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The Political Strategies of Tiwanaku Leaders in Moquegua, Peru : : An Analysis of Tiwanaku Priests and the Inner Chambers of the Omo Temple


Did Tiwanaku elites hold themselves above the populous though self-centered behavior and by promoting self- aggrandizing activities, or did they uphold a group- oriented corporate code that sought integrative activities? This thesis investigates the political strategies used in the competition of sources of power by Tiwanaku provincial elites in the Moquegua Valley, Peru. Occupation of this lower valley by the Tiwanaku polity occurred approximately during AD 600-1100. I argue that Tiwanaku leaders in Moquegua did not attempt the monopolization of agricultural production and in general there is a lack of evidence for grandiose displays of wealth in Moquegua that would have signal hierarchical status differentiations. However, excavation of the Omo temple's restricted Upper Court and newly discovered inner chambers has uncovered evidence that ritual knowledge, as a source of power, was limited to a select group of individuals. This group of priests enjoyed privileged access to these private spaces and maintained exclusive control the secret information and sacred objects needed to carry out the ritual practices necessitated by the Tiwanaku cosmological worldview. This thesis describes these new finds of the temple's inner chambers and their implications for our understanding of Tiwanaku ceremonial and community life in the Moquegua Valley. Through this comprehensive investigation of political behavior that incorporates a broad range of power sources, thesis attempts to move beyond the general label of "elite" and work towards a more precise understanding of roles and positions of agents in the Tiwanaku world

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