Rethinking the Urban Microcosm in the Ancient Andes: The extended neighborhoods of the North Coast of Peru

Author(s): Edward Swenson

Year: 2015


Anthropologists have argued that early urban neighborhoods were equivalent to small villages that maintained kinship relations and economic dependencies characteristic of the rural sphere. Other scholars have noted that different urban centers (including in Mesoamerica, Angkor, and New Kingdom Egypt) were similarly configured as "sociograms" of larger territorial and ethnic boundaries. The political landscape of the North Coast of Peru offers important comparative data by which to assess the social, spatial, and symbolic divisions of pre-industrial cities. An analysis of the residential sectors of a number of Moche settlements in the Jequetepeque Valley reveals that distinct neighborhoods can be tied to rural and likely kin-based affiliations. However, the diversity between these centers and the non-fixed and extended nature of Jequetepeque neighborhoods reveal that North Coast urbanism defies reduction to an Asiatic mode of urbanism (Marx’s "ruralisation of the urban") or related village-state models. Instead, the distinctive neighborhood configurations are best explained in terms of historically specific religious and political ideologies.

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Cite this Record

Rethinking the Urban Microcosm in the Ancient Andes: The extended neighborhoods of the North Coast of Peru. Edward Swenson. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394824)


Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;