Framing the Local within the Regional: Current Research in the Cusco Region, Peru

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

Cusco, Peru is best known as the navel of the Inca universe, but it was also home to postglacial high altitude hunter-gatherers, a network of Formative villages, Wari imperial colonies, rivals to early Inca elites, and a major locus of Spanish colonial rule. Coming out of a prolific phase of regional survey programs, the Cusco region has seen an explosion of problem-based excavations and analytical laboratory-based research that cuts across disciplinary lines. These projects are refining our understandings of biological, economic, and sociopolitical development in the region from the Archaic to Colonial periods. This symposium brings together scholars from diverse sociocultural and biological perspectives to explore patterns of change over the short term and longue durée. Papers approach themes such as migration, ties connecting Cusco to the outside world, the development of multiple and changing political agendas, and how local populations navigated all of the above.

Geographic Keywords
South America

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-6 of 6)

  • Documents (6)

  • The Development of Inequality in Middle Horizon Cusco: Entheogens and Ritual Ceremonies to the Rescue (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Véronique Bélisle.

    The Andean and Amazonian regions are home to numerous plants that can be prepared to induce altered states of consciousness. During the pre-Inka period in the Cusco area, evidence from the village of Ak'awillay indicates the consumption of alcohol, coca, and hallucinogens in public ceremonies. Some of the rituals involving entheogens could have corresponded to healing sessions, but the paraphernalia uncovered at the site suggests that most hallucinogens were consumed to communicate with the...

  • Ecological Variation and Trajectories of Village Settlement in Formative Cusco (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Camille Weinberg. Nicole Payntar. R. Alan Covey.

    Regional surveys to the north and west of Cusco demonstrate that the earliest villages (c. 1000 BC – AD 300) are found across a wide elevation range, and in varying contexts of local ecological diversity. This paper considers the role that local resource variation and subsistence practices might have played in the long-term stability of these early communities. Using data from 131 Formative Period sites registered across a 1200 square kilometer study region, we evaluate the surrounding...

  • Excavations at Vilcabamba (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Brian Bauer. Javier Fonseca Santa Cruz. Miriam Araoz Silva.

    After the Incas failed to regain control of their capital city from the Spaniards in 1536, many Inca loyalists withdrew into the Vilcabamba region. Over the next 40 years of organized indigenous resistance to Spanish rule, much of the Inca royal court was centered in the town of Vilcabamba and a host of critical events occurred in the region. Despite the important role that the city of Vilcabamba held in the final years of the Inca Empire, there have been few archaeological projects aimed at...

  • Multiscalar Analysis of an Early Rival to Inca Power (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only R. Alan Covey. Kylie Quave.

    Systematic regional survey research identified Yunkaray as a town at the center of a hierarchical network of villages near Maras, approximately 20 km to the northwest of the Inca capital. A grid of more than 80 intensive collection units established Yunkaray to be larger than 20 hectares, almost all of which was occupied and abandoned during the Late Intermediate Period (c. AD 1000-1400). The scarcity of Inca imperial pottery in surface collections suggested that abandonment occurred during the...

  • A new look into camelid management in Middle Horizon Cusco (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Maeve Skidmore. Sarah Kennedy.

    The Middle Horizon (AD 600-1000) brought dramatic changes to the Cusco region, particularly to valleys where Wari colonists settled in this period. Despite debate and research on the issue, our understanding of how Wari people altered local agropastoral arrangements in this zone remains limited. A prior study by the authors suggested that Wari populations maintained camelid flocks in a manner similar to that described for the Inca. Specifically it concluded that animals lived to maturity,...

  • New perspectives on the identities and ideologies of localized ancient Andean communities through the examination of figurines. (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Amanda Sinclair.

    This paper explores the quotidian use of figurines by the inhabitants of the village of Ak’awillay in the Cusco region. Most scholars have defined figurines as political tools used to support state ideologies. This research expands on this effort and focuses on the use of figurines in domestic contexts among non-state societies. The study of figurines from Ak’awillay and comparative data from archaeological and ethnographic contexts suggest that figurines had multiple uses and included ancestor...