Moche Geopolitical Networks and the Dynamic Role of Licapa II, Chicama Valley, Peru
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CitationKoons, Michele Lorraine. 2012. Moche Geopolitical Networks and the Dynamic Role of Licapa II, Chicama Valley, Peru. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractThis dissertation examines Moche (A.D. 300-900) sociopolitical organization in northern Peru at the previously unexplored site of Licapa II, a mid-sized ceremonial center in the Chicama Valley. Moche’s distinct archaeological signatures, chiefly, ceramics and architecture, have long been seen as emblematic of an ethnic and political reality and defined as evidence for the first South American state although recent scholarship has begun to view Moche as a more complex mosaic of interacting settlements across a landscape. My research at Licapa II is the first study of a site of its size and kind, thus constituting a novel contribution to the paradigm shift in Moche research. My excavations, surface collections, and geophysical surveys contributed to understanding the nature of the site and the activities performed there. Licapa II consists of two pyramids (huacas), a canal, and other buildings. I show that the two major structures, Huaca A and Huaca B, are characterized by different material culture, are different in form, and date to different time periods. Huaca A has local ceramics and was mainly used before A.D. 600. Huaca B has Moche IV and V style ceramics and was in use after A.D. 600. Based on my evaluation of radiocarbon dates, the changes in buildings and ceramics seen at Licapa II around A.D. 600 also occurred throughout the Moche world and included the adoption of Moche IV ceramics and soon after, in some places, Moche V. I also show that the Moche V style likely originated in the northern Chicama Valley and spread from there circa A.D. 650. I also argue that political organization in Moche times may have been similar to colonial era organization, based on nested moieties organized around the irrigation system. Overall, in this dissertation I demonstrate that Licapa II was an independent center intimately connected to a dynamic landscape of interconnected nodes in an ever- changing and complex network of sites. Simplistic models based on the concept of large Moche states thus should be discarded.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:10364583
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