Spinning in the Middle Horizon: Spindle Whorls from the Site of Uraca in the Majas Valley

Author(s): Megan Allen

Year: 2015


Textiles were a major economic component in the prehistoric Andes. Mortuary evidence indicates an association between women and textile production. While spinning may have been an activity undertaken by both men and women, women dominated the produced domestic textiles and therefore were often buried with textile related tools. Spindle whorls from mortuary contexts can be used to determine the quality of the final cloth. Smaller spindle whorls produce a finer quality of yarn for elite products while larger whorls produce yarn more suited for domestic use. This project will focus on the production of domestic and elite status textiles. From the Middle Horizon cemetery site of Uraca in southern Peru 87 spindle whorls have been recovered. Many of the whorls are associated with yarns either wrapped around the shaft or extending from the interior of the whorl. All of the yarns are single plied and Z spun, suggesting a non-specialized function. Using ethnographic and ethnohistoric accounts along with archaeological evidence I will seek connect the spindle whorls to domestic yarn production.

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Cite this Record

Spinning in the Middle Horizon: Spindle Whorls from the Site of Uraca in the Majas Valley. Megan Allen. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396730)


Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

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