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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cerro Trapiche and the Wari Frontier Experience in the Middle Moquegua Valley, Perú

  • Author(s): Green, Ulrike Matthies
  • et al.

This dissertation presents research from the Site of Cerro Trapiche in the Moquegua Valley in Southern Peru. Initially the thesis examines the general archaeological exploration of prehistoric expansive state societies and then extends them to the understanding of the expanding Wari Empire during the Middle Horizon Period (AD 600-1000) into the Moquegua valley in Southern Peru. In order to expand traditional frameworks of imperial control over peripheries I consider models of frontier interaction as a potential approach to examine the complex layered exchanges at the far ends of the Wari empire. Such models view the frontier zone in two ways. Either as a linear political boundary that set the state apart from the foreign other or they understand the frontier as wild landscapes that need to be encultured and thus focus on the frontier experience as a multidimensional process of change that includes newcomers as well as existing populations and natural resources. Viewed through a lens of frontier interaction, new data from the residential terraces and ceremonial sector at Cerro Trapiche in the Moquegua valley of Southern Peru is presented in chapters 5 and 6. This data offers critical insights into the processes of cultural exchange in the frontier between the Wari and Tiwanaku states of the Middle Horizon Period and the indigenous agrarian population. I suggest that both local Huaracane and foreign Wari groups engaged in direct cultural exchanges at this site and eventually created a mixed settlement reflecting the changing cultural landscape in the middle Moquegua valley. This scenario complements both existing as well as newly emerging research models that examine the influence of Wari expansion during the Middle Horizon. The Cerro Trapiche evidence suggests that the Wari used very specific strategies to accommodate both diplomatic ties with Tiwanaku as well as the local population in the Moquegua valley. The application of a frontier approach to the study of ancient empire peripheries has great potential to enhance our understanding of the multitude of complex cultural, political, economic, and social exchanges that take place at the fringes of expansive states

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