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The Technology and Organization of Agricultural Production in the Tiwanaku State

  • Alan L. Kolata (a1)


Utilizing data from six seasons of field research, this article focuses on the question of the technology and social organization of intensive agricultural production in the Andean state of Tiwanaku. Recent literature in Andean archaeology and ethnohistory asserts the dominance of local kin groups in the organization of agricultural production rather than supracommunity state authority. The analysis presented here takes issue with this perspective as applied to the core territory of the Tiwanaku state during the period from ca. A. D. 400 to 1000 (Tiwanaku IV-V). I conclude that in this period: (1) the technology of Tiwanaku intensive agricultural production turned on the creation of an artificial regional hydrological regime of canals, aqueducts, and groundwater regulation articulated with massive raised-field systems, and (2) the organization of agricultural production in this core territory entailed structured, hierarchical interaction between urban and rural settlements characterized by a substantial degree of political centralization and the mobilization of labor by social principles that reached beyond simple kinship relations.

Utilizando información arqueológica de seis temporadas de campo, este artículo centra su atención en aquellos aspectos tecnológicos y de organización social asociados a la producción agrícola intensiva del estado andino de Tiwanaku. Una posición actual en la literatura arqueológica y etnohistórica andina sostiene que la organización asociada a la producción agrícola estuvo basada en grupos de parentesco local, en lugar de que el manejo planificado de la autoridad estatal actuaba sobre la comunidad. El análisis que aquí se presenta polemiza esta perspectiva en su aplicación al desarrollo del estado Tiwanaku en su área nuclear aproximadamente desde 400 a 1000 D. C. (Tiwanaku IV-V). Concluimos que en este período: (1) la tecnología de la producción agrícola intensiva de Tiwanaku generó la creación de un régimen hidrológico artificial y regional de canales, acueductos y regulación de aguas subterráneas articulado con los sistemas de campos elevados, y (2) la organización de la producción agrícola en este territorio nuclear mantuvo una interacción estructurada y jerarquizada entre los asentamientos urbanos y rurales. Además se caracterizó por tener un grado de centralización política y por la mobilización de mano de obra que utilizó principios sociales que fueron más alla de simples relaciones de parentesco. Un aspecto complementario pero significativo para la investigación que presentamos aquí es la rehabilitación de algunos campos de cultivo prehispánicos (camellones o campos elevados) de la Pampa Koani y del valle de Tiwanaku, y los resultados de su implementación después de los tres primeros años consecutivos. Se subrayan las propiedades térmicas de los campos elevados para la protección contra las heladas, y la alta productividad por superficie sembrada, que es varias veces superior al promedio regional y nacional. Estos resultados evidencian que este régimen de intensificación agrícola fue la estrategia principal de producción intensiva del estado de Tiwanaku.



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