This manuscript on Huarpa pottery analysis was submitted for publication to Nawpa Pacha, January, 1989. Due to the delay in publication, the author is making this draft available for citation (it is a revision of a previous draft submitted in 1979 and reviewed by John H. Rowe and Patricia J. Lyon, editors). This draft has been shared with colleagues in order to assist in ongoing research. Some recent editing was added including current C-14 calibration standards (CALIB5.0.2). I would like to acknowledge the assistance and support of William H. Isbell and Katharina J. Schreiber during the collection of the material and Luis Lumbreras, Director, for providing research space at the Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Antropología in 1974.
Continuing research on this topic can be found at: Who Was Who in the Middle Horizon Andean Prehistory?


Patricia J. Knobloch


      During a mapping and reconnaissance project at the site of Huari in July, 1974, a stratified deposit of refuse containing Huarpa style ceramics was discovered in the side of a road cut. The deep cut exposed ceramic material in five distinct strata. Ceramics were collected from each stratum, the surface and from the roadbed area. Based on stylistic and carbon-14 analyses, the ceramic material date earliest known Huarpa occupation of the Huari mesa site to 1713 +/- 120 B.P.


      Huari is the name given to a prehistoric site located 10 km. north of Ayacucho along the road to the town of Quinua. The site's Middle Horizon (750-1000 A.D.) refuse covers 5 sq. km. at the northern and western edge of a mesa and contains 2 sq. km. of visible architecture. Huari represents a large, prehistoric urban center, possibly the capital of a large polity or state. (Figure 1:Map)

      The name, Huarpa, is assigned to the Early Intermediate Period population in the Ayacucho-Huanta basin who intensively occupied the Huari mesa and produced one of the most distinctive local En styles found in this highland area. Though Huarpa style pottery is easy to identify by the predominance of black on white geometric designs, it took many years of research to determine the temporal position of this pottery with respect to the manufacture of other ancient pottery of the area. In 1931, Julio Tello, director of the Museo de Arqueología y Antropología, and Lila O'Neale, from the University of California at Berkeley, visited Ayacucho on a reconnaissance trip. O'Neale made several surface collections of sherds. These sherds are housed at the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology (formerly the Robert H. Lowie Museum of Anthropology, RHLMA), University of California at Berkeley (see Kroeber, 1944, p. 99, pl. XXXIX). According to Luis Lumbreras (1974, p. 133) Huarpa pottery was first noted in Tello's typology:

      ...Tello deduced its existence in 1931 on the basis of large pottery ladles of "archaic" appearance and crude vessels with three handles and a conical base.

Indeed, ladles or spoons are typical of Huarpa pottery manufacture as are large jars with conical bases. This description, however, does not indicate that Tello found pottery with the black on white designs that typify the style. Furthermore, from an excavation at Tanta Orko, a site near the town of Pacaicasa that is located 2 km west of the Huari site, Tello (1942, p. 119) also mentioned undecorated vessels with tripod legs and hornshaped (i.e., "corniforme") handles that occurred in a layer below a layer containing Huari (i.e., "Chanka") style sherds. Such tripod vessels or vessels with three handles do not occur in published descriptions of Huarpa style ceramics. In both cases, he may have been collecting ceramics dating to a time period before the manufacture of Huarpa style pottery. Clearly, Tello had not observed any typical Huarpa style sherds and, therefore, it is not possible to credit him with establishing a pre-Huari date for Huarpa style pottery as defined by later collections and as it is described here.

      In 1946, John Rowe, Donald Collier and Gordon Willey (1950) visited the Huari site where they collected 252 sherds. They published the first description that distinguished Huarpa style ceramics as a pottery type. This distinction was tentatively based on twelve sherds from their Huari collection and six sherds from O'Neale's collection. This small sample included constricted neck jars and large bowls with thickened rims and black painted designs on a matte white background. The designs are simple linear patterns of carelessly executed horizontal bands and straight and wavy lines: "one example has crossing lines forming small panels which are filled with one or two black blobs each" (Rowe,, 1950, pp. 129-132). In their description, only the paste was mentioned as being somewhat similar to other Huari ceramics, though with a "somewhat coarser grit temper and a less even surface treatment." (Rowe,, 1950, p. 129). Other attributes, such as surface treatment, design, temper, slip and paint, were used to determine the difference between the Huarpa ceramics and the other Huari ceramics. They stated that Huarpa type pottery was similar to post-Huari, Chancay ceramics from the central coast in the use of a black and white decorative color combination. Thus, Rowe, Collier and Willey provided the first specific definition of Huarpa potter though they neither implied a "genetic connection" (Rowe,, 1950, p. 132) with Chancay, nor attempted a definite temporal placement of their Huarpa "series" sherds.

