Breaking with Tradition: Late Formative Pukara in the Northern Lake Titicaca Basin, Peru

Author(s): Elizabeth Klarich

Year: 2016


The Formative Period in the Lake Titicaca Basin (1500 BC- AD 400) is often characterized as a time when diverse groups were linked through their participation in the Yaya-Mama Religious Tradition (YMRT). Small temple centers—characterized by sunken court temple complexes, stone sculpture, ritual paraphernalia, and shared iconography—dotted the Middle Formative landscape across the Basin (800-200 BC). In this framework, the temple centers formed a ceremonial network, providing access to non-local goods and other resources for participating communities. One of these YMRT temple centers, Pukara, expanded its size and influence as a regional center in the northern Basin during the Late Formative (200 BC- AD 200). This paper seeks to reframe the Late Formative in the northern Basin by focusing on evidence of significant breaks with existing traditions, which are reflected in new forms of monumental architecture, stone sculpture and decorated pottery, and shifting settlement patterns. Data from Pukara, which have been collected since the 1930s, are presented and then contextualized using recently acquired excavation and survey data from neighboring valleys. Lastly, the timing and nature of these transformations in the north are briefly compared to new research at Middle and Late Formative centers in the southern Basin.

Cite this Record

Breaking with Tradition: Late Formative Pukara in the Northern Lake Titicaca Basin, Peru. Elizabeth Klarich. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404368)


Spatial Coverage

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