Matthew Biwer

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Santa Barbara, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9225

Approve Date

April 8, 2016

Project Title

Biwer, Matthew Eric, U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'A Paleoethnobotanical Analysis of Food, Identity, and Culture Contact in the Middle Horizon Wari Empire (A.D. 600-1000),' supervised by Dr. Amber M. VanDerwarker

The goal of this project is to examine the relationship between food, identity, and culture contact in the context of imperial borderlands. More specifically, the proposed research uses ancient plant remains to address the role of food in the complex multi-directional social interactions between colonists and indigenous groups in the Wari Empire of the highlands of the Peruvian Andes. Comparing plant food data from Middle Horizon (A.D. 600-1000) household contexts at the Wari imperial administrative sites of Cerro Ba’l in Moquegua Valley and Hatun Cotuyoc in the Cusco Valley to the indigenous sites of Yauhay Alta and Aka’willay, I will examine Wari and indigenous foodways from an intersite and intrasite perspective. Analyzing spatial patterns of plant use and discard, I aim to reconstruct household foodways of Wari colonists and indigenous groups to examine: (1) if the diet of Wari colonists in provincial colonies differed from the imperial heartland in Ayacucho; (2) how daily foods were related to the expression of identity amongst Wari colonists and local groups; and (3) how food can inform our understanding of cultural interactions between Wari colonists and indigenous groups on the borderlands of the empire.