      Wendell C. Bennett (1953) made the first attempt to establish a temporal position for Huarpa style pottery. In 1950, he excavated fifteen test pits at the site of Huari and five at Acuchimay, a hilltop site in Ayacucho's southern suburbs. These test pits were excavated in arbitrary 25 cm. strata. Sherds from the surface were equivalent to a stratum. Huarpa black on white ceramics occurred at both sites. With a total of 16,546 sherds, his analysis of the material was based on the method of frequency seriation. The ceramic material was sorted into types. The frequencies of these types were estimated for each stratum of each test pit. Then, the material from the strata was assigned to a five part temporal sequence based on similar patterns of distribution of the types. Since the distribution of Huarpa type ceramics showed similar patterns of large frequencies on the surface and in the upper, more recent levels of the test pits, Bennett concluded that Huarpa pottery manufacture had occurred in a post-Huari period.

      Bennett discovered, however, an isolated deposit of Huarpa sherds in the bottom level of test pit #4 at Huari. The level was capped by a sterile layer of soil. Both were buried beneath levels containing Huari style ceramics. Where Bennett saw reversed stratigraphy, Edward P. Lanning (see Menzel, 1962), Lumbreras (1960) and Dorothy Menzel (1964) concurred that the Huarpa deposit represented its proper pre-Middle Horizon chronological position.

      Test pit #4 was excavated on a slope outside the northern edge of Huari in an area of large enclosures or patio groups known as Sullu Cruz. Using Menzel's (1964, pp. 7-8) terminology for pottery styles and period designations, the strata of the pit can be described as follows: 1) stratum a, 0-.25 cm. depth, contained Middle Horizon Epoch 1, Chakipampa style ceramics; 2) stratum b, .25-.50 cm. depth, contained both Early Intermediate Period Huarpa and Middle Horizon Epoch 1 Chakipampa ceramics; 3) sterile soil layer, .50- 1.00 cm. depth; 4) stratum C, 1.00-1.25 cm. depth, contained only Early Intermediate Period, Huarpa ceramics; and, 5) sterile soil, 1.25-1.50 cm. depth (Bennett, 1953, p. 33). Though on a slope, this inter-layering of sterile soil deposits strongly supports an argument for a stable, unmixed stratigraphy which, in turn, argues for a pre-Huari Huarpa occupation. Most of the other pits found within the site indicated a mixed stratigraphy (Menzel 1964, p. 7).

      One test implication that Bennett never considered, which also explains the larger percentages of Huarpa ceramics compared with others on the surface, is the size and thickness of the sherds. The large, thick Huarpa sherds preserve better than the thinner Middle Horizon sherds, especially for over a thousand years on the surface (Rowe, 1961, p. 325).

      Lumbreras (1959) presented an analysis of Huari ceramics and suggested a relative chronology of ceramic types from the Early Horizon to the Late Horizon in the central highlands of Peru. He stated that his temporal placement of Huarpa ceramics into the Early Intermediate Period was not solidly supported at that time and was mainly a conjecture. His discussion relied on two factors: 1) Lumbreras believed that Bennett's test pit #4 at Huari represented normal stratigraphy. Lumbreras credits Edward P. Lanning with this insight (Menzel, 1962, p. 121); and, 2) he found Huarpa style ceramics in association with ceramics that depict Nasca and Tiahuanaco related design elements (Lumbreras, 1959, pp. 63-116).

      In 1964, Menzel published a system of relative dating based on stylistic seriation of pottery. Her method of seriation was based on the definition of 'style' as "a pattern of decorative features that contrasts with other such patterns both descriptively and in its archaeological associations" (Menzel, 1964, p. 75). She used the association of pottery features in contemporary archaeological contexts such as grave lots, small sites or distributions of surface collections. Her data included published and unpublished materials from public and private collections. Specifically, the seriation was based on progressive change in many features of vessel shape and decoration. The resulting sequence was then used to assign archaeological remains to relative dates. In her sequence, Menzel assigned the Huarpa style to a time period before the Huari, the Early Intermediate Period. Her decision was based on two lines of evidence: 1) the Huarpa style depicted Nasca 7 and 8 related design elements; and 2) when in association with Middle Horizon styles, the Huarpa style was found only with those styles of Middle Horizon Epoch 1 and not with Epoch 2. As part of her analysis, she also used Bennett's test pit 4 and argued that it represented a normal stratigraphy (Menzel, 1964).

      Benavides (1971) stated that the chronological position of Huarpa based on stylistic similarities to the Nasca ceramics was, however, still a conjecture. His research at Conchopata attempted to provide more evidence about this chronological question using excavated data. The analysis indicated several stylistic similarities between Huarpa ceramics and his Totora Policromo Grueso type. The Totora Polychrome Grueso type contained large, flat based, V-shaped urns with broad black bands and black and white checkerboard-like designs at the rim. Added to these Huarpa-like designs were chevrons, spirals and stylized animal figures, such as frogs. The color red was found on the Huarpa Tri-color sherds as well as the Totora Policromo Grueso sherds. A small Huarpa vessel with a slightly flared rim that had a small protuberance on the inside was found in the Totora Policromo Delgado type. Benavides argued that the Huarpa ceramics were earlier than the Middle Horizon ceramics because of the similarities between Huarpa and Totora Policromo ceramics and the fact that the latter were found underlying strata containing Middle Horizon ceramics.

