Issue - August 2007

August 2007

In this issue, Amy Pollock reviews the successes of Arnold Browers school garden project, while Lucy Witter talks with the rector of an English school enrolling impoverished students; we hear form Save the Children about their reconciliation programme after the Cochabamba riots in more...

August 2007

Tiwanaku in the Yungas of Cochabamba

Walter Sanchez of the Archaeological Museum introduces an unknown Cochabamba to all of us, Tiwanaku culture and his influence in ceramics

By: Walter Sanchez
Museo de Arqueoligía, San Simón
Trasnlated by: Carmen Copa , Kevan Brown
Daniela Viljoen

The Tiwanaku culture is known in Cochabamba specifically due to its ceramics. What marked theTiwanaku’s presence? Research has offered various models of inter-regional interaction, through which this culture has been interpreted. Dick E. Ibarra Grasso suggests it was due to military domain. Geraldine Byrne de Caballero agrees with John Murra and David Browman, that these interactions gave way due to the socio-economic control and direct access through agricultural colonization (vertical control of ecological terraces). Ricardo Céspedes describes two phases of the Tiwanaku culture: The first being what is called “illataco” (350a.C.-725a.C.).

This phase describes groups of locals and Tiwanakus having contact between both cultures and promoting exchange between themselves. The second phase is referred to as “piñami”, (725a.C.-1,100a.C.), a time when Tiwanaku migrated to Cochabamba. It is believed that during this second phase is when Cochabamba became one of the main capitals of the region, that later influenced and controlled surrounding areas. Alvaro Higueras, after proposing four models - political subordination, vertical control, trade of exotic goods and independence (or status quo) – believed that even through the presence of Tiwanaku style ceramic in Cochabamba, there was still a minimized predominance of local groups (model of status quo), resulting in a more direct presence of Tiwanaku people.

Ricardo Céspedes was the first archaeologist to report findings of Tiwanaku style ceramic in the Yungas of Paracti. In 2002, a small site that was dug in the yungas verified the presence of this cermic style in excavation. In 2003, during a search carried out with archaeologist Ramón Sanzetenea in the Yungas of San José, we were able to collect a small sample of fragments of Tiwanaky ceramic at the nina Rumi Punta site.

In 2005, with the Archaeological Project “Tablas Monte” (through an agreement between the Swiss organization ASDI and the Universidad Mayor de San Simón), we carried out Walter Sanchez of the Archaeological Museum introduces an unknown Cochabamba to all of us, Tiwanaku culture and his influence in ceramics an excavation of four different sites in the town of Tablas Monte, demonstrating the presence of Tiwanaku style ceramics, relating to the two phases that had been proposed for Cochabamba, the “illataco” and “piñami”, related to or associated with local ceramic as well as from the alluvial plains of the Chapare region.

There are no models, nor interpretations regarding the ways of inter-regional interaction between the Yungas or Tiwanakus. And it is less than likely that even a direct domain existed due to military conquest or that there was any type of agricultural colony of Tiwanakus in the yungas. It is more probable that this is due to an accumulation of diverse mechanisms between those who must have prevailed in commerce and exchange. The excavation of a Tiwanaku “cista”, or offering, in Tablas Monte, suggests the presence of Andean culture during agricultural rituals. Therefore, it would be factual to suggest migratory causes. An important group during this time of trade could have been the “llameros” of Colomi, Pisle, Pallq’a, Ch’apicira and Altamachi. It is possible that these “llameros” were strongly linked to the Tiwanaku, and therefore be the ones who carried these Tiwanaku ceramics to favor their commerce and trade.

Another important element that arises from the excavations in Tablas Monte is the presence of ceramics similar to those of the alluvial plains of Chapare. This fact makes the process of interaction more complex and suggests that the yungas was a more strategic site situated between the high lands and low lands. Other data that could be of great significance is that the yungas of Tablas Monte makes up one of the smaller regions of the Andes that allows for both pre-Hispanic “Andean” agriculture, such as the arracacha, yacón, achira, walusa, locoto and peanut, as well as Amazonian agriculture such as manioc.

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