6.5. Survey Results: Late Prehispanic Period (AD400 - AD1532)

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This temporal period includes the Tiwanaku Period in the Titicaca Basin (AD400) through the Inka Period (AD1532), a time when geographical distributions of Chivay obsidian are strongly influenced by pan-regional political and economic forces. Following anthropological models, it is among ranked or stratified societies that the procurement and redistribution of scarce raw materials is expected to occur as part of elite political strategy (Earle 1991;Renfrew 1975). If obsidian was a sought-after commodity that was controlled and redistributed by among complex polities one might expect restricted access or some other sign of control by the dominant state power at or near the obsidian source. The use of irregularly distributed raw materials, like obsidian, among complex polities may also involve either reciprocation or direct exploitation by agents of those polities, both processes that may leave evidence in the vicinity of the obsidian source.

Archaeological horizons during the Late Prehispanic period in the south-central Andes are demonstrated by stylistic commonalities that include pottery, architecture, and portable goods that were distributed within regional polities. These stylistic similarities are distinctive, well-studied, and often diagnostic to time period. Very little evidence was encountered in the course of this research of obsidian procurement by non-local parties, despite the abundant evidence of Chivay obsidian consumption in the larger region and sometimes in civic/ceremonial core of these regional polities. Nevertheless, the procurement and initial production activities of obsidian under the larger regional influences of the Late Prehispanic period may provide insights into the economy in which obsidian was circulated. When the larger economy was restructured by regional polities, the transformation that occurs in the circulation of goods like obsidian can demonstrate the differences between the older established economic patterns and the establishment of new patterns under the authority of a regional polity.