      Accepting the pre-Middle Horizon dating of the Huarpa culture, Lumbreras provided the most extensive attempt at a chronological seriation of Huarpa pottery. Each of his phases was characterized by a dominant vessel shape. For example, Phase A consisted of Huarpa Fine and Caja ceramic types. Huarpa Fine is characterized by small, open bowls with S-shaped profiles, round bases and occasional body-to-rim handles; rims taper and are often thicker on the exterior. Exterior designs are vertical or horizontal red or black stripes with the interior rim covered with tongue-like bands. A typical design on these bowls is the undulating horizontal black band with a horizontal black band above and below it. Partially modeled human faces on bowls and jars also occur in the Huarpa Fine type. The Caja type has a light orange, fine-grained, compact paste with rarely visible temper particles. Designs are brown lines on an unpigmented surface; typically, an undulating line on the interior of bowls.

      Phase B is characterized by Huarpa B and Kumun Senqa ceramic types which are not as fine as Phase A Huarpa ceramics. Most common in Huarpa B are tall, convex-sided cups with round bases. A distinguishing feature of design is the change in the undulating horizontal black band to a red one. Kumun Senqa, which began in Phase A, is a plain dark red ware limited to ollas and large amphoras having short, thick, everted rims.

      Phase C is represented by Huarpa Black on White and Cruz Pata. Huarpa Black on White continues through Phase D into his earlier phases of the Huari Empire. In Phase C Black decorations are painted over a thick, matte white base and consist of geometric lines, short interior rim bands, vertical and horizontal bands, checkerboard or striped areas. On some examples a purplish-red paint was used for bands and areas. The most common shape is the large, straight walled, V-shaped urn with flat bases. Lumbreras's Cruz Pata ceramic type is also associated with Huarpa A and B phases, but is a dominant ceramic type in Phase C with a tendency for more curvilinear designs executed in black, orange and red on a white slip or black, orange, gray and white on a red slip or all these colors on an unpigmented surface. Other vessel shapes are the S-shaped bowls with a flat base and, more typical, are smaller, tall vessels with lateral strap handles.

      Phase D consists of the Okros A, Cruz Pata and, again, Huarpa Black on White types. Okros A is distinguished by a bright orange slip initially used on the interior surfaces but later used to cover the entire surface. Designs are more surrealistic such as a common two-bodied, bi-colored radial design shaped like an octupus. The Cruz Pata style contains obvious Nazcoid similarities on flat-based bowls, incurving bowls and long-necked, flat-based globular jars (Lumbreras, 1974, pp. 136-137).

      This scheme indicated that some types had an existence that overlapped each other temporally. This overlapping established less clearly cut boundaries between units of seriation, and indicated an observation by Lumbreras of gradual change.

The 1974 Huarpa ceramic collection

      The Huarpa ceramic deposit found in 1974 was located at the west edge of the Huari mesa, approximately 150 m. southwest of the Capilla Pata structure in a clifface cut into by road construction. (Figure 2) The western mesa area slopes downward to the edge of the ravine cut by Rio Pacaicasa. The mesa surface is stabilized by a retaining wall along the northwestern edge to prevent arable soil from completely eroding into the ravine. Road construction removed a section of the wall and exposed the ancient Huarpa refuse deposit. The exposed refuse was collected in two, 3 m. long sections, 'A' and 'B'. The average thickness of each stratum was: 1) stratum 1, 8 cm.; 2) stratum 2, 8-10 cm.; 3) stratum 3, 30-40 cm.; 4) stratum 4, 10-12 cm.; and, 5) stratum 5, 10+ cm. The bottom of stratum 5 was not exposed in the roadcut. A 25 gram piece of carbonized wood was collected from the ashy layer of stratum 3B. The opportunity to make the collection was unexpected, and no formal excavation was permitted. Hence, only an average 10 - 15 cm. thickness of soil from the exposed face of the cut back into the mesa was removed. All materials were transported to Lima, washed, labeled, drawn and recorded. All quantitative attributes were recorded in metric units. Qualitative attributes were distinguished by standardized observations of shape and color.

      The deposit represents the result of prehistoric refuse or dumping behavior for three reasons: 1) there were neither walls nor discernable floors to indicate habitation; 2) the density of ceramic material reflects a once active and relatively close habitation, but all of the material was highly fragmented and mixed to indicate discard of useless vessels; and, 3) 20 -25 m above this slope, the area is level and more likely to have afforded a stable habitation zone.

The carbon age determination

      The carbonized wood was sent to the Geochron Laboratories Division of Krieger Enterprises, Inc. Their standard pretreatment was the following:

      Selected charcoal fragments were cleaned of foreign material, including rootlets or other contaminating material that could be observed. They were then digested in hot dilute HCI and in hot dilute NAOH to remove chemical contaminants prior to combustion and analysis.

