Brian S. Bauer. The Development of the Inca State. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992. xvi + 185 pp. $12.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-292-70848-8.
Reviewed by Ross Jamieson (University of Calgary)
Published on H-LatAm (January, 1997)
Inka Places of Primacy
Those outside the study of Andean prehistory would be quite shocked at the lack of published archaeological research on the Inca occupation of the region immediately surrounding Cuzco. This serious oversight in archaeological studies of the Inca state has occurred for various reasons. Within the city of Cuzco itself modern habitation covers the Inca remains, making excavation logistically difficult. In the countryside surrounding Cuzco many of the sites with standing Inca architecture are important national symbols and important tourist sites for the nation of Peru, making large-scale excavation by foreign researchers impractical. This lack of knowledge of the prehistory of the Inca in the region surrounding their capital makes Brian Bauer's contribution very important. Bauer's archaeological fieldwork was undertaken in the province of Paruro, in an area stretching from between 10 and 50 kilometers south of the city of Cuzco. As an area just outside the city, but still within its immediate hinterland, Paruro holds important implications for questions concerning the development of the Inca state.
The Development of the Inca State is based on Bauer's 1990 Ph.D. dissertation from the University of Chicago, and was first published in a cloth edition in 1992. Many Andean scholars will also be familiar with sections of the work published in journals such as Fieldiana, Nawpa Pacha, Revista Andina, and Latin American Antiquity. This in no way takes away from the presentation of Bauer's research as a monograph, and its appearance in an affordable paperback edition is a welcome development, particularly if this encourages the distribution of his results to a wider audience.
Although Bauer's research was conducted under the supervision of the archaeologists Don Rice and Alan Kolata, the influence of the anthropologist/ethnohistorian Gary Urton, who wrote the foreword to the volume, is clearly very important to the questions Bauer has asked of his archaeological data. Bauer's stated goal is to examine "Inca state development that occurred in the Cuzco region between the Killke Period (A.D. 1000-1400) and the Inca Period (A.D. 1400-1532)" (p. 1), and in his foreword to the volume Urton states that "Bauer has succeeded in returning to archaeology its (rightful) place of primacy in the investigation of the origins and initial phases of the evolution of the Inca Empire" (p. xi). Urton and Bauer have worked together closely, and if you intend to read Bauer's book you should also have a look at Gary Urton's (1990) volume The History of a Myth: Pacariqtambo and the Origin of the Inkas.
Bauer's research was undertaken in Paruro, an area that during the Inca period was the home of three major ethnic groups, the Masca, Chillque, and Tambo, all of whom were referred to in the chronicles as "Inca de Privelegio." The term defines those who were of Inca status, and who lived in the hinterland of the capital, but also contrasts them to those of "royal" or "noble" origin who lived in the city of Cuzco itself. The research area is perhaps most interesting, however, because it includes the site of Pacariqtambo, one of several places that are referred to in oral tradition as the origin point of the Inca people. Bauer's work is an archaeological study of this region, and it is an exemplary one. Bauer and his team conducted a foot survey of a 600 square kilometer area, recording architecture and surface scatters of artifacts, and then undertook excavation at several of the sites discovered.
Two separate ceramic styles, Killke and Colcha, occurred in the region immediately prior to the Inca occupation. Both of these styles were dated using a single radiocarbon date of AD 1010 (+/-140) from a context containing both Killke and Colcha ceramics, but they are presumed to represent a period from approximately 1000 to 1400 AD. Killke ceramics were more plentiful in the northern part of the survey, that part closer to the city of Cuzco, while Bauer defined a "Colcha" ceramic style which increased in density around the town of Araypallpa, presumed to be the site of its manufacture. Although Bauer feels that discussion of the "social mechanisms" through which these ceramics were distributed is premature (p. 89), he does come to some conclusions about the reasons for their distribution patterns. He cautions against the use of these ceramic styles as simplistic indicators of ethnic group boundaries (p. 90), but points out that the Killke ceramic distribution fits well with the distribution of "Inca de Privelegio" recorded in the chronicles. It is the distribution of Killke ceramics that leads to many of the significant conclusions in the book. The distribution suggests to Bauer a "regional centralized authority" (p. 91), based in the city of Cuzco, and in existence before the Inca imperial expansion. This authority, represented by the distribution of Killke ceramics, appears to have controlled areas up to 60 km from Cuzco itself. He proposes that this distribution of Killke ceramics represents the development of the Inca state prior to its imperial expansion throughout the Andes. Within the province of Paruro region Inca imperial ceramics and earlier Killke ceramics are generally both found at the same sites. This confirms a general stability in settlement patterns running from the Killke to the Inca period, a pattern also found by Ken Heffernan in the Limatambo region, 50 km west of Cuzco. There are no fortified Killke period sites in the Paruro area.
