Practice over the Longue-Durée: Intermediate Elites and
Hybrid Community Structures in the Colca Valley, Peru
Steve Wernke, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Paper Presented at the Annual
Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, March 20-24,
2002, Denver, Colorado, during the syposium "Intermediate
Elite Agency in Precolumbian States and Empires," organized
by Christina M. Elson and R. Alan Covey.
- PLEASE DO NOT CITE
WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR (see note 1)
- This paper complements previous studies
of Andean "verticality" relationships by focusing on
community-scale changes in "eco-logistics"-practices
recursively structuring and structured by economy and ecology-in
the context of the Colca valley. First, settlement pattern data
from the period of autonomous Collagua rule during the Late Intermediate
Period are compared to the Inka and early Spanish colonial occupations.
Secondly, analysis of land tenure data from 16th and early 17th
century Spanish censuses tracks the eco-logistical practices
of community elites. The two data sets combined provide a view
of the hybridization of community power structures under Inka
and Spanish rule.
By the 15th century, the expanding Inka empire had developed
varied and flexible imperial strategies for accommodating and
appropriating a diverse range of ethnic polities, and the equally
diverse ecologies that they inhabited. These strategies were
so successful in part because they manipulated key cultural principles
and practices familiar to local polities and their leaders. Central
among these, as hypothesized by John Murra thirty years ago,
were the principles and practices of "verticality",
whereby the marked altitudinal ecological zonation of the Andes
was matched by "vertical archipelagoes" of settlements
linked through exchange in order to maintain a "maximum
control of ecological tiers" (Murra 1968; Murra 1972). These
systems were both imagined and real in their status as ideals
and as built features arrayed over local and regional landscapes.
Understanding the process of the imperfect reproduction of such
ideals in the context of Inka and Spanish imperial occupation
remains a critical research frontier.
Here I discuss the relationship between such ideal social structures
and their physical expression on the landscape in the case of
the Collagua ethnic polity of highland southern Peru during Inka
and early colonial times. I will talk in most detail about an
aspect of the documentary research with which I am currently
most engaged--the ways in which structuring principles of local
communities were manifested on the landscape through analysis
of early colonial land tenure patterns, using a series of detailed
colonial censuses, or visitas. I will show how data recorded
in these censuses can be used to reconstruct what I call the
eco-logistical practices of Collagua intermediate elites during
Inka times. I use the term eco-logistics to refer simultaneously
to economic decision making regarding the deployment of labor
and its products, and ecological decision making regarding the
energetic and material requirements of agro-pastoral goods within
varied Andean microclimates.
- I build on recent critiques of the verticality
model which point out that the construction of stable agro-pastoral
production systems in the Andes is predicated on a simplification
by humans of more complex ecological gradients. In other words,
as pointed out by Enrique Mayer (1985) and others, the "ecological
tiers" in Murra's model are as much economic as ecological.
This means that the asymmetrical systems of redistribution common
to late prehispanic Andean economic organization must not be
epiphenomenal to an adaptive process of securing ecologically-diverse
resources, as implicit in Murra's paradigmatic framework (see
Stanish 1989a, 1989b, 1992; Van Buren 1993, 1996) . So acknowledging
the unmistakable anthropogenic nature of Andean ecological tiers
begs questions about not only how the particular ecological strictures
and possibilities of Andean ecology influence "suprahousehold"
economic organization (Guillet 1978, 1981), but also how different
community structures affect patterns of production, distribution,
consumption, and, in turn, the Andean landscape.
- By emphasizing human agency in the environment
in this way, I argue that the general structure-agency framework
of Bourdieu (1977) and Giddens (1979) is applicable to the relationship
between economy and ecology. Within my formulation, eco-logistics
related to the built environment, such that they at once
structure and are structured by it. I argue that Collagua native
lords, or kurakas, were pivotal in this recursive process because
of their intermediate elite status as redistributive brokers
and extractive agents for the state.
This general approach forms the point of departure for my dissertation
project, which also integrates archaeological data I collected
during a full-coverage survey of a 90 square kilometer area in
the same part of the Colca
River Valley in which the Spanish censuses were recorded
(Wernke and Guerra Santander 2001). Although my survey covers
a large portion of the central territory of the Collaguas, archaeological
evidence for Collagua influence or presence, mostly in the form
of ceramic assemblages in the Collagua style, have been identified
valleys to the south (Wernke 2001). As we'll see, these distributions
coincide with documentary evidence for significant outlying Collagua
"island" settlements (2).
