Sonia Alconini

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Virginia, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9940

Approve Date

October 24, 2019

Project Title

Alconini, Sonia (Virginia, U. of) " Ancient Inka imperial frontiers: Colonization, power and elite strategies"

The frontiers of ancient empires became the catalysts of broader sociopolitical transformations, as imperial institutions and practices were adapted and transformed by competing social segments. To understand the ways in which frontier elite segments and associated colonies were transformed, this research will compare two trajectories. Autonomous frontier elite, whether from the imperial heartland or from local origins, successfully negotiated their standing through the investment in the frontier socioeconomy for local ends, and maintained a strong local support. This translated into the amalgamation of imperial and indigenous institutions and practices, often in unexpected ways. By comparison, conservative and more dependent frontier elite developed in regions that had an economic and political importance to the state. Their power was backed up by a strong imperial support. This resulted in more traditional institutions and practices, and in the specialization of the frontier economy for state purposes. My research will take place in the Inka frontier center of Samaipata, one of the eastern-most installations occupied by royal families that escaped state control. We plan to conduct a regional-scale pedestrian survey, analyze the associated cultural materials and conduct test excavations. This research will contribute to the study of pre-Columbian empires in a cross-cultural framework.