The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


People on the Move: Examining Tiwanaku State Expansion in the Cochabamba Valley of Central Bolivia through Strontium Isotope Analysis

CRISTIN A. LUCAS1, CORINA M. KELLNER1, FRANK C. RAMOS2 and KAREN ANDERSON3.

1Department of Anthropology, Northern Arizona University, 2Department of Geological Sciences, New Mexico State University, 3Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara

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Previous research in outlying Tiwanaku territories in the south-central Andes demonstrates a varied approach to state expansion and integration during the Middle Horizon period (A.D. 500 to 1100). This presentation examines the nature of Tiwanaku state expansion into the Cochabamba Valley of central Bolivia using strontium isotope analyses of archaeological human remains. Patterns of mobility are reconstructed for six individuals recovered from the proposed Tiwanaku colony of Piñami in the Cochabamba Valley to determine if the Tiwanaku state had a direct, physical presence in the region. Data from individuals interred at the site indicate that most were local inhabitants rather than migrants from the Tiwanaku heartland or another regional community. The low appearance of Tiwanaku migrants at Piñami and high occurrence of Tiwanaku material culture supports existing research that Piñami was connected to the highland polity indirectly rather than through direct state influence. These findings offer a more nuanced understanding of Tiwanaku state expansion and integration during the Middle Horizon, and contribute to a broader knowledge on prehistoric human migration and interaction in the south-central Andes.

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