Social Interaction, Integration, and Alliances: Yavi-Chicha Ceramic Production and Circulation in the Border Region of Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile, A.D. 1000-1550
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoRelease after 08/27/2020
AbstractThis dissertation explores the processes of social-community integration, alliances, and interregional interaction as a result of social and political instability during the Late Intermediate Period (LIP, ca. A.D. 1000-1450) and the Inka Period (ca. A.D. 1450-1550) of the Circumpuna (the border region between Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile). This research examines patterns of ceramic production, circulation, and consumption of Yavi-Chicha pottery from a multiscalar perspective. Methodologically, this dissertation merges technological styles and provenance studies (studied through macroscopic, petrographic, and neutron activation analyses) to investigate communities and constellations of practice, and interregional interaction. The dissertation is divided into three articles. The first article examines the role of pottery production practices in processes of social and community integration during the LIP. I explore this relationship through a case study of a community of potters (Chipihuayco, Bolivia) in the Chicha Region. This community-level analysis demonstrates that the settlement of Chipihuayco was populated by multiple potting communities of practice that, in spite of following their own ways of producing ceramics, shared substantial technological choices for the first stage of the manufacturing sequence as a result of integrating practices. During this period, potters from Chipihuayco and perhaps other potting communities in the Talina Valley developed a ceramic repertoire that was incorporated into new political practices and social strategies of coalescent communities and corporate structures. I argue that the consistent selection of altered shale as a tempering material supported the creation of group identity, community affiliation, and integration. The second article focuses on the regional integration of different communities under new corporate political strategies. I explore this relationship by examining the role of pottery consumption during the LIP. This regional-level analysis, based on the ceramic materials from the sites of Chipihuayco (Bolivia) and Finispatria (Argentina), shows how shared consumption practices created and articulated a constellation of practice. The household repertoire acquired a fundamental social integrative role as it circulated across the region. The analysis indicates that the marginal community of herders from Finispatria integrated the Yavi-Chicha household assemblage—partly produced in Chipihuayco, partly in Finispatria and/or at some unknown location—into their everyday life. The ceramic repertoire articulated group identity and social integration as a boundary object, which at the regional scale was expressed as socio-political alliances among different communities. I suggest that the development of a new and distinctive ceramic repertoire in the Chicha Region may have been embedded in the new practices of political commensalism that emerged as social strategies within the context of coalescent communities. In the third article, I explore the social effects of circulating items by investigating the patterns of circulation of Yavi-Chicha pottery in the Chilean Atacama Desert during the LIP and the Inka Period. In particular, I investigate the role of Yavi-Chicha pottery in the interregional interactions, social negotiations, and alliances between Atacama and the Chicha Region by focusing on the value and meaning of Yavi-Chicha pottery. This emphasis provides a better way for understanding the social effects of circulating pottery from its production origins to the mechanisms of how it reached Atacama and the contexts of its use. The study demonstrates that the pottery used in Atacama (mostly polished jars) was produced in the Talina Valley. During the LIP, the value of Yavi-Chicha ceramics was possibly rooted in the formation and maintenance of alliances between the inhabitants of the Talina Valley and the people of the Loa River Basin and the San Pedro Oases. In this context, vessels could have circulated as gifts or as inalienable objects. Under the Inka administration, these social changes nesessarily led to other changes in the role and value of circulating items, which were possibly related to either inalienable possessions or to objects as political markers. It is possible that Yavi-Chicha ceramics were used by the Inka to maintain and strengthen their rule within the framework of reciprocity, as a way to negotiate social relations, as rewards for loyalty, as compensation for services, and as indicators of identity and social position in Atacama.
Degree ProgramGraduate College