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Evidence for the Intensification of Ritual Activity: State Strategy at the Tiwanaku Colony of Isla Esteves, Puno, Peru


Ceramic evidence from the island site of Isla Esteves in the Titicaca Basin of southern Peru sheds new light on the expansion of the Tiwanaku state during its regional period of selective colonization (CE 600-1000). As a Tiwanaku colony, Isla Esteves exhibits an intriguing mix of ceramics from the local Huaña tradition as well as both imported and locally manufactured Tiwanaku forms. Kero vessels, which played a central role in Tiwanaku communal ritual, are particularly abundant. While the data from Esteves (and the adjacent, local center, Huajje) suggest an economically strategic colonization, the site was also a community where the elaboration of public architecture over time paralleled an intensification in the production and consumption of ritual wares. This case study provides a deeper understanding of the centrality of ritual as a state strategy in a colonial context

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