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Hatun Cotuyoc: A Domestic Perspective on the Construction of a Wari Province and Empire in Huaro, Cusco, Peru

Maeve Skidmore, Southern Methodist University, Junior Fellow 2012–2013

My fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks allowed me to explore developments in Wari (AD 600-1000) colonial occupation of the Cusco region of Peru for my dissertation. Colonization reconfigured this formerly autonomous region into a key stronghold of the Wari Empire, but how this played out through time and the impact it had on local life remain hotly debated. Political, social and economic networks were altered as the Wari moved to incorporate the Cusco region, but some elements of previously existent networks remained in place. With excavation data from houses and mortuary contexts at Hatun Cotuyoc, a sector of the Wari colony at Huaro, I examined household participation in various ties that linked residents to the Wari heartland and other outposts, and those forged/maintained with local groups through time. A key goal of the study was to consider how broad populations contribute to processes that build or detract from state power, and consideration was given to how domestic life and administration developed alongside one another.

During my fellowship, my work benefited immensely from interaction with other fellows and visiting scholars in Pre-Columbian Studies and also those from Garden and Landscape and Byzantine Studies. Discussions with colleagues helped me refine thinking on the different ways in which political entities shape the daily lives of their constituencies, variability in the ways that empires operate cross-culturally, and many other issues. While at Dumbarton Oaks, I completed data and theory chapters of my dissertation (five in total) and also furthered work on several papers lined up for publication.