      The resulting age determination was based on the Libby half-life of 5570 years for C-14. The age determination, 1665 B. P. had one standard deviation of +/- 120 years. The 5570 year Libby half life is no longer recommended. The new value, 5730 +/- 40 years, was accepted by the Radiocarbon Dating Conference held in Cambridge, England, in 1962 (Dragoo, 1974, p. 22). The B.P. date was converted to the 5730 year half-life by multiplying it by 1.0287. This calculation results in a B. P. date of 1713 +/- 120 years.

      The actual exchange of C-14 with a fluctuating atmosphere pool has produced variability in C14 age determinations. Recent studies combining tree ring analyses and C-14 ages have claimed to remedy this fluctuation problem and have produced correction tables for C-14 ages back to 500 B.C. (Stuiver and Pearson, 1986). The most recent CALIB5.0.2 (Stuiver, Reimer & Reimer) uses a mathematical modeling of the calibrations of C-14 to tree ring analyses for the southern hemisphere.

Radiocarbon Age BP =     1713 +/- 120

% area enclosed     cal AD age ranges    relative area under
                                                            probability distribution

68.3 (1 sigma)    cal AD 255 - 305             0.170
                                   313 - 536            0.830

95.4 (2 sigma)    cal AD 127 - 635         1.000

References for calibration datasets:
Stuiver, M., Reimer, P.J., Bard, E., Beck, J.W., Burr, G.S., Hughen, K.A., Kromer, B., McCormac, F.G., v.d. Plicht, J., and Spurk, M. (1998a) Radiocarbon 40:1041-1083.

Stuiver, M., Reimer, P.J., and Braziunas, T.F. (1998b) Radiocarbon 40:1127-1151. (revised dataset);

Stuiver, M. and Braziunas, T.F. (1993) The Holocene 3:289-305. (original dataset) FG McCormac, AG Hogg, PG Blackwell, CE Buck, TFG Higham, and PJ Reimer (2004) SHCa104 Southern Hemisphere Calibration 0 - 11.0 cal kyr BP. Radiocarbon 46:1087-1092.


      To understand the cultural transition from the Huarpa pattern of scattered settlements to Huari urbanization, ceramic studies provide spatial and temporal indicators of the location and duration of occupation as well as artistic indicators of local and foreign interaction during the process of urbanism.

      The following descriptions are based on the 1974 Huarpa ceramic collection from Huari. Specifically, the descriptions of vessel shapes are based on rim sherds and body sherds from stratum 3 that are associated with the carbon-14 age determination. I refer to this collection as 'early' Huarpa style ceramics. This collection represents refuse of the earliest dated Huarpa occupation at the site of Huari. A description of these ceramics provides an initial reference base for determining later stylistic changes which, in turn, provide evidence of social change. When necessary to describe in more detail any designs, vessel shapes and temporal changes other examples will be used that come from the other strata and other collections. Huarpa pottery includes an inventory of various shapes of bowls, jars, figurines, modeled faces and spoons. The paste color is typically pink to orange indicating oxidation firing methods. The temper is fine, angular and often includes mica. For decoration, refer to the color chart. Before presenting a complete inventory of shape descriptions, I will describe the discovery of a jar shape that was previously and incorrectly described as an urn shape.

      In this early Huarpa collection, there were numerous straight-sided rim sherds painted with black designs on a matte white background; the interiors were also painted with the matte white pigment (Figure 39)(Figure 40-41) (Figure 42-44).These rim sherds have thickened rims and large mouth diameters that indicate they came from large vessels. Similar sherds were used to describe an urn shape with a flat base that was previously proposed to be similar and possibly antecedent to the elaborate ceremonial urns of the Conchopata style (Menzel, 1964, p. 9; Lumbreras, 1974, p. 137). However, there were no fragments of flat bases in the collection. On the other hand, there were five neck sherds from large jars. Below the neck juncture the exterior surfaces are thinly coated with a brown paint. Above the neck, the jars' interior and exterior surfaces are coated with matte white and decorated with black painted designs. The wall area above the neck juncture becomes thinner as it opens outward in a straight line towards the missing rim. The outward angle of the wall above the neck matches the inward angle of the rim sherds. Also, the thin walls above the juncture of the neck sherds match the wall thickness of the lower portions of the rims. Therefore, I believe these rim sherds belong with the neck sherds to form a jar shape (Figure 3) (Figure 4)with an open, conical-shaped, neck-to-lip area. Additional evidence comes from a large fragment of another jar shape with a bulging wall between the neck and lip (Figure 33). This jar displays a black and white design identical to the large, black and white painted rim sherds (i.e., sets of two horizontal, parallel black lines connected at their centers by a black square which are located between a broad, black rim band above and black band below) and the same brown painted exterior surface occurred below the neck. Quite frankly, the blatant lack of any other rim sherds to fit these large neck sherds or base sherds to fit the rim sherds also strongly supports this description that they belong together in a jar shape.

