Login Join | Donate | Annual Meeting | Career Center | SAA News | Marketplace | Contact   Search
 Latin American Antiquity Minimize

Volume 14 Number 1 March 2003

Local Elites and the Reformation of Late Intermediate Period Sociopolitical and Economic Organization in Nasca, Peru
Christina A. Conlee

Abstract

The Late Intermediate period (A.D. 1000-1476) was a time between empires in the Andes when many regional groups reorganized and gained power. In the Nasca drainage this period has often been misrepresented, in part due to a focus on earlier cultural developments that were considerably different. Recent research attempts to provide a clearer picture of this time period by investigating sociopolitical and economic organization, and in particular the nature of local elites. Regional settlement patterns reveal that during this period population in the drainage was at its height with increased aggregation at town-size settlements. Excavations at the small village site of Pajonal Alto have identified local elites through variations in architecture and material culture. Evidence from Pajonal Alto reveals that there was a reformation of society in the Late Intermediate period and local elites were no longer primarily associated with ceremonial centers but instead were present at every level of the settlement hierarchy. Elites obtained and maintained power in a variety of ways including participation in the production of utilitarian items, exchange, feasting, and community/exclusive ritual. Instead of integration through communal ritual on a regional level during certain times of the year, integration was based on a large network of local elites who had power that was wielded on a day-to-day basis.

Resumen

El periodo Intermedio Tardío (1000-1476 d.C.) fue una etapa entre imperios en el que muchos grupos regionales ganaron poder. En el valle del Río Grande de Nasca este periodo ha sido a menudo ignorado y mal entendido, en parte debido a la atención prestada a anteriores desarrollos culturales significativamente diferentes. Este trabajo tiene como objetivo cubrir esta laguna en la prehistoria de la región Nasca discutiendo su organización sociopolítica y económica, especialmente la naturaleza de las elites durante el periodo Intermedio Tardío. Excavaciones en el yacimiento de Pajonal Alto han identificado la presencia de elites a través de variaciones en su arquitectura y cultura material. La evidencia de Pajonal Alto revela que se produjo una transformación de la sociedad en el periodo Intermedio Tardío donde las elites ya no se encuentran asociadas únicamente a centros ceremoniales, sino que se hallan presentes en todo tipo de sitios. Estas elites ganaron y mantuvieron su poder de maneras diversas, incluyendo la participación y/o control de la producción y distribución de artefactos de uso doméstico, así como en el intercambio, festins, y en rituales de carácter comunitario o exclusivo. En lugar de integrarse a través de rituales comunitarios a nivel regional únicamente durante determinadas épocas del año, se observa un crecimiento de elites locales que usan su poder de manera cotidiana.

 Print