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Wari: Imperialism, Low Power, and Globalization in the Middle Horizon Central Andes

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Journal of Archaeological Research Aims and scope

Abstract

Wari is sometimes described as the first empire of the Andes, conquering and controlling a broad region during the Middle Horizon (600–1000 CE). This article synthesizes archaeological research to offer a new perspective on Wari’s rise, expansion, and collapse. Wari emerged in a rapidly urbanizing environment as a set of ideas about the world and how it should work that blended foreign ideas with local traditions. Heartland cities were organized around elite kin groups who competed for followers by hosting small-scale gatherings. Wari-related ideas, objects, and people circulated far more widely, creating a dynamic cultural horizon of considerable heterogeneity. Efforts to centralize decision making in the ninth century CE may have led to the polity’s decline. Although this reconstruction of Wari politics differs from previous models, it is in keeping with contemporary interpretations of collective and low-power early expansive polities in other parts of the world.

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Jennings, J. Wari: Imperialism, Low Power, and Globalization in the Middle Horizon Central Andes. J Archaeol Res (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10814-024-09199-1

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