Brown Bag | The Valle de Mairana, Bolivia (c. 1000-1532 CE): Elucidating the Everyday

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Brooks Hall Commons

Sophia Marques
Department of Anthropology

Sometime during the Late Intermediate Period or the Late Horizon, the Valle de Mairana, Bolivia became part of the farthest reaches of the Inka empire, which at its height spanned the Andean Mountain range from Colombia to Argentina. However, relatively little is currently known about the people who lived in this valley during these centuries. How did the materiality of daily life respond to and shape people’s lived experiences of and within larger scale transformations surrounding Inka imperialism in the valley? This paper addresses this question with data from pedestrian survey, subsurface testing, and excavation in the valley. A focus on the small-scale realities of lived experience centers the agency of past peoples in shaping their world. What was important to people? How was that negotiated materially? How can we better understand the relations and choices that contributed en masse to large-scale socio-political trends? From this, we begin to explore power and agency in imperial processes, epistemologies of the mundane, and the materiality of relational ontologies.