Moche and Tiwanaku Ideologies

Garth Bawden begins his introduction into Moche politics by stating that in order for social development of this scale to come about, there has to be a “unique combination of internal developments and external interactions” (Bawden, 119) Their political influence is tied to a larger understanding of social relationships between people and objects in order to establish dominance. Using strong projections of ideology, power could be formulated by legitimising fictitious beliefs into reality. Moche ideological political power arose as early as the second millennium BC (during the Initial period). (Bawden, 120) A common ideological figure seen through out Moche material culture is the representation of shaman and shamanistic rituals. Ceramic vessels often depict many transformative interactions between a shaman and other worldly beings, that being gods or the dead. Depictions like this project the idea of a hierarchical ability which is reinforced through the culture’s understanding of death and ritual. Political ideologies focused around a particular position of power are also reinforced through ritual activity. A cross cultural understanding of one’s relationship to the dead reinforces their importance and power in social events such as sacrifice. Moche society flourished during the Middle Period and their political and social organization was at its highest control. (Bawden, 124) Specialized trade and monumental building solidified a dominant power fueled by political and religious control by the Moche. Shamanism and religious practice began to interweave its way into political order, finding ways to incorporate beliefs into everyday life. Temples began being adorned with religious figured and iconography, public rituals became regular and sacred sited became more recognized by the general public as places of power. This also created an aura around religious beings as they were the direct communicators with spiritual beings from the mortal world.


Chapter 10 focuses on the importance of domestic household archaeology and their importance for interpreting the archaeological record and Tiwanaku society. Tiwanaku was a bountiful city, expanding around 6.5 km2 by 800 A.D and was the home to around 15,000- 30,000 permanent inhabitants. (Janusek, 183) Although society functioned as a collective, represented by similar political, social and religious ideologies, the household is also a unique area for dynamic group interaction. Janusek believes that there needs to be a rejection of the idea that households of lower status communities were homogenous in their everyday practices, but instead held their own hierarchical power among their members and projected their own forms of social identity. (Janusek, 185) Instead of ritual events regulating power control, household relationship demonstrations were shown on a daily basis. (Janusek, 185) IT is understood that no culture could exist without some form of power and no person, community or larger social body is ever outside one’s boundary of power. Anyone involved in this two way power relationship is allocated a certain amount of power over another through social networks. (Janusek, 187) Social power by a ruling class is thus constructed around specific ideologies to which only a certain select can identify with, establishing specific qualifications for select forms of power. This can also be applied to household ideologies of status over others or a bounded relation to another group. An example of this in the text were the “apartment compounds” discovered at the Mayan capital of Teotihuacan. (Janusek, 188) Communities will congregate with other households they deem equal or related too, showing this through clothing, interactions with others, language and architecture of their houses. (Janusek, 188)

The expansion of the site of Tiwanaku during the Late Formative 1 is an example of how ideologies of religious power projected their message across the site. Social temple spaces were reconfigured around a cosmological layout, creating visual pathways to important celestial objects and landscapes. (Janusek, 195) The city in itself in relation to the monumental landscape surrounding it, was created to be an experience, a place where one can become lost in the projection of myth and religious ideologies through architecture and spatial organization. (Janusek, 196) The importance of figures who represent the connection from the present world to the spirit world is evident in excavated buildings in Tiwanaku. Throughout the city, buildings were adorned with various iconographic symbols representing the chakana (the Andean cross, a step-sided diamond) which represented the spiritual significance. (Stone, 133) Kitchen’s rich with prime cuts of meat and other ingredients along with highly specialized and labor intensive masonry for walls and walkways have been found in areas of elite living. The importance of these people, and the messages and images associated with them, was well known among Tiwanaku inhabitants. So well known in fact, that they established a social distinction above others outside of the common society, one which is respected and well rewarded in fine goods, such as meals and living quarters. (Janusekm 200)

Works Cited:

Bawden, Garth. “The Art of Moche Politics.” in Andean Archaeology. ed. Silverman, Helaine. (Oxford,  Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2004) 116-130.

Janusek, John W. “Household and City in Tiwanaku.” in Andean Archaeology. ed. Silverman, Helaine. (Oxford, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2004), 183-209.

Stone, Rebecca R. Art of the Andes. (London, Thames & Hudson, 2012.) p 127-163.

Annotated Bibliography for Final Paper

My final paper will be written in the form of diary entries form a traveling merchant bringing their traveling llama caravan from the highland capital of Cuzco to the amazon basin. I believe that this account will be the best idea for explaining what we have learned in class because each diary entry will be directly from the mindset of an individual living and experiencing the world before colonial trade was introduced to the Andes. Each entry will encompass a different subject we have discussed in class. For example, a journal entry will be made every time my character enters a different geographical region and their observations of the changing landscape. Another example will be on one day when my character decides to visit a pilgrimage site along the road and how they would go about completing that ritual. I believe that this style of presenting my paper will give me the opportunity to incorporate and touch upon important topics we have discussed in class and the flexibility to describe events throughout the journey in great detail. The time period which I will be creating my narrative in will be the Late Horizon Period, roughly around 1500 AD and the height of the Inca empire. The journey will begin in the Qeuchua (Intermittent Valley) environmental zone, where the city of Cuzco is located, and rises roughly around 2300-3500 m above sea level. The latter end of the journey will conclude in the Selva Baja, the dense humid Amazon basin which is 500- 80 m above sea level.