My settlement pattern data provide strong evidence for decentralized,
but coordinated Inka rule in the valley. Along with Peruvian
archaeologists Willy Yépez and Erika Simborth, I recorded
162 archaeological sites with 300 occupational components using
a mixed strategy of regional and site-specific survey. No site
dominates the settlement pattern in terms of size, centrality,
or elaborate architecture. Instead, the Inka occupation of the
valley is marked by overall locational and organizational continuity
from the village-based pattern of the preceding period of autonomous
Collagua rule. All but two of the 14 Inka period settlements recorded also
have occupations from the preceding Collagua Period. Archaeologically,
Inka rule clearly appears to have been mediated by local elites,
resulting in hybrid
Collagua-Inka settlement configurations. For example, rustic
forms of Inka architecture associated with state-sponsored public
ritual appear in association with high status Collagua domestic
architecture at sites such as Uyu Uyu, where a great hall, or
the central plaza.
Such hybridization of site layout continues into early colonial
times. The opposite side of this plaza is dominated by a structure
I have hypothesized to be an early Spanish chapel. A similar
building, also with clear colonial architectural features, such
as fired roof tiles, is found at the largest settlement in the
survey, San Antonio. Aside from the style and placement of these
buildings, ecclesiastical documents indicate that Franciscan
missionaries established a series of early doctrinas or missionary
settlements in the valley by the mid to late 1540's. These data
thus indicate that, in a manner similar to the way in which the
Inka had capitalized on earlier established centers of Collagua
elites, Franciscans capitalized upon already established local
centers of Inka power and ritual by locating doctrinas at sites
such as Uyu Uyu and San Antonio.
However, this dispersed village pattern was abruptly truncated
in the early 1570s with the forced resettlement of Andean populations
into nucleated reducción villages by the Viceroy Francisco
de Toledo. Although this political imposition radically altered
the settlement pattern, it did not change the valley's elaborate
terracing and irrigation infrastructure. This set up a dialectic
between the two, in which eco-logistical practices had to accommodate
or reconfigure both prehispanic and colonial features of the
Descriptions of the organization of the Collagua province under
Inka rule in early colonial documents provide independent evidence
for how such physical manifestations accorded with ideal sociopolitical
models. An account from 1586 in the Relaciones Geograficas de
Indias by provincial magistrate Juan Ulloa Mogollón relates
how a nested hierarchy of kin-based corporate groups, called
ayllus in Quechua, were organized according to the logic of high,
middle, and low status designations, called Collana, Payan, and Cayao, within overarching
upper and lower-ranked moieties (Ulloa Mogollón 
1965). Tom Zuidema and Brian Bauer have both noted parallels
between this tripartite hierarchical structure and the ceque
system of Cuzco, which was also organized by these categories
(Bauer 1998; Zuidema 1964) (3). Also, the pataca designation of the minimal
ayllus, meaning 100 in Aymara, refers to a unit of 100 tributary
households, suggesting that these ayllus were treated as bureaucratic
equivalents for levying labor tribute within Inka decimal administration
These same structural principles were applied to the overall
organization of the Collagua province, which was divided between
Laricollaguas, and Cabanas. In terms of sociopolitical organization, this means
that the leader of the highest ranked ayllu of the upper half
of Yanquecollaguas was also lord of the entire province, and
the leader of the highest ranked ayllu of the upper half of Laricollaguas
was second in charge of the entire province (Benavides 1987;
Benavides 1988; Cock 1977-78; Galdos 1984; Pease 1981). As was
common in many other provinces in the Inka empire, direct intervention
by state personnel was almost certainly limited to the top one
or two tiers of this hierarchy. This would have limited imperial
administrative burdens by minimizing points of contact with intermediate
elites, while also providing a means for gauging productivity
and engendering competition between equivalent tribute units.
The detailed data recorded in local colonial censuses provide
a means for analyzing how these ideal structures were mapped
out onto local and regional agro-pastoral landscapes. Yanque
and Coporaque, the two villages within my survey area, are the
best-documented villages in the censuses. Each household declared
all landholdings by predominant crop and size, using the Andean
measure of the topo, which for our purposes today can be equated
to about a third of a hectare. Land tenure patterns in the visitas
can be cartographically reconstructed because each field was
also located by toponym, or place name. Because of the historical
durability of toponyms in this and other areas of the Andes,
the location of fields claimed in the visitas can be mapped out
by matching them up with their modern toponym areas. Using this
method, I currently have 82 toponyms mapped in ArcGIS. In ArcGIS,
each of the toponym polygons is linked to a relational database
with the colonial census data, allowing for sorting and querying
of the database, and viewing their results on the map. At this
point, I have entered the visita data for 450 households, with
a total of 993 inhabitants, from the lower moiety of one village,
toponym mosaic maps can presently account for 44%, or 223
out of 507 topos of agricultural fields declared in the 1604
visita. However, I can map out 68% of the fields declared by
ayllu leaders, the subset of interest today for their status
as intermediate elites.
