Anthropology Faculty Publications and Presentations

Early Complex Society on the North and Central Peruvian Coast: New Archaeological Discoveries and New Insights

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Archaeological data from the north and central Peruvian coast are presented here as a means to explore key themes relating to social complexity, including complex society and its origins, newly resolved chronological issues, the relationship between iconography and society, and the definition of a new culture. Focusing on an early time span, from ca. 3000 to 200 cal BC, we identify key questions about the trajectory through which early Andean complexity developed, and we discuss new ideas about the chronological placement of Cerro Sechín and Chavín de Huántar. We also use an intertextual approach to study the iconography of the complex Sechín Alto polity and as a means to demonstrate duality, social hierarchy, and the origin of symbols within the society’s iconography. Finally, we highlight a newly described polity, centered in the Nepeña Valley, that is important because its urban traits presage later cultural complexity and because the recognition of this polity demonstrates the potential for similar discoveries of comparable small polities.


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J Archaeol Res