Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Archaeological Findings On Political Power In Peru

Date:
March 25, 2007
Source:
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Summary:
Archaeologists have completed the second part of the "Proyecto La Puntilla", an archaeological expedition to the Peruvian province of Nasca. The latest findings show that a new political power based on the exercise of violence emerged in Peru 2,000 years ago. There was a state in which an aristocracy, based in Cahuachi, exercised its dominion on other, poorer communities in the Nasca Valley.

A team from the Universitat Autςnoma de Barcelona and the University of Almerνa has completed its second part of the "Proyecto La Puntilla", an archaeological expedition to the Peruvian province of Nazca, where last year it discovered a new type of construction. The latest findings show that a new political power based on the exercise of violence emerged on the south coast of Peru two thousand years ago. There was a State in which an aristocracy, based in Cahuachi, exercised its dominion on other, poorer communities in the Nazca Valley. The team has also observed practices such as cranial deformation.

Related Articles


The excavations at the necropolis of El Trigal have uncovered new information on the repercussions of the emergence of the State in southern Peru. The archaeologists have found that El Trigal graves are very simple, in contrast with the extravagant tombs of the aristocracy around Nazca.

The situation shows the poverty that existed among the community in El Tribal. The dominant group in the State of Cahuachi imposed the transfer of wealth through taxes and other means. This explains the poverty of those living in the area of La Puntilla.

A settlement was established in El Trigal about 3000 years ago. Several centuries later, this had become an economically strong community with a vast network of relations with other territories. This hypothesis is backed up by the presence of valuable Spondylus shells (probably from the distant coasts of what today we know as Ecuador), obsidian (from the mountains), and craft tools, such as the boat decorated with the style known as Ocucaje 8 (possibly manual workers in the north).

However, the necropolis excavated in El Trigal, dated as being from the first century AD, represents a later period of decline and pauperisation in the community, coinciding with the emergence of Cahuachi.

This data confirms that 1900 years ago a State existed in the Nazca Valley based in the monumental settlements of Cahuachi, where pyramids were built. Those governing Cahuachi belonged to one of the groups who shared control over the south coast of Peru, such as the aristocratic group described in the Paracas necropolis (near Pisco), in the same area.

The dominant class in Cahuachi controlled the communities in the Nazca Valley using violence, forcing the communities to economically sustain the group in power. Between those communities were those that occupied the area known as La Puntilla, to the east of Nazca, where the research team has been excavating for the past two years.

Cranial deformation

One of the key findings at the necropolis was that some of the bodies found in the tombs have undergone certain manipulations. One such manipulation was cranial deformation in order to obtain an "elongated skull", and this has been observed in one of the corpses.

This practice took place during childhood by using wooden objects to put pressure on the skull. "Elongated skulls" are characteristic of the aristocracy buried in the tombs in Paracas, and a number of studies suggest that this treatment was a way of distinguishing dominant groups. This is why it is so significant that this characteristic has been found in an individual buried at the necropolis of a poor community in the Nazca Valley.

This discovery opens up a series of other questions: Is this the member of a family belonging to the dominant group? Or is the practice unrelated to a person's affiliation with a group? Was it a way of identifying individuals who took part in specific activities (for example, shamanism)?

In another tomb, another interesting case has been found. Alongside the corpse of a woman, they have found the legs and feet of another individual. We know that decapitation and dismemberment were frequent among the first states of the region, so we cannot discard the possibility that this was an intentional act.

The fieldwork in this second part of the "Proyecto La Puntilla" ended in December, and the material and human remains uncovered are now being studied. The research will be amplified through a programme to analyse the DNA in order to find evidence on the affiliation of those individuals buried at the necropolis.

The "Proyecto La Puntilla" is funded by the General Directorate for Fine Arts and Cultural Assets of the Spanish Ministry of Culture and by the Catalan Department of Education and Universities. The project is also recognised by the National Institute for Culture of Peru. The research team consists of archaeologists and students from Spain, Peru, Chile, Argentina, France and Italy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. "New Archaeological Findings On Political Power In Peru." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070322132951.htm>.
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. (2007, March 25). New Archaeological Findings On Political Power In Peru. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070322132951.htm
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. "New Archaeological Findings On Political Power In Peru." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070322132951.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What An Ancient Jawbone Could Tell Us About Human Evolution

What An Ancient Jawbone Could Tell Us About Human Evolution

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) — A 2.8 million-year-old jawbone could represent the most ancient member of our genus ever discovered. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

AP (Mar. 5, 2015) — The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its iconic elephant acts. The circus&apos; parent company, Feld Entertainment, told the AP exclusively that the acts will be phased out by 2018 over growing public concern about the animals. (March 5) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Billionaire Paul Allen and Team Find Sunken Japanese Warship Off Philippines

Billionaire Paul Allen and Team Find Sunken Japanese Warship Off Philippines

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 4, 2015) — A team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen finds a sunken Japanese World War 2 warship off the coast of the Philippines. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Long-Lost Ship Found? Microsoft Co-Founder Uncovers Wreckage

Long-Lost Ship Found? Microsoft Co-Founder Uncovers Wreckage

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) — Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has discovered the wreckage of the battleship Musashi in the central Philippines. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins