Why did they leave? The Wari Withdrawal from Moquegua

Author(s): Donna Nash; Ryan Williams

Year: 2017


In Moquegua the monumental provincial center of Cerro Baúl was ritually abandoned circa 1050CE. It is at this time that Wari affiliated occupation of the sacred summit ended and production of imperial Wari goods ceased in the region. This evidence does not indicate that the empire collapsed at this time, but instead suggests when Wari officials chose to withdraw from this frontier region. Why did they leave? In this paper we discuss the changing population dynamics in Moquegua at 1050CE and how a number of factors may have undermined the legitimacy of Wari elites, who relied heavily on ritual and supernatural sanction to dominate the valley. We describe the nature of Wari ritual practice in previous periods and how it may have been a key strategy in Moquegua for incorporating local, subordinate elites. Yet, by 1050CE much had changed. Settlement patterns shifted and alternative econiches became important. Tiwanaku colonies transformed and the Chiribaya polity grew. We suggest that these changes, among others, may have undermined the supernatural sanction of Wari elites and they could no longer muster the resources to maintain their colonial presence in Moquegua.

Cite this Record

Why did they leave? The Wari Withdrawal from Moquegua. Donna Nash, Ryan Williams. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429643)


Collapse Empire Ritual

Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14647