Gramalote, on the North coast of Peru, allows us to brush a tentative portrait of ceramic production at or for Gramalote. Considering ceramics as part of a socio-economic network, the identification of different paste groups yields information relative to some of the interactions occurring at that time period in the Gramalote region.

  • Variations in Initial Period Ceremonial Architecture at the Caballo Muerto Complex (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jason Nesbitt.

    The Caballo Muerto Complex is well known for the presence of numerous Initial Period platform mounds thought to have functioned as temples. What is less known, is that some of the mounds, including Huaca Herederos Grande and Huaca Cortada were associated with smaller-scale buildings that also seem to have functioned as religious structures. In this paper, I discuss investigations of a square abode building found at the base of Huaca Cortada. Excavation of the structure demonstrated that the...