Andean Archaeology III

pp 237-257

The Emergence of Complex Society in the Titicaca Basin: The View from the North

  • Aimée M. Plourde
  • , Charles Stanish

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The Titicaca Basin straddles the modern countries of Peru and Bolivia and represents one of the great areas of prehistoric cultural evolution on the globe. While it is common to view the Andes as a culturally-unified whole, the reality is that there were three very distinct cultural, geographical, and linguistic regions in the Andes in the 16th century where these state societies developed (Figures 9.1, 9.2). These regions corresponded to the general areas of Wari, Moche, and Tiwanaku state expansion in the late Early Intermediate Period and Middle Horizon where proto-Quechua, Mochic, and Jaqi languages dominated respectively (Browman 1994; Mannheim 1991; Stanish 2001). In short, the Titicaca Basin, where Jaqi or proto-Aymara was dominant and was most likely the language of the Tiwanaku state (see Janusek 2004 for a fuller discussion), represents one of the great areas of first-generation state development in world.