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Fortifications as Warfare Culture: the Hilltop Centre of Yayno (Ancash, Peru), AD 400–800

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 September 2010

George F. Lau
Sainsbury Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK Email:


This article evaluates defensive works at the ancient hilltop centre of Yayno, Pomabamba, north highlands, Peru. Survey, mapping and sampling excavations show that its primaryoccupation dates to cal. AD 400–800, by groups of the Recuay tradition. At the centre of a network articulating small nearby farming villages, Yayno features an impressive series of natural and built defensive strategies. These worked in concert to protect the community from outsiders and keep internal groups physically segregated. The fortifications are discussed in relation to local political organization and a martial aesthetic in northern Peru during the period. Recuay elite identity and monumentalism arose out of local corporate traditions of hilltop dwelling and defence. Although such traditions are now largely absent in contemporary patterns of settlement, an archaeology of warfare at Yayno has repercussions for local understandings of the past.

Research Article
Copyright © The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research 2010

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