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The Agricultural Foundations of the Tiwanaku State: A View from the Heartland

  • Alan L. Kolata (a1)


In this essay I explore the nature, role, and significance of intensive agriculture in the ancient state of Tiwanaku, which was centered in the high plateau of southern Peru and northwestern Bolivia. Significant primary evidence that the state of Tiwanaku systematically reclaimed immense tracts of now abandoned agricultural land around the borders of Lake Titicaca is adduced and evaluated.

I conclude that Tiwanaku was a dynamic, expansive state based squarely on an effective, surplus-producing system of intensive agriculture, that the intensification agricultural production through large scale reclamation of flat, seasonally inundated land along the margins of Lake Titicaca was a prime economic strategy of the Tiwanaku state, and that this strategy was devised and managed by a hierarchically organized, central government.



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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
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