How did officials in ancient states and empires manage and control members of subordinate groups? I am interested in the development of bureaucratic personnel and governing institutions in early stratified-societies. I examine the transformation of informal power relations to state practices through the study of articulations between households and the activities of emergent leaders in residential and public arenas of interaction. Incumbent to this research agenda are many facets of social relations and group identification; among these are gender, ethnicity, and occupational affiliations. To investigate these practices and the different kinds of social relations as they are represented in the archaeological record, I employ a multi-disciplinary approach to define how people used different places. Using a context focused excavation strategy, I pursue this program of investigation in the southern Andes of Peru at sites of different scales whose occupants were controlled or in contact with the Wari Empire (AD 600-1000).
I currently direct an interdisciplinary project to understand the Wari Empire’s settlement of Moquegua, Peru. We are examining the significant changes that took place in the lives of local people with the intrusion of the Wari Empire. Most of all I want to understand how this small province on the Wari Empire’s southern frontier was organized and what political strategies imperial officials used to engage the cooperation of local people in the region. In the next few years we will be excavating two settlements that were occupied during the Pre Wari Era (100BC-600AD) and during the time of Wari colonization (AD 600-1000). One is located in the highlands and the other is located on the coast. Examining these two sites will give us a clear picture of the transformations that took place with the development of the state and the expansion of empire in the ancient Andes.