Construction, labor organization, and feasting during the Late Archaic Period in the Central Andes

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Recent data from the site of Cerro Lampay, a Late Archaic Period compound in central Peru, sheds light on the role of ritual and architectural construction in the emergence of social complexity in the Central Andes. Excavations at this site have provided a detailed documentation of the building process that ended in the entombment of architectural compounds, including a remarkable sequence of construction events preceded by the processing and consumption of foodstuffs. There was not a single, large-scale construction event, but several small-scale events that were accompanied by consumption activities. This pattern strongly suggests a permanent reinforcement of ties and commitments through feasting, which was required in order to finish the construction process. This scenario supports the idea of emerging leadership capable of mobilizing labor for the construction requirements. Nevertheless, the reliance on feasting as ritual practices, and the small scale of these events, suggests a limited power capacity and a weakly formalized authority, which needed to be constantly reinforced through the inferred ritual practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-171
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Central Andes
  • Construction
  • Feasting
  • Late Archaic Period
  • Ritual
  • Ritual architecture


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