Rethinking Inca Social Power in the Imperial Heartland (Cuzco, Peru)

Author(s): R. Alan Covey

Year: 2018


It is commonplace to note that the Inca Empire was the most powerful indigenous state in the Americas before the time of European invasions. Retrospective sixteenth-century Inca accounts played up the scale and intensity of imperial social power, but the ethnohistory and archaeology of the Cuzco region of highland Peru--the Inca capital region--indicate more nuanced networks of power across the imperial heartland. Using Michael Mann's typology for social power as a guide, this poster develops documentary perspectives on networks of ideological, economic, military, and political power in Inca Cuzco. The ethnohistoric review will consider some distinctive features of the Quechua conceptualization of social power, which will then be compared with regional patterns from Cuzco's rural hinterland. Settlement patterns from the Sacred Valley and Xaquixaguana Plain demonstrate some socioecological patterns to the development of Inca social power, as well as some intriguing trajectories for building royal power on local landscapes during the generations of Inca imperial dominance.

Cite this Record

Rethinking Inca Social Power in the Imperial Heartland (Cuzco, Peru). R. Alan Covey. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443854)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20760