Architecture And Power In The Expansion Of A Small Polity: A Study Of Chancay Rural Elite Residences
This dissertation addresses community-level political and economic organization during the Late Intermediate Period (A.D. 1100-1435) at Quipico, Huaura Valley, northcentral coast of Peru. During the Late Intermediate Period the Huara Valley was under the influence of the Chancay, a little-known polity that offers an opportunity to examine the reconfiguration and coalescence of regional powers in the space created after the collapse of Huari and prior to Inca expansion. What form did Chancay organization take, and in particular, how was it manifested in the Huaura Valley? This question is simply a regionally-based version of Wilson's (2008:1): “What role did small-scale social groups play in the emergence of regionally organized political hierarchies?” Once I began investigations at Quipico, it became clear that the basic culture history description for the Chancay was lacking. An important part of this research, then, was to construct a detailed profile of the geographical, environmental, chronological, and material remains of the Chancay archaeological culture. Rather than excavating several sites in the region—an impractical prospect considering the size and scope of this project—I decided to examine Quipico, a small site of tapial (poured adobe) buildings suspected to have served as elite residences which also served as storage and redistribution centers. I have focused on elites as the source of local control in the Huaura Valley and the most impacted during valley-wide changes in political affiliation. I chose architecture as a major medium by which to view these changes because it is well preserved in the region and argued to be less subject to outside stylistic influences. It is unrealistic, however, to think that these complex questions of socio-political organization of the Chancay can be answered by excavation at one small site. Instead, I had the goal of using excavations at Quipico, combined with previous studies to help build a better understanding of the more general social, economic, and political processes of the Chancay occupation in the Huaura Valley.