Andean Civilizations, 600-1500

IV. Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
A. Cultural Response to
Environmental Challenge
1. Geography
• Andes Mountains
- High altitudes
- frosts
• Arid climate of the coast
- Little rainfall
• Hot & humid jungles of the
IV. Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
2. Technology
• Accurate calendar
- Time planting and harvest of crops
• Domestication of frost resistant potatoes and grains
• Terraced hillsides
• Freeze-drying
• Domestication of the llama and alpaca
- Meat
- Wool
- Long distance transportation
IV. Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
Record Keeping
No system of writing
Khipus or quipus
A system of knotted colored cords
Used for administration: to record population
counts, tribute obligations, etc
Warm Up:
What geographic challenges did Andean
civilization face?
Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
Labor Structure
The clan, or ayllu (aye-You)
Held land communally
Clan members obligated to assist each other
in common labor
• Ayllu provided labor and goods to chief
Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
5. Mit’a
• Each ayllu contributed a set number of workers for
specific tasks each year
- Rotational labor draft
• Members of ayllu work the fields, care for llama and
alpaca herds
- Owned by religious establishment, courts, aristocracy
• Built and maintained roads, bridges, temples and
large irrigation and drainage projects
• Produced textiles and essential goods
Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
Gender roles
Work divided along gender lines
Men- Hunting, military service, government
Women- textile production, agriculture, and
the home
IV. Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
B. Moche
1. Identity
• North coastal region of Peru in about 600 C.E.
• No formal empire of unified government
• Identity based on culture
IV. Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
2. Agriculture
• mit’a labor system
• extensive irrigated agriculture
- produced maize, quinoa, beans, sweet
potatoes and manioc
• Alpaca and llama herds
- Transportation, wool for textiles, meat.
IV. Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
3. Moche Society
• Stratified and theocratic.
• Wealth and power were concentrated in the
hands of an elite
- priests and military leaders who lived atop large
- decorated themselves with magnificent clothing,
- jewelry, and tall headdresses.
IV. Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
Commoners cultivated their fields
supplied mit’a labor to the elite.
Moche artisans were skilled in the production of
textiles, ceramics, and metallurgy.
Gold and silver were used for decorative
copper and copper alloy for farm tools and
IV. Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
4. Decline
• may be attributed to a series of natural
disasters in the sixth century
• and to pressure from the warlike Wari people
in the eighth century.
IV. Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
C. Tiwanaku and Wari
1. Tiwanaku Civilization
• Centered in modern
• High elevation (13,000 ft)
• experienced increased
agricultural productivity
and urbanization in the
years following 200 C.E.
• cultivated potatoes and
grains on raised fields
reclaimed from
IV. Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
2. Urbanization
• urban construction
included a large terraced
pyramid, walled
enclosures, and a
• Construction was done
with large stones
- quarried, moved, and laid
by thousands of laborers
- working with simple
technology and copper
alloy tools.
IV. Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
Tiwanaku Society
highly stratified, ruled by a hereditary elite,
included specialized artisans.
Not a large city
Political and ceremonial center.
IV. Andean Civilizations, 600-1500
4. The Wari
• was located near the city of Ayucucho, Peru.
• Wari had contact with Tiwanaku but was a
separate culture;
• the city being built without central planning,
• with different techniques,
• and on a much smaller scale than Tiwanaku.
• Both Tiwanaku and Wari declined to
insignificance by 1000 C.E.

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