Shellfish, Water, and Entanglements: Inter-community Interaction and Exchange during the Late Intermediate Period (1100-1470 CE) in the Huanangue Valley, Peru

by Kasia A. Szremski

Institution: Vanderbilt University
Department: Anthropology
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: Chancay; Andes; Entanglement; Interaction Theory; Archaeology; chaupiyunga
Record ID: 2060770
Full text PDF: http://etd.library.vanderbilt.edu/available/etd-03222015-234919/


The processes of population movement, culture contact and interaction have been shaping human societies for millennia. Though there is a wide and diverse body of literature on interaction and network theory in the social sciences, it is only recently that the wider economic, political, and cultural implications of interaction have been considered for ancient Andean societies. This dissertation explores the outcomes of interaction between Chancay settlers and local chaupiyunginos in the Huanangue Valley, Peru, during the Late Intermediate Period (1100-1470 CE). Drawing specifically from one aspect of the interaction approach – entanglement theory – which explores the complex types of relationships that develop between groups when exotic goods are inserted into local systems of value (Dietler 1998, 2010; Hodder 2013), I seek to show how inter-group exchange and resource sharing drew small scale groups living on the western slopes of the Andes into webs of interdependency. Using a combination of ethnohistoric and archaeological data, I argue that Chancay colonists became entangled with local chaupiyunginos due to the Chancays need for irrigation water and, in turn, the chaupiyunginos desire for marine resources. Furthermore, though many cases of entanglement lead to one group being subjugated by the other, the Chancays economic power and the chaupiyunginos tactical power may have prevented this from happening. Rather, these entanglements seem to have eventually created an expanded interdependent alliance between these groups, one which helped them to later fend off encroaching highland groups, and later, the Inka.