Title

Toward a better understanding of inka provincialism

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-2010

Abstract

The many chapters in this book have deepened our understanding of the different forms of Inka control and Inka provincialism. Because of the geographical scope of the chapters, the contributions provide the foundation for a comparative work on the strategies used by the Inka elite in the control of the provinces, the distinct organizational layouts of the imperial provinces, and the different effects of the imperial administration on the local populations. More important, they provide a wealth of novel information on regions so far not clearly understood, as is the case in Ecuador, the western Peruvian coast, and Chile. This volume has extensively documented how the Inka Empire incorporated a diversity of environments and ethnicities with varying levels of political complexity. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that the use of a range of power strategies was tailored to specific local conditions, which has also been reported by other scholars (D'Altroy 2002; Malpass 1993; Schreiber 1992; Stanish 2001b). As illustrated in the various contributions, these different forms of provincial control were the product of a series of competing factors. These included the kinds of resources available in the provinces that were valued by the empire, the degree of cooperation or resistance manifested by local leaders, the existing levels of political organization convenient to the imperial administration, how recently the Inkas conquered a region, and the variation in distance to the imperial core. The initial goals of the book were to explore five basic themes: the Inka relations to groups external to the imperial borders; the nature of the interaction between archaeological and ethnohistorical research seeking to understand the various manifestations of Inka imperialism; the various forms of Inka provincialism; the local reactions to imperial control, including resistance, colonization, and negotiation of power as seen through archaeology and ethnohistory; and the various scales of analysis and archaeological correlates used to understand Inka provincialism and imperial control. Each one of these topics was addressed at different levels of detail by the authors. While in all contributions there was a clear concern for evaluating the nature of imperial control in the various provinces, the lines of evidence and scales of analysis were refreshingly different. In some cases, the point of departure was the use of ethnohistorical information as a complementary avenue of archaeological research (Rivera Casanovas, Mackey, and Acuto). In other cases, both sources provided somewhatcontradictory views, particularly when dealing with pre-Inka populations (Van Buren and Presta, Santoro et al.). Differences in the chosen scales of analysis ranged from a regional perspective (Rivera Casanovas, Acuto, Santoro et al.) to communal and site levels (Rossen et al., Lippi and Gudiño, Van Buren and Presta, Mackey, Alconini). This also included an array of approaches to the study of cultural and biological materials, such as bioarchaeology (Haun and Cock Carrasco) and archaeobotany (Rossen et al.). These different ways of addressing Inka provincialism and imperial control provided a rich tapestry that builds on the different ways in which both the conqueror and the conquered perceived the Inka conquest phenomena, the correlation of archaeological and ethnohistorical data, and the shifts promoted by the empire at different scales, ranging from a regional perspective to one of local households. Overall, the chapters provide a rich assortment of novel issues to the study of Inka provincialism, which can be divided into five main areas: different strategies of Inka imperial domination; imperial control along the Inka frontiers; the role of midlevel administrators in the Inka provinces; the challenge of finding Inka mitmaqkuna enclaves in the provinces; and issues of resistance and acculturation in the provinces. A summary of each topic follows as a comparative framework for parsing out the similarities and differences posited in the chapters. © 2010 by the University of Iowa Press. All rights reserved.

Publication Name

Distant provinces in the inka empire: Toward a Deeper Understanding of Inka Imperialism

First Page

279

Last Page

300

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