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Engineering an Ecosystem of Resistance: Late Intermediate Period Farming in the South-Central Andes (A.D. 1100-1450)

Author(s): BrieAnna Langlie

Year: 2017

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In the 15th century, the Inca built the largest pre-colonial empire in the western hemisphere. In southern Peru near Lake Titicaca, an ethnic group known as the Colla violently resisted conquest by the Inca for several years. Because of their military prowess, the Inca named one quarter of their empire, Collasuyo, after this group. The Colla’s ability to resist Inca subjugation was facilitated by their decentralized economy evident in their construction and management of a new agricultural ecosystem. At the Colla hillfort Ayawiri, archaeological data indicate that the construction of terraces and the production of agricultural products were managed by kin groups. The terraces surrounding Ayawiri are irregular in form indicating no centralized authority oversaw construction. Furthermore, there is no irrigation system that would have required cooperation among farmers to manage the flow of water. This farming system provided households with economic autonomy that was resistant to incorporation into stable political forms, including the Inca Empire. The Colla were only integrated into the empire after they relocated from their hilltop communities atop terraced fields to valley-bottom towns. My case study provides key insights into the ways autonomous farming communities engineer ecosystems that can defy statecraft and resist integration into empires.

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Engineering an Ecosystem of Resistance: Late Intermediate Period Farming in the South-Central Andes (A.D. 1100-1450). BrieAnna Langlie. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429789)


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): 13286

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America