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Leaders of the Wari Polity exerted control and influence over a large area of Peru for nearly a half century, during a period archaeologists call the Middle Horizon, AD 500-1000. Donna Nash’s research examines ancient state development, as well as, imperial processes and cultural confrontations using several scales of archaeological data. Ongoing investigations of Wari’s colonization of Moquegua are uncovering the powerful institutions and management strategies that underwrote Wari’s expansion and hegemony, while at the same time illuminating the impacts, reactions, and agency of local subject groups. This webpage provides a rough sketch of the Wari colony in Moquegua, and the working hypotheses that are being tested by the current program of research. Data and summaries for a variety of topics can be accessed using the side bar.

Researchers recognized the Wari Empire by its architectural canon (Rowe et al. 1950) before they were able to distinguish its artistic style from their well known contemporaries the Tiwanaku.

Moquegua is the farthest southern extension of Wari colonization or imperial expansion. Moquegua is an excellent location to examine Wari state organization and the strategies of elite leaders because it appears that the Wari colony in Moquegua was built from the ground up, requiring massive landscape transformation, engineering knowledge, irrigation technology, and a major labor investment. Currently, all indications suggest that the Wari colonized Moquegua without resistance and without conquering a local population. They entered an open territory and designed what may have been considered an ideal system of settlement. No doubt the strategies, focus on resources, and settlement pattern changed over the four hundred years the Wari occupied Moquegua, however these changes may reveal important changes in the organization of the Wari state, significant trends in governmental practices, technological innovations, ideological shifts, and the waxing and waning of state power.