Sponsored Symposium


(Sponsored by Committee on the Americas)

Organizers: Alvaro Higueras & Timothy L.

Chair: Alvaro Higueras

The valleys of Cochabamba are an essential region in our understanding of the Andean cultural system. This exclusive session dedicated to the valleys will present research work of the last two decades dealing with the complete prehistoric sequence. This research has produced an important set of data that has allowed us to refine some important issues in the evolution of Andean local and expansionist societies. Craig Morris, to whom this session is dedicated, with David Pereira, made important research on assessing the high value and tight control of the Inca Empire in Cochabamba. Similarly, important research on previous large-scale societies such as Tiwanaku has made important steps towards fine tuning our understanding of how Tiwanaku society embraces the local political societies. Finally, the early Formative period in the valleys will be contrasted with the early developments in the basin of the Titicaca Lake, the traditional “primary” area in the South Central Andes.


1. Monica Barnes

The Life and Work of an Andean Archaeologist: Craig Morris' Contributions to our Understanding of the Inca

Given its status as an expansionist state, the Inca polity cannot be viewed only from its center. Craig Morris pioneered the study of Inca provinces, concentrating for many years on Huánuco Pampa. Then, for almost two decades, he focused on the coastal site of La Centinela, capital of the Chincha kingdom, a very different part of Tawantinsuyu. In 1993-94 he explored the Inca occupation of Cochabamba, Bolivia. Prior to his 2006 death his field research encompassed Tambo Colorado, in Peru’s Ica Valley. This paper highlights Morris’ contributions to our understanding of Inca culture and administration.


2. Olga Gabelman

A Society in Change? - The Formative Period in the Cochabamba Valleys

The Formative Period society in the Cochabamba region is often depicted as a homogeneous, non-stratified, agriculturalist society with purely monochrome pottery and a lack of monumental architecture. Recent excavations in Santa Lucía revealed a pottery production center with separate workshops and a production output that goes far beyond the producers needs, hence creation of surplus. In addition, the site played an active role in long-distance trade with the highlands, the lowlands and the Pacific coast. This gives room for new interpretations. Is the Formative society more complex than it appears?


3. Alvaro Higueras

Tiwanaku Times in the Valleys: Interaction and Dealings in Andean Prehistory

In this paper I will attempt an ecological and political assessment of the Middle Horizon in Cochabamba in light of the research made in the last decade. Research in the valleys of Cochabamba is a complex affair. The mini-valleys that compose it differ much in its resources and attractions. Thus, in prehistory societies have settled differentially in each part producing hence a varied archaeological record. The models or hypothesis proposed seem to be fine tuned for those variations rather than fit a single form of prehistoric settlement, as is the case for  the ramifications of Tiwanaku society in the region.


4. Timothy McAndrews

Culture Continuity and Change from Formative through Tiwanaku Times at Pirque Alto

The site of Pirque Alto, in the department of Cochabamba, Bolivia, is a multicomponent site dating from the Formative Period through Tiwanaku times and beyond.  Research at Pirque Alto is beginning to reveal a number of important socio-cultural developments including one of the earliest copper smelting industries in the Andes, an ongoing exchange relationship with distant populations, and a clear material culture influence from the Titicaca Basin. These and other recent findings from research at Pirque Alto will be discussed in this presentation.


5. Claudia Rivera

Middle Horizon Trajectories in the Eastern Valleys of Bolivia

This paper presents comparative data from several valley regions in eastern Bolivia. Particularly, my analysis will concentrate in comparing the nature of Tiwanaku influence in La Paz, Cochabamba and Chuquisaca regions. This approach will show how these regions, with different historical trajectories of development, interacted with Tiwanaku and formed part of its sphere of influence in very singular and varied ways, although sharing some elements basic to Tiwanaku religious ideology. This comparative approach is a result of my field research in all three regions of the South-Central Andes.


6. Karen Anderson

Late Formative through Late Horizon Occupations Patterns in the Central Valley of Cochabamba.

The site of Piñami was a long term habitation site in the Central Valley of Cochabamba, occupied from the Formative through the Late Horizon.   In this presentation I present evidence of changes in domestic patterns during more than 1000 years of occupation at Piñami with special focus on the ceramic evidence.  I then discuss the implications of this information for our understanding of social and political changes in Cochabamba and the larger region.


7. Zulema Terceros

Macrorestos Botánicos en el Valle de Cochabamba. Un estudio preliminar de comparación en tiempo y espacio. 

El estudio de los macrorestos botánicos en el Valle de Cochabamba está cobrando más importancia y lanzando datos que pueden complementar las investigaciones, la presente ponencia mostrara los resultados preliminares del análisis de macrorestos realizado en distintos sitios arqueológicos, se enfocara en  la presencia/ausencia de los mismos y su ubicuidad en cada sitio y en cada época, tomando de referencia el Formativo y el Horizonte Medio. Remarcando en las similitudes, las diferencias y en la significación de estas en lo que se refiere a dieta y agricultura. Y por último  se realizará una comparación para determinar si  hubo cambios en el uso de las plantas con la expansión de Tiwanaku a la zona  durante el Horizonte Medio.


8. Larry Coben

The Inca Presence in the Pocona Region

This paper discusses the extent and nature of the Inca presence in the Pocona region about 125 kilometers east of Cochabamba.  This presence includes  administrative centers, storage facilities, roads and the site of Incallajta.  Inca expansion into this region is strongly focused upon agricultural resources, yet contains a powerful ritual element.


9. David Pereira

Morris in Cochabamba: In Search of the Economic Foundations of the Inca Empire

In this session I will present archaeological data pertinent to the Proyecto Arqueológico Cotapachi, directed by Craig Morris and me in the early 90s. The research in Central Valley of Cochabamba was aimed at further understanding the economic infrastructure of Inca economy as this polity settled in a very rich area of the valley. Witness to the grandiose land and ethnic management skills of the Empire is the storage site of Cotapachi, one of the largest complexes in the Inca-dominated Andean region. I will conclude by stressing the fundamental contributions of Craig Morris to our understanding of Inca political economy.

10. Discussant: James Snead 

11. Discussant Mario Rivera