Glossary of Ancient States and Cities of South America

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used to keep narrative accounts; the inca word for an elaborate knotted string device used by the Inca and other peoples in Peru for record keeping
binary-coded :
system of information storage or processing in 2 states (ex: 0, 1)
Shicra construction
-by which armies of workers would gather a long, durable grass known as shicra in the highlands above the city, tie the grass strands into loosely meshed bags, fill the bags with boulders, and then pack the trenches behind each successive retaining wall of the step pyramids with the stone-filled bags. With bags acting as landfill, anchoring and reinforcing the structure at each stage, the people of Caral were able to build pyramids up to 70 feet tall.
o Used at the Caral site
Cupisnique artistic / religious tradition
a pre Colombian culture in what is present day Peru. Pacific Coast
Andean duality
The Cosmo vision of the Andean world is the conception of duality that is in permanent opposition, but complementary, like the principle of ying/yang that expresses this opposition between day/night, light/dark, man/woman, earth/sky, up/down.
Kotosh religious tradition
Pre-Inca civilization in Peru, from 2300-1200 AD, and the type site near Kotosh, near modern Huanuco. Kotosh tradition is classed as Late Archaic, although cultivated plants and marine resources provided much of the subsistence base, and permanent villages and multi-roomed ceremonial structures are characteristic of the sites.
intermontagne region of la sierra
high, grassy region of la sierra
la costa
-this is a bleak, dry, mountainous desert; the southern portion is the driest desert in the world (about 59 rivers running through narrow valleys from Andes to Pacific)
 major subsistence systems: marine resources (great fishing; boats are important; shell fish[high abundance, yet provide little protein]), irrigation agriculture (occurred somewhat later, only small percentage of area can be farmed b/c of narrow valleys, and small rivers with limited water) – leads to a movement of some settlements away from the coasts:
 coastal settlements located along shore and larger river valleys
• many Peruvian coastal valleys and small settlements
la sierra
Andes Mountains (high, rather narrow, broader-lower central area, valleys provide a place for farming, )
la selva
– the amazon; somewhat complex societies; these peoples traded with the other areas things of value (birds, medicine, drugs)
 forested region: mountain cloud forests on the eastern slopes (always foggy, cool temps), tropical rainforest of the lowlands
-biologically rich and diverse – (ie. domesticated tubers)
Late pre-ceramic: [coastal??]
-Agri: limited irrigation agri in coastal valleys, tuber cultivation in highlands with maize, use of cotton
-Settlements: inc size, public (ceremonial) arch
-Some (limited) evidence of social differentiation – not a lot; therefore, less occupational specialization, [food, tools, things] of elites are similar to commoners
-Ritual practices: significant monumental arch and ritual activity; contrasting ritual traditions
Late pre-ceramic in highlands:
 Subsistence: mixed agro-pastoral-hunting-gathering; llamas and alpacas for cargo and wool; small-scale irrigation agri
 Settlement: no evidence of occupation around centers (exp: la Galgada)
 Stratification: ambiguous evidence from la Galgada; “cellular” ritual structures suggest decentralized, egalitarian organizations vs. hierarchical; monuments unplanned / built episodically – less organization and mobilization of labour
Aspero, Supe Valley (coastal Peru site)
ca. 3000 BC; preceramic
Caral, Supe Valley (inland Peru Site)
ca. 2600 BC; prime example of Andean civic architecture
Kotosh, Northern Highlands, Peru
initial period [2,400 – 2000 BC, continuing into later periods])
El Paraiso (Chuquitanta) – southern Peruvian coast in Chillon Valley [ 2 km from coast]
initial period (ca. 1800 BC)
[1,850 – 1200 BC]
casma valley:
Centralized model:
• Casma valley was politically unified state – several urban centers
• 3 distinct social classes ( commoners, officials/administrators, ruling elite)
• leaders controlled commoner labor
• hierarchy supported by large-scale centralized storage (this pattern is important with the incas later on) and redistribution of food
less complex model
• several independent polities in valley (chiefdoms)
o evidence: separate canal systems, separate ceremonial centers, no cities ( what is a city? a political, economic, demographic that serves and is supported by an interlay = specialization occurs)
o minimal social status and wealth differences (no classes) – min political hierarchy;
o no centralized corporate institutions capable of storing and redistributing food
-early horizon [600 BC – AD 1]
o marked by wide distribution of obj with chavin iconography
o chavin is general thought to be the spread of a religious cult
paracas [750 BC – AD 1]
south coast of Peru
Chavin Horizon
the Peruvian coast / iconography: feline, pottery with handles
o Horizon?
Similarity of style, arch, and craft across large area for a specific, relatively short period of time;
 Why do horizon’s occur? Art styles are often emulated, controlling these styles can lead to power
• Ie. Olmec horizon is though to be traded among elite and then emulated by commoners
1. Moche
(AD 100 – 800)
north coast peru; b. -multiple simple states (think similar to Mycenean Greece) ; linked by common ideology and ….
i. Examples: Panamarca
dos cabezas ; moche center; Jequtepeque valley; AD 450 – 550; before the collapse
royal tombs
El Niño
Spanish) A warm-water countercurrent that periodically appears off the Peruvian coast, usually soon after Christmas, and alters the normal patterns of water temperature, flow, and salinity.
