From the Ocean to the Mountain: Marine Shell in the Patipampa Sector, Huari, Ayacucho, Peru

Author(s): Halona Young-Wolfe

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Seeing Wari through the Lens of the Everyday: Results from the Patipampa Sector of Huari" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Excavations in the residential area of Patipampa in the city of Huari revealed a striking amount of marine shell. While a large percentage of this shell assembly is spondylus, other marine shell, such as mussel, is also present. The assemblage includes worked shell objects, unworked fragments and whole shells. The variety of marine shell at this highland site raises questions about the use, movement, and meaning of marine shell during the Middle Horizon. While the use of spondylus in the Andes is well documented, much less is understood about how the Wari people obtained, utilized, and valued other types of marine shell. This talk uses the shell assemblage from Patipampa to explore the use and significance of marine shell in the Wari empire. Were shell items manufactured in the residential areas of the Huari capital? Was shell a high status item limited to the Wari elite, or does the Patipampa evidence point to a broader availability of shell objects? What can the Patipampa shell assemblage tell us about the movement of shell from the Pacific Ocean to the Andean highlands? And how are the histories of these objects entwined with the lives of people throughout the Wari empire?

Cite this Record

From the Ocean to the Mountain: Marine Shell in the Patipampa Sector, Huari, Ayacucho, Peru. Halona Young-Wolfe. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452294)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25903