Ritual is Power? Late Archaic Small-Scale Ceremonial Architecture in the Central Andes
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This dissertation describes the results of fieldwork to investigate 3rd millennium B.C. temples on the coast of Peru. Field methodologies were designed to examine the changing nature of ritual practices performed by early leaders as they systematically incorporated religion into their base of power. The Late Archaic Period (3000-1800 B.C.) witnessed the appearance and florescence of multiple large-scale communities with monumental platform mounds and large sunken circular courts. Recent excavations have also revealed a number of much smaller-scale temple structures at larger sites that bear many similarities to the classic Mito temples found in the highlands. These temple structures reflect non-public rituals with face-to-face interaction and provide an avenue for investigating the role of ritual and ideology in the emergence of complex political systems. This study presents the results of innovative analytical techniques used in the excavation of a series of small-scale temples at the site of Huaricanga in order to explore variation in ritual practices in the evolving complex polities on the Peruvian coast during the Late Archaic Period.