The Inca word for meshed bags containing rocks, used as fill in the construction of ancient Andean structures.
(Quechua) An Andean word for pyramid.
mit’a system
A means of tribute in prehispanic Andean South America that involved the use of conscripted laborers to complete discrete organizational tasks.
split inheritance
An Andean practice by which the successor to the throne inherited only the office of the dead ruler; his junior kinsmen received the lands, palace, and personal wealth of the dead ruler.
A South American beer made from maize.
maritime hypothesis
o This is the idea that complex Andean societies, precursors of the Incas, evolved from the coast, where reliance on fishing required some level of social organization, to inland sites, developing fully only when ceramics appeared around 1800 to 1500 B.C.
El Pariso:
( inital period, coastal peru); short occupation
u-shaped ceremonial complex
about 20 of them; these are socities that are based on irrigation farming, usually small; limited social differentiation; with regional differences; The shape of the mounds allow large audiences to view performances on the mounds
initial period sites
o Huaca la Flordia
o Pernil Alto
o Las Haldas
o La Galgada
o Huca Prieta
o Huaricoto
o Gargay
o Cardal
o La Gadgala
o CCaballo Muerto
o Huaca de lost Reyes
Similarity of style, architecture, and craft across large area for a specific, relatively short period of time
Interpretation is shared common belief systems as well as artistic styles
For Chavín does not appear to be political or cultural unification of region
early horizon, south coast peru
early intermediate site, located near the titicaca basin; early rival to tiwanaku
titicaca basin
location of much activity in the early intermed and middle horizon periods
Tiwanaku empire
- extensive trade networks
- collapse coincided with drought
mechanisms of empire formation;
1. trade
2. conquest
3. colonization
Raised Field Agriculture
Artificial raised planting mounds separated by water-filled canals
Supply moisture for crops
Absorb heat from solar radiation during the day
Emit heat during cold nights
Provide fish
Sludge used as fertilizer
Was significant percentage of the agriculture in region
Fields covered ~ 75 sq km
Highly productive (up to 400% higher than dry farming of potatoes)
-- dependent on:
1. large-scale relamation of wetlands
2. dikes
3. aqueducts
4. canals
wari empire
* 1st expansionist empire
- followed tiwanaku
- characterized by: 1) extenstive land modifications for agi production 2)road constructions - trade/warfare
3.) colonial outposts
examples of sites under the wari influence:
1. pikillacta - southern highland structure
2. jincamocco -
3. viracochapampa
4. cerro baul
5. pachacamac
-Complex hierarchical societies:
-Centralization of:
Political power
Economic control
-Marked inequality
-Economic differentiation
what brought about the moche collapse?
thought to be coincided with el nino events
north coast peru, early intermed
central coast peru, early intermed
- site provides a clearer understanding of moche social and economic organizatin - high social stratificaitons; specializations; early intermediate time frame
- capital at chan chan
-I-shaped copper / bronze sheets
-Often tied in bundles of hundreds of nearly-identical
-Apparently means of storing / exchanging wealth
-Common at Batán Grande, rare elsewhere
Sican / lambayeque state
- capital: Beta Grande
- late intermediate; northern peru coast; took over the northern moche lands
- use of irrigation systems
- some of its sites include:
1. tucume
chimor state/ empire
- late intermediate peoriod; central coast; later it conquors sican
- largest polity in the region;
- was conquored by incas
-used roadways, massive irrigaiton systems
- captial at chan chan; in moche valley
figure in iconography that is very prominent;
Chimor Imperial Strategy
-Installation of Chimu governor in conquered province
-Integration of conquered territory and population into imperial economy: 1. Tribute 2. Spread of Chimu material culture
-Resettlement of conquered populations
rectangular componds with high adobe walls -- found through the chimur empire
- functions:
1. royal residences
2. administrative
3. mortuary
- built sequentially;
Small U-shaped structures inside ciudadelas
- most compounds have several
-why? prob. are offices or court chambers for rulesr/administrativers
inca empire / tawantinsuvu
- largest native american empire; ethinically diverse
- capital: cuzcu
- examples of some of its sites:
1. ollantaytambo
2. pisac
3. macchu picchu --
4. huanuco pampa - an inca site
incan territorial division - 4 major
the inca, that was captured by the spanish and brought about the spanish conquest
the reader of the quipu
characteristics of the incas:
- use of terraces, storage for agri surplus, imposed levies; vast road and bridge systesm, ashlar and polygonal architecture;
- high-walled enclosures with single entry; residences of royal linagtes;
the most elaborate of the kancha
tiwanaku and hte inca
- the incan emperors calimed direct descent from the tiwanaku royal dynastites
- they both:
1. used lima caravans
- yet, they differed in scale, tiwanaku was more trade, inca was more admistrative of its vast relam-- however, the inca never gained complete control over all its territories

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