In the visita, Coporaque households are grouped in five ayllus:
Collana Ayllu, Payan Collana Pataca, Payan Taypi Pataca, Payan
Cayao Pataca, and Cayao Pataca. Here I will focus
primarily on the tributary population of these ayllus, that is,
the 161 families with male heads of household between 18 and
50 years of age. Amongst these tributary households, the largest
group, 51%, claim between 1 and 2 topos. By contrast, the average
total area of landholdings claimed by kurakas and mandones is
5.6 topos, thus occupying the top 6 percent of households in terms of total
field area. As is common in high altitude Andean settings
where drought and frost are constant threats, the general risk-reduction
strategy used by households was to disperse many small holdings
over different vertically-distributed production zones, rather
than maximizing field size in any single location. This is reflected
in the small mean size of fields claimed, just one third of a
topo, or about 1200 square meters. The crop mosaic for all non-elite
households was about 60% maize and 39% quinoa, with 1% divided
among potatoes and Cañiwa. Within the local area, the
by ayllu leaders share nearly the same proportion of maize
to quinua as the rest of the tributary population, that is, 58%
maize, and 42% quinua. However, when kuraka landholdings from
outside the valley are calculated, their relative percentage
of maize increases to 69%.
These additional maize fields are located in lower-lying valleys
to the south, here shown with the distributions of Collagua ceramic
assemblages I mentioned before, in the villages of Huanca and Lluta, and also in
13 toponyms within the valley of Arequipa. While ayllu leaders
did not hold exclusive access to these lands, they did hold a
disproportionate amount of them. That is, while they represent
only 1% of total households, they held 25% of the 30 topos among
these distant maize lands. This example points toward significant
islands in a Collagua vertical archipelago specializing in the
production of highly valued maize in valleys to the south.
There is also strong evidence regarding how the diverse production
zones within the Colca valley were managed prehispanically, and
how that system was mapped onto the Spanish-imposed village settlement
system. The ayllus based in Coporaque also had satellite members
in eight other
reducción villages within the valley and in the surrounding
high altitude grasslands, or puna, shown here. I reconstructed
this by tracking the name of the leader listed for each ayllu
in each of the villages in the census. For example, a resident
of Coporaque named Martin Chuquianco is recorded as the Kuraka
of the same ayllu in six of these villages in the upper part
of the valley. This leader was responsible for collecting colonial
taxes from tributaries in each of these villages, as I suspect
his structural equivalent would have been during Inka times.
This is significant first of all because it shows that these
villages remained linked under a regional indigenous sociopolitical
structure. But also because all of these other villages, with
the exception of Yanque, are herding villages in the upper reaches
of the valley.
In the terms that I discussed earlier, this example shows how
Collagua intermediate elites mediated local and regional scale
eco-logistics. Tracking the geographical distribution of the
authority of ayllu leaders in this way gives a top-down view
of how Collagua community structures were arrayed over the landscape,
but equally important are the ways in which the domestic economy
of individual households articulated with this supra-local political
economy from the bottom-up.
A critical issue here is whether ayllu members directly accessed
production zones through trade with fellow ayllu members in outlying
areas, or indirectly through redistribution by ayllu leaders.
As we have seen, ayllu leaders held a disproportionate amount
of maize fields in the valleys to the south, and a small subset
of the tributary population also had direct access to them. But
how was access to pastoralist products from the high altitude
I address this question by analyzing the landholdings of commoner
households within Coporaque and these herder villages. Interestingly,
amongst the small percentage of households that declared agricultural
fields in these herding communities, maize was the most common
crop claimed. While I haven't yet analyzed this data systematically,
these fields must have been located in the lower reaches of the
valley, since maize agriculture is impossible in the altitudes
of these pastoralist villages (5). In fact, these maize fields were often located
with toponyms that I have mapped in the area around Coporaque.
This suggests that their access to agricultural goods from around
Coporaque was not mediated by ayllu leaders, but their access
to the lands to produce them probably was. That is, they either
had rights to these maize fields as members of their ayllu, or
were provided with them by their ayllu leader.
