Weronika Hanna Tomczyk

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Stanford U.

Grant number

Gr. 10035

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Tomczyk , Weronika (Stanford U.) "Multispecies Relationships in the Northern Provinces of the Wari Empire, Modern Peru "

WERONIKA TOMCZYK, then a graduate student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, was awarded funding in August 2020 to aid research on “Multispecies Relationships in the Northern Provinces of the Wari Empire, Modern Peru,” supervised by Dr. Krish Seetah. Scholarship on ancient empires rarely considers animals as important forces in forming imperial structures in subjugated peripheries. This dissertation fieldwork grant addressed this problem by investigating human-animal interactions during the Wari Empire’s (ca. 600-1100 CE) expansion in modern north-central Peru. It examines how various animal species assembled into three social groups (livestock, companion species, and wildlife) influenced and enabled Wari expansion, and based on studies of animal bones from Wari administrative and funerary centers located in different altitudinal and ecological zones: Castillo de Huarmey (hyperarid Pacific coast), Ichic Wilkawain (central dry highlands) and El Palacio (northern subtropical highlands). The combination of standard zooarchaeological methods and multi-elemental chemical analyses of selected bone and teeth samples revealed complex, highly regionalized patterns of animal use. The continuation of local, preexisting traditions of camelid husbandry led to different political consequences in each subjugated province. Dogs, including an early type of Peruvian Hairless breed, accompanied humans in variable, mundane routines while ritual displays of captured wildlife aimed to legitimize Wari ideology to local elites. Combined, the results of this study emphasize the broad economic and ideological reliance on animals in ancient Andean imperialism.