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The Square-Room Unit as an Emblem of Power and Authority within the Initial Period Sechín Alto Polity, Casma Valley, Peru

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Shelia Pozorski
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Anthropology, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX 78539 (spozorski@panam.edu)
Thomas Pozorski
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Anthropology, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX 78539 (tpozorski@panam.edu)

Abstract

Some 3,500 years ago, the Sechín Alto Polity built large, precisely planned cities, one of which contained the largest structures in the New World at that time. Such accomplishments reflect strong, enduring leadership, and we propose that the power and leadership role of these leaders was tangibly manifested by a unique, widely used architectural element and by a related symbol within polity iconography. The distinctive architectural form is a free-standing module that is omnipresent in power loci: temple, palace, storehouse, mid-level administrative buildings, roadside structures, and a satellite site. We also interpret recurring symbols within Sechín Alto Polity iconography as more abstract representations of this architectural form in its capacity as a power symbol. The essence of this "architecture of power" transcended time as the modular form was imitated by a subsequent polity.

Resumen

Resumen

Hace unos 3,500 años, los residentes de Sechín Alto construyeron ciudades grandes, precisamente planeadas, en una de las cuales se encuentran las estructuras más grandes del Nuevo Mundo para esa época. El tamaño de estas ciudades indica que el liderazgo fue fuerte y duradero. Los autores de este artículo proponen que el poder del liderazgo de Sechín Alto se manifiesta tangiblemente en un elemento único, ampliamente utilizado en la arquitectura, por medio de un símbolo relacionado dentro de la iconografía política. La forma distintiva de esta arquitectura es un módulo independiente que está presente en todos los loci de poder: templo, palacio, los edificios administrativos de nivel medio, estructuras al lado de los caminos, y un sitio satélite. Además, los autores interpretan los símbolos recurrentes dentro de la iconografía de Sechín Alto como representaciones más abstractas de esta forma arquitectónica en su calidad de símbolo de poder. La esencia de esta "arquitectura de poder" trascendió el tiempo conforme la forma modular fue imitada por los gobiernos siguientes.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright ©2011 by the Society for American Archaeology.

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