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Interlocking the Lima Culture: Intermediates Elites' Power Strategies at Lote B, Lurín Valley, Peru

Giancarlo Marcone, University of Pittsburgh, Junior Fellow 2010/11

There is a long tradition in archaeology that focuses on the study of societal intermediate groups as a way to understand how broad regional political transformations intermingle with different local settings. Archaeologists have been trying to answer a fundamental question: How did intermediate groups build political strategies that allowed them to maintain their local privileges and insert themselves in the regional political context?

I explore this topic at the rural Lima Culture site of Lote B (Cerro Manchay) in the Lurín Valley. This site was occupied from the Early Intermediate to Middle Horizon period (circa 500–700 CE), a time of dramatic regional change. I found evidence of two types of communal gatherings. The differences between these political charged ceremonies, carried out by local leaders simultaneously at two different sectors of Lote B, suggest that at least two political strategies co-existed. One type of event was held inside the main elite compound and the other in a newly constructed yellow monumental building. I conclude that these intermediate rural elites voluntarily sacrificed political independence when interacting with the polity above them in order to guarantee economic leverage over groups below them. These activities, in turn, fostered profound transformations in the forms of community integration.

During my fellowship year at Dumbarton Oaks, I was able to revise three chapters of my dissertation and draft four new ones. The concluding chapter, based on my Dumbarton Oaks research report, will be completed in the coming months. The library proved key to the development of my ideas, and pivotal in the development of the theoretical and overview chapters. In particular, several difficult-to-find pre-1940 volumes, as well as the comprehensive collection of more recent sources, made possible a thorough review of the literature on the Lima culture.

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