The Initial Period

Alvaro Higueras

Definition This period is defined by the use of pottery, as Andean populations start exploring the techniques of firing clay. They will have tremendous advances in this field reaching a mastery of firing techniques as well as artistic complexity in their iconography.

The most prolific societies of this period are found in the north coast, where in the latter part of the period (from 1500 to 800 b.C.) the Cupisnique artistic and religious tradition will produce complex representations of the essential icon of Andean prehistory: the feline, a motif that will be used in the first modeled sculptures in monuments, and in modeled pottery.

While sedentism is now well established, populations will continue to grow, and there is an expansion of the agricultural capacity around settlements with more conspicuous irrigation devices on flat, desertic areas. Sea resources are still consumed even if new settlements show a stronger tendency to be located inland, from 6 to 12 miles from the shore. In many cases, however, the coastal sites are still settled and will grow according to the new architectural standards.

Time frame

After the Late Preceramic Period and before the Formative Period.
Location of sites
Explore these aspects of the Initial Period
Ecology and subsistence Settlements Society
Monumental architecture Pottery Textiles
Metallurgy Lithics Death
Links to other periods
Preceramic Period Formative Period Early Intermediate Period
Middle Horizon Late Intermediate Period Late Horizon
Andean and Tiwanaku Archaeology Page

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