Urban Life and Foodways at Huari, Ayacucho, Peru (AD 600-1000): A Spatial Macrobotanical Analysis

Lecture: ARF Brownbag | April 25 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)

 Geoffrey Taylor, University of California, Berkeley Department of Anthropology

 Archaeological Research Facility

Huari is the proposed capital of the Wari cultural group whose architectural, ceramic, and iconographic traditions spread to distant parts of the Peruvian highlands during the Middle Horizon (AD 600-1000). With this presentation, I will introduce Wari studies and re-appraise the current state of archaeological evidence on the activities of Wari people. I will then investigate the botanical remains from flotation samples recovered throughout the 2017 excavations of Patipampa, a formally planned and organized domestic sector of Huari. For years, it has been assumed that the emergence of the Wari state in Ayacucho was fueled in part by maize agriculture. Preliminary results of the macrobotanical analysis will reveal what food crops people living at the site of Huari were processing and cooking within their homes, and to what extent people were either using maize as a staple crop or maintaining a diverse diet. The assemblages of weed seeds and crop parts will also give insight into Wari agricultural practices and the organization of labor inside and outside of the house. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the densities and distributions of plant remains will be studied within a variety of architectural spaces to understand how cooking and preparation may have been organized within the burgeoning urban landscape of Huari.

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