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No country for old people : a paleodemographic study of Tiwanaku return migration in Moquegua, Peru


During the Middle Horizon period (A.D. 500-1000), the Tiwanaku polity, located in the Lake Titicaca Basin of the south-central Andes, established colonial enclaves in the coastal Moquegua Valley. The colonists maintained their Tiwanaku-affiliated identity for many centuries, while living in diaspora. This is indicative of strong ties that must have existed between the colonists and their homeland. Although archaeological research has focused extensively on the migratory influx of Tiwanaku people to Moquegua, the possibility of return migration from the colonies to the homeland has been less emphasized. This thesis investigates the migratory behavior of Tiwanaku colonists in Moquegua using a paleodemographic approach. The population samples represent two different Tiwanaku social groups that lived in Moquegua and practiced distinct subsistence strategies. By comparing the demographic samples of agro-pastoralist and agriculturalist populations in Moquegua to the demographic uniformitarian model, it is possible to explore whether or not return migration did in fact impact the colonists and how different sub-groups of the greater Tiwanaku population were affected differently. The presence of return migration and sojourning between the homeland and the colonies opens up new avenues of research to be conducted in both regions in order to better understand the impacts of migratory processes among the Tiwanaku. This study also carries important implication for the future use of paleodemographic data in the investigation of return migration in archaeological populations

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