      To complete the reconstruction of this jar shape, I suggest that many of the collection's black and white body sherds were from the area between the lip and neck (Figures 51-54) (Figures 55-59), and that the thick body sherds painted with black and white designs on a brown background were from below the neck juncture (Figures 47-50). The base was probably conical. A conclusion reached on the basis of the presence of numerous thick conical bases that had the same brown painted exterior surfaces. From the reconstruction, one can easily imagine how breakage of such vessels easily occurred at the thin points between the thick and heavy rims, necks and bases. It is not surprising that complete examples did not survive in the refuse. In figures 3 and 4, the neck sherd labeled 'F' or figure 47 is a generalized drawing from all of the neck sherds.


      The 'early' Huarpa ceramic material consists of spoon, spindle whorl, whistle, various bowl and jar shape fragments. Huarpa potters also embellished vessels with flat and circular lugs, modeled anthropomorphic faces and handles.

      Huarpa potters made few, if any, straight-sided bowls. There is one example of a large, straight-sided plain ware bowl with a horizontal handle at the rim. There are some bowls where walls are semi-straight; another large example has a horizontal handle at the rim and one has a modeled face. The bowls with the straightest walls occurred with closed forms. Some tall, vase shaped forms have straight wall profiles. The majority of Huarpa bowls have curved walls; convex-open and, convex-closed forms and the concave, s-shaped open bowls. One of the convex, closed bowls has a vertical handle at the rim.

      In describing the lip treatment, I define the lip as the area between the parallel sides at the top end of the vessel wall. If the wall is not perfectly vertical and, therefore, not at right angles to a perfectly flat, horizontal lip, than the interior or exterior side of a wall meets the lip to form a pointed or beveled edge as viewed in the vessel's profile drawing. The diameters were measured on the interior where the interior side of the wall meets the lip. The rim is defined as the upper 2-3 centimeters of the vessel wall and includes the lip. The rim was often modified by thickening the wall, usually on the exterior side. The wall thickness measurements were taken 2-3 cm. below the lip or at a point to avoid any rim modifications. Thus the following quantitative and qualitative descriptions of rim sherds will include: 1) mouth diameter; 2) wall thickness; 3) thickening or thinning of the rim as compared to the vessel wall's thickness; 4) whether such change, if any, occurs on the exterior or interior side of the vessel wall; and, 5) rounding or flattening of the lip. Such vessel shape attributes define the potter's manufacturing behavior or techniques and may indicate individual or culturally learned skills.

Decorated vessel shapes


      Straight-sided, open bowls (N=9)

      For decoration, refer to the color chart. With one possible exception, the rim profiles range from straight to slightly bent and, therefore, do not appear to conform to a consistently manufactured shape; rather, these few examples may represent the initial attempts by Huarpa potters to create bowls with straight sides (figs. 5-8). Six rim sherds were from smaller examples that had diameters ranging from 15 cm to 18 cm and wall thickness averaging .5 cm. The lips on five of these six are flat and form exterior beveled edges; the sixth is round (figs. 7-8). The seventh rim sherd appears straight in profile due to the application of a modeled face on the exterior (fig. 6). The facial features include modeled chin, ears and nose. The eyes are presented as black lined rectangles with tear lines. Black paint on the white background also covers the ears, forehead or hair area and down the middle of the face covering the nose, mouth and chin. No incisions were made for the nostrils and mouth. The diameter was 21 cm, wall thickness, .5 cm, and the lip is flat forming an exterior beveled edge. Though a modeled face would be expected on a jar rather than a bowl, the unpigmented interior is more common with bowl shapes than jar shapes. The eighth rim sherd has a straight wall profile due to the application of a horizontal strap handle at the rim. The diameter of the bowl was 48 cm and wall thickness, .9 cm and the lip is round with an exterior beveled edge. The ninth rim sherd may represent the large urn shape that some researchers believe existed. It appears to be decorated with the same exterior design as the jars. However, the interior is unpigmented instead of white, and, therefore, this sherd may represent a large bowl. The diameter was 39 cm and the wall thickness is .7 cm The lip is flat and thicker on the exterior side (fig. 5).

      Convex-sided, open bowls (N=3)

      There were only three decorated rim sherds that indicated the possibility that Huarpa potters were developing this shape. Five plain ware rim sherds from large convex-sided, open bowls described below provided more evidence. The three rim sherds placed in this category were somewhat questionable in shape due to their size. One sherd indicated the vessel profile from lip to base, but was so small - a diameter of 8 cm and wall thickness of .4 cm - that it may represent a large spoon fragment. Of the other two, one had the broken remains of an appliqué or handle on the exterior wall that possibly distorted the wall profile and the second rim sherd had an interior and exterior thickening of the rim that may also have distorted the present wall profile. Therefore the last two rim sherds may have come from convex-sided or straight-sided vessels and this vessel shape is questionable for decorated bowls.

