The Lord of Vilcabamba

Brian S. Bauer, University of Illinois, Chicago, Fellow 2016–2017

My research focused on the Wari State (AD 600–1000) of the Peruvian Andes, investigating a major Wari occupation that was recently discovered in the Vilcabamba Valley. The site is the first Wari settlement found in the subtropical lowlands, and excavations have revealed three large D-shaped temple structures and some thirty high-status burials. One of the tombs is one of the most elaborate Wari burials ever discovered, and is believed to hold the remains of a regional lord. The discovery of this site and its noble internments provides archaeologists an opportunity to reevaluate the nature of the Wari state and the areas that came under its control. I worked with the field notes from the excavations and reconstructed many of the gravel lots. I compared the artifacts recovered at the site with those found in other Wari sites over the past hundred years and with materials held in more than twenty museums around the world. I also reviewed the theoretical literature concerning the archaeology of colonialization and state expansion. The results of this research will be presented in a book, which is now well advanced thanks to the fellowship.