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Transformations of warfare in the pre-Columbian Andes: warrior kings, hillfort communities, and conquest empires

Dr. Liz Arkush, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh
Thursday, October 6, 2016
12:00-1:00 PM
Room 2009 Ruthven Museums Building Map
Scholarly treatments of warfare in the Andes have often assumed deep continuities in Andean practice and worldview over the sequence. But in fact, the archaeological record is one of tremendous variability in warfare over time and space. Here I compare three different moments in the Andean sequence to highlight the most marked contrasts in the practice and the symbolism of warfare. Societies of the Early Intermediate Period, most famously represented by the Moche, developed elaborate traditions of warlike imagery and performance as the elite class engaged in factional rivalries and attempted to naturalize relationships of social dominance. Societies of the Late Intermediate Period in the highlands waged fierce land wars that threatened the population at large, without referencing warfare in symbolism or spectacle. Chimu and Inca conquests inaugurated a new role for war as the primary technique of coercive control of populations and their territories. In this talk, I inquire how changing conditions of political interaction over time may have shaped the aims of both warfare and war-related spectacle in the Andes.
Building: Ruthven Museums Building
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Anthropology, Latin America
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Museum of Anthropological Archaeology