      Concave-sided or s-shaped, open bowls (N=38)

      This shape is by far the most distinctive bowl form of Huarpa pottery manufacture (figs. 9-12 and figs. 13-15). The linear distribution of diameter measurements indicates that there are two general categories of size for this bowl shape that are labeled 'small' and 'large'. Of the 34 rim sherds from small bowls, the diameters ranged from 10 cm. to 24 cm. with an average of 16 cm. Of the 4 large rim sherds, the diameters ranged from 27 cm. to 44 cm. with an average of 34 cm. Respectively, the wall thicknesses range from .3 cm. to 1 cm. with an average of .5 cm. for the small bowls, and from .6 cm. to 1 cm. with an average of .8 cm. for the large bowls. Most rims are thicker on the exterior with a rounded lip. Six have a flat lip, slightly thicker on the exterior, creating an exterior beveled edge (fig. 14). One of the large bowls has a horizontal flat strap handle 2 cm. below the lip.

      Straight-sided, closed bowls (N=5)

      There are 5 decorated rim sherds in this category with diameters of 10, 12, 14, 15, and 16 cm. and wall thicknesses from .4 cm. to .5 cm. (figs. 16-17). Only one rim is thicker on the exterior. Four lips are round and one is flat with a small horizontal lug. One rim sherd measures 8 cm. in height without any indication of a curvature inward to the base; therefore, this category may include rather tall bowls or vase-like shapes.

      Convex-sided, closed bowls (N=8)

      There are 8 decorated rim sherds in this shape category (figs. 18-23). One of these vessels had a diameter of 22 cm., a wall thickness .4 cm. and a short, curved wall profile that indicates a rather shallow form. Several of the other seven rim sherds have lengthier curvatures of the walls indicating that these bowls may have had heights of 10 to 12 cm. Of these 7 rim sherds, the diameters ranged from 8 cm. to 24 cm. with an average of 16 cm. and the wall thicknesses are .4 cm. to .9 cm. with an average of .6 cm. Two rims are thicker on the exterior of the lip and have round lips (figs. 18, 21). The third rim sherd is thicker on the exterior and interior with a pointed lip to form beveled edges on both sides. The fourth and fifth rim sherds have flat lips; one is flat on the interior and the other on the exterior, forming beveled edges (figs. 19-20). The sixth and seventh rims sherds have round lips with no rim modifications.

      Concave-sided, tall bowls (N=3)

      This shape is similar to the straight-sided, closed bowl shape but the wall profile indicates that the mouth curved outward at the lip. The wall profile is similar to the s-shaped bowls but the angle of the wall is more vertical and the rim sherds indicate that these vessels were much taller, possibly 10 to 15 cm. high (fig. 24). This shape is very similar to the 'lyre cup' shape that is common In Middle Horizon Huari style pottery (figs. 25-26). Diameters were 11, 13, and 17 cm. and the wall thicknesses are .7, .5, and .5 cm., respectively. All lips are round and two are thicker on the exterior of the rim.


      Short-necked Jars (N=7)

      This category contains a variety of shapes and sizes from what little can be determined based on the rim sherds. The common shape attribute in this category is that the neck juncture is close to the lip. The first three rim sherds have a very slight indication of a neck juncture that was no more than a simple pinching of the rim to give the shape a very short neck at the mouth of the vessel, similar to a modern canning jar (figs. 28-29). These rim sherds may have belonged to incurving bowls as conceptualized by the Huarpa potters, but their slight rim modification suggests that they are the antecedent form to a shape which was more common in Middle Horizon Epoch 1A pottery (see Knobloch, 1983, pl. 3, figs. e-u). One of these three has a more vertical than concave wall profile (fig. 28). The diameters were 8, 13 and 17 cm. and the wall thicknesses are .5 cm. The lips are round. Three rim sherds (figs. 30, 32) have gradual, concave curved necks with diameters that were 8, 9 and 36 cm. and wall thicknesses of .5, .3, and .8 cm., respectively. The lip on one of the smaller vessels is round with no thickening of the wall. The other small vessel and the large vessel have rims thicker on the exterior with flat lips that form exterior beveled edges. The seventh rim sherd has an abrupt, angular neck juncture (fig. 31). The diameter was 6 cm., the wall thickness is .6 cm., and the lip is round.

      Medium-necked jars (N=5)

      The common attribute that distinguishes this shape category is a neck juncture that appears to occur no lower that one-third the distance from the lip to the base. Since three of the five rim sherds did not have remnants of the body below the neck and in two cases lacked the neck juncture, the inclusion of these three rim sherds is based on the similarities of decoration, lip treatment, wall profile and size. One sherd had the rim, neck and most of the body of the jar (fig. 27). The diameter was 16 cm. and wall thickness averaged .5 cm. The rim above the abrupt, angular neck juncture flared outward with a straight-sided wall profile. The lip is slightly thicker and round on the exterior forming an exterior beveled edge.

