Potters, Power and Prestige: Early Intermediate Period and Middle Horizon Ceramic Production At Conchopata, Ayacucho, Peru (A.D. 400-1000)
Potters, Power and Prestige: Early Intermediate Period and Middle Horizon Ceramic Production At Conchopata, Ayacucho, Peru (A.D. 400-1000)Barbara Lee Wolff, Ph.D.Director: Anita G. Cook, Ph.D.This dissertation examines changes in the organization of ceramic production at Conchopata, an archaeological site in Peru's Ayacucho Basin, over a six hundred year period (A.D. 400-1000) that coincided with the rise and expansion of Wari, an early Andean empire whose eponymous capital was nearby. The context, concentration and intensity of ceramic production are examined for each period of Conchopata's occupation, as is the likely composition of productive groups. The results suggest that the early Wari state staged the successful installation of a tightly coupled complex of construction, elite occupation, feasting, religious ideology and ceramic production at Conchopata.The research addresses these topics by examining the spatial and temporal distribution of sites, architecture and artifacts during the period of Conchopata's occupation. The underlying intra-site data were collected during 1999-2003 salvage excavations at Conchopata and artifact analysis that took place from 2002-2009. Analysis at the regional level relies upon survey data concerning nearly 500 nearby archaeological sites that were collected during the 1969-1971 Ayacucho-Huanta Archaeological Botanical Project, as well as excavation reports from Ayacucho Basin sites that were contemporary with Conchopata.The research confirms that from approximately A.D. 400-1000 independent household ceramic production took place at Conchopata. Beginning around A.D. 600, the beginning of the Andean Middle Horizon, this form of production appears to have co-existed alongside intensified, state-controlled production of ceremonial and quotidian ceramics under the influence of the expanding Wari Empire. Throughout the Middle Horizon, Ayacucho Basin ceramic production appears to have been concentrated at Conchopata and perhaps Wari rather than evenly dispersed among sites in the area.In addition to intensification of ceramic production, Wari influence included the construction of planned architecture and changes in ceremonial practices. The planned imposition of this complex of related activities may represent an early example of a strategy more widely employed as Wari expanded into other regions. It is of interest to those who study the Wari polity, but also to those more generally interested in the rise of political complexity and the role of craft production in archaic states.
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