Works Cited:

Browman, David L. “Trade Patterns in the Central Highlands of Peru in the First Millennium B.C.” World Archaeology 6, no. 3 (1975): 322-29.

This article written by David Browman discusses the need and development of regional trade throughout the first millennium BC in and Andes. Although this is not during the timeframe in which I will be writing about, it gives an insight on the purpose of trade. It will help the dialogue of my individual when explaining why they became a merchant and how it would help their household and domestic life by adopting this occupation. The article also mentions the materials traded and produced in regions throughout Peru and how they contribute to the local economy. This will be a great aid with involving rich descriptions of scenery, materials and other merchants my character will be interacting with throughout their journey. My character will begin their journey in the central highlands and slowly move their way down towards the amazon basin and this article will provide most of the information for those journal entries.

Christie, Jessica Joyce. “Inka Roads, Lines, and Rock Shrines: A Discussion of the Contexts of Trail Markers.” Journal of Anthropological Research 64, no. 1 (2008): 41-66.

The road will be the main setting that my character interacts with through out my narrative. I is very important to find an article that not only describes the quality, shape and construction of the roads but how merchants interacted with their surroundings throughout their travels. Christie explains that there are many different ways to interpret why travelers would practice and give offerings to shrines: the Inca way, the colonial Spanish way, the contemporary Quechua way and us as cultural outsiders. For this paper, I will be focusing on her discussion of the Inca way of looking at shrines along the roads because it will relate more to my character. She discusses the usage of zeq’es which are radial lines and paths which are marked by shrines. These paths also connect through sacred mountain ranges, bringing the traveler closer to the sacred space they are worshipping.

Lathrap, Donald W. “The Antiquity and Importance of Long-Distance Trade Relationships in the Moist Tropics of Pre-Columbian South America.” World Archaeology 5, no. 2 (1973): 170-86.

This article is extremely helpful for my paper because it not only includes a brief description of the geography and climate of the Amazon basin across South America, but discusses the importance of trade across this region through llama caravans. The author’s ethnographic approach to studying the use and creation of wears traded, comes from academic participant observation from when he lived with the Shipibo community of San Francisco de Yarinacocha near the city of Pucallpa, Peru. Although his account is a recent one, it highlights key needs and continued use of llama caravans for trade goods.


Tripcevich, Nicholas. “Llama Caravan Transport: A study of mobility with a contemporary Andean salt caravan.” 73th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (2008): 1- 15. file:///C:/Users/Chris/Downloads/fulltext_stamped.pdf

Nicholas Tripcevich is a Ph. D student at the University of Berkeley, California who accompanied a llama caravan for fourteen days from the Huarhua quarry in the Cotahuasi valley to the southern Apurimac. This journey illustrated and provides observations of higher elevation geography and climate for my paper. This study provides evidence for proper treatment and maintenance of a llama caravan, statistics for travel and weight load per caravan, and the impact of this form of trade throughout highly elevated landscaped. They were able to use UPG technology to track their journey accurately which is an asset for my paper because I can now better explain in detail the layout of an average day of travel, from preparing the caravan each morning for the day’s trek, to tending to the animals before resting for the night.

Erickson, Clark L. “Pre-Colombian roads of the Amazon.” Expedition 43, no. 2 (2001): 21-30. Anthropology Plus, EBSCOhostaccessed March6, 2018

This article describes the construction of pre-contact roadways in the Amazon basin in Bolivia. This article describes the appearance of many roadways across the countryside and the routine maintenance taken to preserve them. Interestingly, the author describes large road systems expanded from localized sites to smaller, domestic pre- contact settlements, meaning that each road may represent a different social, political and ethnic group living in that area at that time. They expressed that roads were not just a physical tool for merchants and travelers to use but held a more socio-political through how they represent the establishment of the ruling empire during that period. The construction of the roads also included canal ditches running parallel to it’s length, indicating that the construction of roads benefited those traveling on foot as well as the farmers raising crops and animals for the empire.

Nielsen, Axel E., Carlos I. Angiorama, and Florencia Ávila. “Ritual as Interaction with Non-Humans: Prehispanic Mountain Pass Shrines in the Southern Andes.” In Rituals of the Past: Prehispanic and Colonial Case Studies in Andean Archaeology, edited by ROSENFELD SILVANA A. and BAUTISTA STEFANIE L., 241-66. Boulder, Colorado: University Press of Colorado, 2017.