      The other four rim sherds belong to a vessel shape with a complex wall profile from lip to neck juncture (fig. 33). The neck juncture is abrupt and angular. Without the example in fig. 33 one could easily place the other rim sherds into a bowl shape category (fig. 36). The diameters were 18, 20, 20 and 24 cm. and the wall thickness averaged 1 to 1.2 cm. The lips are thicker on the exterior adding almost .4 cm. to the wall thickness. The lips are more flat than round and form exterior beveled edges. The wall profile from lip to neck is the typical Huarpa s-shaped form. Thus, the Huarpa potters created a large jar shape from a large, ovoid jar body and an s-shaped bowl form on top. As before, I can only assume that these jars had conical bases and lug handles on the bodies due to the presence of such sherds and lack of any thick, flat base sherds.

      Tall-necked jars (N=38)

      The rim sherds in this category are remnants of jars that appear to have neck junctures very low on the body of vessel, perhaps at half the height of the entire vessel. Without complete vessels this description is questionable, but the rim sherds in this category are as high as 17 cm. before there is any indication of a neck juncture. Therefore I feel quite sure that this category is valid.

      There are two shapes in this category: 1) vertical, tall-necked jars (figs. 37-38), and, 2) conical, tall-necked jars (figs. 3). The latter was described above as a proposed reconstructed vessel shape and an alternative to the urn shape that others have assigned to similar rim sherds. The diameters of the 21 vertical, tall-necked jars ranged from 12 cm. to 44 cm. and averaged 23 cm., the wall thicknesses, from .5 to 1.3 cm. and average .7 cm. All rims have concave wall profiles (opening outward to the lip) and were slightly thicker on the exterior. The lips are flat and form exterior beveled edges. The wall profile of the larger sherds indicates that the neck wall varied from straight and vertical to a slightly bulging middle section.

      The diameters of the 14 conical, tall-necked jars ranged from 35 cm. to 50 cm. and averaged 42 cm., the wall thicknesses, from .7 to 1.9 cm. and average 1.1 cm. All rim sherds have straight wall profiles and were all thickened on the exterior, some only slightly and others up to .5 - .6 cm. thicker than the vessel wall. Five rims are slightly thicker on the interior also. Six lips are flat and then slightly round on the edges forming exterior beveled edges. Seven lips are round. The eighth rim sherd has a flat horizontal lip.

      One vessel that fits the conical, tall-necked jar shape is described separately here because of its small size and modeling (fig. 34). The diameter of this jar was 12 cm. and the wall thickness is .4 cm. between the neck and lip the potter pushed a small oval area of the wall neck outward and then modeled a human face on the exterior. The forehead, eye sockets, nose and chin were modeled. Holes were poked into the nose to form nostrils and the mouth was formed by a short horizontal incision; none of which protrude into the interior. The vessel was very gray from weathering or fire clouding and appears to be decorated with black and somewhat reddish, black paint on an unpigmented background.

      There are two rim sherds that belonged to jars either as necks at the top of the vessel or as spouts on the body of the vessel (fig. 35). I prefer the former possibility since jar shapes with narrow straight necks would conform to the present inventory of jar shapes. The diameters were 3 cm. and 5 cm. and the wall thicknesses are .6 cm. and .8 cm., respectively. The rims are thinner than the walls and the lips are round. Both were decorated with black paint on the lip area. One was painted white, the other unpigmented with a white stripe on the exterior.

      Spoons, whistle, lugs and modeled head

      There are 7 fragments of spoons (figs. 60-71). The widths of the handles tapered slightly to the ends. Of the five most complete examples, the bowl diameters are approximately 5 cm. wide, suggesting that a healthy portion of food could be eaten from the spoon. Food preparation implements, such as durable ceramic spoons, provide a rather sophisticated insight into Huarpa eating habits. The presence of numerous bowls and spoons suggests that the Huarpa population practices were similar to modern Andean people in the preparation of soups. I wish to add that in most Asian countries, where chopsticks are often assumed to be their only eating utensil, spoons are also used to transfer soft foods and liquids to babies. The spoons are often simply decorated with thin black lines, sometimes on a white background.

      There were 3 fragments from a whistle (figs. 72-74). Two of these fragments were the mouth pieces of an ocarina style whistle. A complete example is illustrated in Lumbreras (1974, fig. 146). The whistle is decorated with thin, black lines on a white background.

      There are two kinds of lugs, neither of which provide any indication of what part of any vessel form they belonged to or for what, beyond pure decoration, they were used. The flat, ledge style lug fragments both have end sections that indicate that they did not extend completely around any object or vessel (figs. 75-77). Painted in black on white, the larger of the two displays the earliest use of the circled dot motif that was so common on later Huari style pottery and assumed to have been introduced from the Nasca style. The circular lugs appear like pedestal bases, but the edges are painted and unworn (figs. 78-79). Therefore, they were probably located on the body of a vessel. They are decorated with black rim ticking or lines on an unpigmented background.

