Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationField Museum, Chicago
Grant numberGr. 9298
Approve DateApril 19, 2016
Project TitleReid, David Aaron, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Roads, Waystations, and Llama Caravans: The Political-Economy of Wari State Expansion in Southern Peru,' supervised by Dr. Patrick R. Williams
DAVID A. REID, then a graduate student at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in April 2016 to aid research on ‘Roads, Waystations, and Llama Caravans: The Political-Economy of Wari State Expansion in Southern Peru,’ supervised by Dr. Patrick R. Williams. This project investigates the role of road infrastructure (i.e. the built networks of communication, travel, and commerce) in the expansion of one of the earliest empires in the Americas: the Wari of the Andean highlands, whose material culture and customs spread across much of Peru during the Middle Horizon (A.D. 600-1000). Evidence of roads and waystations are often the best indicators of political boundaries and the extents of ancient states and empires, especially in cases where no written histories exist. This project completed archaeological excavations at three waystation sites along a prehistoric route between the Oco’a and Majes Valleys of Arequipa in southern Peru. Analyses of recovered archaeological materials, such as ceramics and obsidian, indicate long-distance cultural influence and the movement of goods likely by llama caravans. While often considered a periphery of the Wari empire, excavations in the study area also discovered a Wari enclave associated with a D-shape temple, a hallmark of Wari imperialism. This study revealed how both local societies and foreign states contributed to the development and maintenance of this road network during times of greater inter-regional connectivity and trade.