Archaeologists have long been interested in the onset of political differentiation, and how this can be inferred from the archaeological record. Here Christine Hastorf looks at the nature of power and political diversity in the Andean region of central Peru over a thousand-year period, from AD 200 until the fifteenth-century Inka conquest. She argues that no single model or theory can usefully explain all social change, and that archaeologists should instead focus on a particular region to understand the context of change and why it occurred. She looks at political inequality from a number of different perspectives and suggests a series of 'cultural' principles that shaped political developments. She also traces changes in agricultural production, seeing them as contributing to social and political evolution in the region.
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