The archaeological data recorded by Bauer is thus in direct conflict with the oral traditions presented in the Spanish colonial "chronicles." Bauer's main concern is with the "historicity" of the chronicles in describing the time before and during the mid-fifteenth century reign of Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui. The time before Pachacuti was portrayed in the chronicles as a period of chronic warfare between rival ethnic groups, solved only when Pachacuti conquered all of the regions around Cuzco. In relocating large segments of the population and undertaking a massive rebuilding of Cuzco and its region, Pachacuti can be seen through a literal reading of the chronicles to have been personally responsible for the foundation of the Inca state. Bauer is uncomfortable with such a literalist reading of the chronicles, a view shared by many prominent Andean ethnohistorians including Tom Zuidema, Maria Rostworowski, and Gary Urton. I agree with Bauer wholeheartedly that archaeological projects can provide an important source of independent data on the processes that went into the formation of the Inca state, and thus help with questions of the "historicity" of the chronicles themselves (p. 9). I would not, however, want to reject the use of the chronicles in looking at the early periods of Inca statehood completely. The strength of research on the Inca must come from a combination of good archaeological research and a critical understanding of the written record. Bauer's research is a good example of this. For those interested in exploring such questions further, recent important publications to compare to Bauer would include Tom Zuidema's (1990) Inca Civilization in Cuzco for a very ethnohistorical point of view, and a 1993 volume entitled Provincial Inca: Archaeological and Ethnohistorical Assessment of the Impact of the Inca State, edited by Michael Malpass, for a more archaeologically oriented view of the Inca provinces.
What Bauer concludes in The Development of the Inca State is that the massive social upheaval between the Killke and Inca periods that would be expected in a literal reading of the accomplishments of Pachacuti Inca simply did not occur in Paruro. The only major change visible archaeologically at the beginning of the Inca period in the Paruro region was the construction of the large Inca site of Maukallaqta, a site of over 200 masonry structures closely associated with the nearby rock outcrop and cave of Puma Urco. Unfortunately Bauer was unable to obtain radiocarbon dates for the Inca occupation of these two sites, but from the lack of Killke/Colcha ceramics, and extensive presence of Inca imperial ceramic styles, he concludes that the sites were heavily occupied only after AD 1400. Bauer's research at Maukallaqta convincingly attests to its role as an Inca religious centre, confirming the association of Puma Urco with the Inca origin point known as Pacariqtambo in the chronicles and extensively studied by Gary Urton. Thus Bauer points out that Maukallaqta and Puma Urco represent important Inca sites not because of any role in the formation of the Inca state, but rather in their later role as religious sites, which helped in the legitimization of Inca rule in the Cuzco region through their references to the mythical origin point of the Inca at Pacariqtambo (p. 146).
Bauer then turns to another aspect of Urton's research in the Pacariqtambo area, in which Urton mapped the sixteenth-century communities in existence before the "reduccion" policies of Viceroy Toledo so heavily altered native Andean landholding in the 1570s. Urton's research proposed that the Tambo ethnic group surrounding Pacariqtambo was made up of ten "ayllus," or communities, each of which belonged to either the upper or lower moiety of the Tambo depending on the location of each ayllu on either side of the main pathway through the area. Through archaeological survey Bauer is able to associate eight of the ten historically known community locations with an Inca settlement, and seven of these eight also have Killke remains associated with them. From this work Bauer convincingly shows that the social structure of the Tambo recorded by the Spanish before it was altered by the Toledan reducciones was largely identical to that in place in the Inca period and even in the preceding Killke period (p. 132).
Bauer has thus created a convincing piece of archaeological research to support his conclusion that incipient Inca state formation during the Killke period incorporated areas surrounding Cuzco such as Paruro. Bauer argues that archaeological evidence in no way supports the traditional view, given in the Spanish chronicles, that the formation and initial regional expansion of the Inca state was the work of a single charismatic leader, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, who ended regional warfare and imposed massive changes on local ethnic groups to gain control of the region. For Bauer it is much more reasonable to argue that the "Inca de Privelegio," ethnic groups which surrounded Cuzco, were absorbed into the Inca state much earlier than the fifteenth century, and that the creation of the Inca state in the Cuzco region occurred over a longer timescale, represented by the long-term stability of communities in regions like Paruro. Bauer admits that areas such as Hauta (40 km northeast of Cuzco) and Cusichaca (70 km northeast of Cuzco), have evidence of Killke period militarism and unrest (p. 107). Paruro falls into another category, however, along with Limatambo, as an area of stability during the transition from Killke to Inca. Thus the rapid and widespread expansion of the Inca in the fifteenth century occurred long after a structure of "regional centralized authority" existed in at least some parts of the Cuzco region.
There are only a few minor problems with the volume that come to mind. Each chapter includes a summary that outlines what will be stated in future chapters, a stylistic decision perhaps left over from Bauer's dissertation, and one that takes a bit away from the flow of the published monograph. The caption for Plate 10 reads "A view of Puma Orco from Maukallaqta", and I am fairly certain the two names have been accidentally transposed. Finally, the chapter on ayllus and moieties refers frequently to communities on Maps 7 and 8 in terms of a system of letter designations that does not appear on the maps.
These minor points take little away from a book that is very well published, and that includes very clear maps of the region in question, good black and white plates, a useful index, end notes, and clear and concise figures and tables. I was particularly pleased to see historical sources quoted in the original Spanish before an English translation is given.
Bauer's volume is a focused archaeological case study, but it certainly has wider applications. It is in no way an attempt to synthesize our knowledge of the Inca, and thus at first appears unsuitable for use in the undergraduate classroom. It would be quite interesting, however, to pair this work with that presented in Urton's The History of a Myth, and in this way introduce students to the Inca, and to the varying but complementary methodologies of the archaeologist, anthropologist, and ethnohistorian. Outside the classroom, Bauer's work is essential reading for Andean prehistorians, and for anyone interested in the development of state-level societies in the Americas. For those who are not yet aware of Bauer's work, this affordable paperback edition leaves little excuse not to become familiar with it.
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Ross Jamieson. Review of Bauer, Brian S., The Development of the Inca State.
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