Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Negotiating power in the Wari empire: A comparative study of local-imperial interactions in the Moquegua and Majes Regions during the middle horizon (550–1050 CE)
by Goldstein, Robin Coleman, Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2010, 354; 3402416
Abstract (Summary)

Recently, studies of empires have focused on the variable and flexible nature of imperial rule across vast territories (e.g., Alcock et al. 2001; Schreiber 1992). Schreiber (1992) has described empires as exercising a “mosaic” of imperial control, clearly shaped by local factors. Despite these advances, we still lack an integrated model for understanding the processes and power relationships that underlie this mosaic. In this dissertation, I propose a new model in which to consider the development and maintenance of empires, based on the study of economic, military, and ideological power.

Multiple scales of analysis are necessary for this undertaking; I integrate household, mortuary, intra-regional, and inter-regional data to provide a holistic picture of both local and imperial strategies. While most of my data comes from my dissertation excavations, I also rely heavily on published datasets. This broad, comparative approach enabled me to explore regional dynamics of two valleys across two time periods. I examine the role of Wari in two regions south of the Ayacucho capital, Majes and Moquegua.

The Middle Horizon (MH) (550-1050 CE) marked the reign of Wari imperialism, where Wari influence reshaped local politics on an unprecedented scale and a corresponding shift occurred in the material record. In the Majes Region, Wari presence was highly localized: Wari imperial agents took advantage of intra-regional violence, incorporating emerging local elites into the imperial political economy. Populations were then integrated into the political economy via their local leaders. In contrast, the formal colonial outpost of Cerro Baúl was established on the frontier with the competing Tiwanaku Empire; a strict political hierarchy and replication of imperial canons maintained a close-knit community composed largely of Wari warriors dedicated to the security of the frontier.

The distinct negotiations of economic, military, and ideological power in the Majes and Moquegua regions provides a model for Wari imperialism, as well as highlights the active role of local agents. By examining empires as intersecting and sometimes discordant manipulations of power sources, we can begin to develop a clearer understanding of imperial processes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Earle, Timothy K., Williams, Ryan
Commitee: Brumfiel, Elizabeth M., Robin, Cynthia, Weismantel, Mary
School: Northwestern University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 71/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: Economy, Empire, Household, Local, Power, Wari
Publication Number: 3402416
ISBN: 9781109745245
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