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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Examining Wari influence in the Las Trancas Valley, Peru using oxygen isotopes from bone carbonate

  • Author(s): Henry, Erin-Marie Lelik
  • et al.

The Nasca region of the Las Trancas Valley in south coastal Peru is considered to be one of several peripheral regions which were influenced by the highland Wari empire during the Middle Horizon (750-1000 AD). They are thought to have had socioeconomic and political ties with the neighboring empire. The Wari are considered to be one of the first expansive states that developed in the Andean region (Schreiber, 1992; 1999). The extent of Wari control based on archaeological evidence and diet reconstruction, however, remains inconclusive. I tested the hypotheses regarding the nature of Wari influence (i.e. presence of Wari emissaries) in the Las Trancas Valley by analyzing the oxygen isotope of human bone from burials dating prior to and during Wari influence. The oxygen isotope was used to determine whether or not individuals from high-altitude regions were present in low-altitude regions. Burials during Wari influence, distinguished by presence of either local Loro ceramics or imperial Chakipampa style ceramics, showed similar isotope patterning for individuals from higher elevation. The construction of the puqio during the Late Nasca most likely contributed to the differences seen in [delta]¹⁸O of bone carbonate, but continued decrease during Late Nasca and Imperial period further support the idea that foreign born individuals were present

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