- In summary, these examples illustrate
how I am reconstructing what I call the eco-logistical practices
of Collagua intermediate elites, and how those practices recursively
structure and were structured by the built environment. On the
one hand, the archaeological data I briefly summarized show how
the Inka minimized administrative outlays by establishing public
architecture at already established high status sites from the
previous period of autonomous Collagua rule. On the other hand,
early colonial documentation provided a complementary view of
the hybridization of Collagua communities by showing how local
corporate groups were reworked into a nested hierarchy according
to Inka structuring principles. Finally, my colonial period land
tenure pattern analysis illustrates how these ideal, or imagined
communities, were mapped out onto the landscape, and the critical
role of Collagua elites as brokers between local and regional-scale
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del río Colca (Arequipa, Perú) 1575-1980. Boletín
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en el valle del Colca y la provincia de Caylloma (Arequipa, Perú).
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Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
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poder económico. Historia y cultura (10):95-118.
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hacia el valle de Arequipa. Derecho 296:81-152.
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de pisos ecológicos en la economia de las sociedades andinas.
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edited by J.V. Murra, pp. 427-476. Universidad Hermilio Valdizán,
- Pease, F.
1981 Ayllu y parcialidad, reflexiones sobre el caso de Collaguas.
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del Museo Nacional de Historia, edited by M. K. d. Paredes and
M. M. d. Pease, pp. 19-34. Museo Nacional de Historia y la Comisión
para Intercambio Educativo entre los Estados Unidos y el Perú,
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an Ethnohistorical Model in Moquegua. In Ecology, Settlement
and History in the Osmore Drainage, Peru, edited by D.S. Rice,
C. Stanish and P.R. Scarr, pp. 303-320. B.A.R. International
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1987 Resource ownership and utilization patterns among the Yanque-Collaguas
as manifested in the visita de Yanque-Collaguas, 1591. Andean
Perspective Newsletter, Institute of Latin American Studies,
University of Texas at Austin 5:15-24.
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(1586) 1965 Relación de la provincia de los Collaguas
para la discrepción de las Indias que su magestad manda
hacer. In Relaciones Geográficas de Indias, edited by
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2001 A reassessment of Collagua and provincial Inka ceramic styles
of Arequipa, Peru. Paper presented at the 66th Annual Meeting
for the Society for American Archaeology, New Orleans, LA.
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- (1) This is a slightly
expanded version from the paper I presented, but is also a working
draft; bibliography is minimal. Please contact me if you would
like to cite this paper, so that I may give the most up-to-date
(2) I am sensitive
to Stanish's cogent critiques of over-dependence on portable
artifacts as indicators of verticality systems (Stanish 1989a,
1989b, 1992). In this case, however, Collagua ceramics appear
to make up the majority of the LIP-LH assemblages in the areas
mentioned (i.e. they are much more ubiquitous than exotics in
grave lots, for example), and preliminary findings from recent
full-coverage survey by Erika Simborth and Clorinda Orbegoso
in Huanca and Lluta suggest that architecture in these areas
shares some distinctively Collagua attributes (Simborth and Orbegoso
pers. comm. 2002).
(3) Zuidema noted
that the organization of the nine minimal ayllus of each moiety
of the Collaguas directly parallels the organization of the ceques
of three of the four suyus of Cuzco: Chinchaysuyu, Antisuyu,
and Collasuyu. In each of these suyus, there are nine ceques
organized by a repeating pattern of three groups of three ceques,
named Collana, Payan, and Cayao.
(4) Two additional
lines of evidence within the visita indicate penetrating Inka
presence in local ayllus: 1) the presence of three classes of
official Inka imperial craft specialists embedded within the
ayllu structure: weavers of sumptuous cumbi cloth (cumbicamayoc),
silversmiths (listed as plateros), and potters (listed as olleros
oficiales), and 2) the presence of two individuals exempt from
tributary obligations for their status as descendents of the
Inka Huayna Capac, suggesting marriage alliances between local
elites and the panaca of Huayna Capac (Capac Ayllu).
- (5) Cf Tomka 1987.
Tomka reports a predominance of maize amongst households that
declare agricultural fields in the upper reaches of the valley
in the 1591 visita to Yanquecollaguas Urinsaya.
The field research for this project was funded by a Dissertation
Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.
Write-up was supported by a Junior Fellowship in Precolumbian
Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, and a Wenner-Gren Lita Osmundson Fellowship.
I would like to especially thank Maria Benavides for providing
photocopies and transcriptions of the 1604 visita. Special thanks
also to Nicholas Tripcevich for all of his detailed advice in
designing the GIS.