      A final ceramic item was a large, modeled human head with the neck attached to a thick-walled vessel sherd (fig. 80). The facial features are similar to the modeled face on the jar described previously (fig. 34). Since the entire head protrudes from the vessel wall, the ears, chin and crown of the head were well formed. As with the jar's modeled face, two holes form nostrils and a small incision forms the mouth. The eyes were painted as black squares and tear lines similar to the modeled face on a bowl fragment described previously (fig. 6).

Plain ware

      Plain ware ceramics exhibited unpigmented orange/buff to pink surfaces or dark red to red-brown slipped surfaces both with well oxidized orange to brown paste colors. Huarpa plain ware bowls were rare. As mentioned above, one rim sherd came from a straight-sided open bowl with almost vertical sides having a 38 cm. diameter and a horizontal, flat strap handle at the rim. The lip is flat and the wall thickness averages .7 cm.

      There are five rim sherds from convex-sided, open bowls with diameters from 25 cm. to 42 cm., with round lips and an average wall thickness of .8 cm.

      There are two rim sherds from closed bowls with straight sides. The diameter of one rim sherd is undeterminable with a wall thickness of .6 cm.; the other was 36 cm. in diameter with a wall thickness of .7 cm. The lips are flat.

      There are three rim sherds from convex sided bowls with slightly incurving walls. The diameters were 18, 34 and 45 cm. and the wall thicknesses are .6 cm., .8 cm. and .9 cm., respectively. The lips are round.

      The eleven Huarpa plain ware jars were most likely large storage vessels. (figs. 81-85). They had thick walls, gradually tapering to openings that had abruptly curved neck junctures and short, thick rims. Nine of these jars were covered with a dark red or red-brown pigmented slip. This slip covered both the interior and exterior of the vessel in the 'early' Huarpa style ceramics. On similar jar shapes associated with excavations that date later Huarpa occupation, this slip ended a few centimeters below the rim's interior surface. The tenth vessel appears to have been completely painted black (fig. 82) on the exterior and the eleventh vessel, white (fig.81). The diameters of these vessels ranged from 19 cm. to 48 cm. with an average of 27 cm. Wall thicknesses below the rims range from .8 cm. to 1.4 cm. with an average of 1.0 cm. The lips are thicker on the exterior side and round on the interior side leaving the exterior profile of the vessel with a beveled edge. Due to the large number of thick conical bases and large strap handles with the same exterior slip, I suggest that these large jars had conical bases and large strap handles and, therefore, similar in shape to the body of the large, decorated jar shape that was previously described (figs. 3). Another red slipped, rim sherd indicates that there were similar large storage jars with taller necks. Though there is no neck juncture for this rim sherd I do not believe that it belongs to a bowl shape. The mouth diameter was 28 cm., wall thickness is 1 cm. and the rim is thicker on the exterior and curves outward. The lip is flat and forms an exterior beveled edge.

      Of the remaining plain ware items, there were two undecorated handles from spoons and a flat, disc-shaped spindle whorl.


      For decoration, refer to the color chart. Descriptively, the Huarpa ceramics are decorated with a limited number of design and background colors. The unpigmented surface of the pottery is an orange/buff to pink color. Grey occurs due to weathering or fire clouding of the surface. Pigmented background colors are red-brown, brown and white. The last two were somewhat thinly applied on some surfaces allowing the underlying orange/buff surface to show through. The red-brown pigmented background is thick and opaque. Huarpa designs were almost entirely drawn with black pigment and usually involved the outlining and demarcation of the vessel surface with fine black lines. Once the black outlining was done the area was either left blank or filled in with black designs. There were only three sherds that exhibited red and black painted designs on a white background. Some of the vertical tall-necked jars were decorated from lip to neck with vertical lines of alternating black and red on an unpigmented surface. Most Huarpa designs are simplistic geometric shapes where the artist used a black, mineral-based pigment over a previously painted white-pigmented exterior surface. With rare exceptions, Huarpa potters did not paint designs on the interior of their open bowls (fig. 8).

      Designs in black on white paint were applied to almost all vessel shapes.

      Black paint was applied to unpigmented surfaces on only a few vessel shapes. These shapes include: 1) convex-sided, closed bowls (fig. 22); 2) small, short-necked jars (figs. 30, 32); 3) spoons; 4) bowls with s-shaped profiles; and, 5) vertical, tall-necked jars (figs. 37, 38).

      A brown-pigmented slip was a background color associated with designs painted in black and white. This decorative color combination occurred on a number of body sherds (figs. 47-50) that may have belonged to medium sized jars (fig. 33), and large, conical-necked jars (figs. 3).

      Black and white designs on unpigmented vessel surfaces occurred on bowls with straight sided, closed rims (fig. 16) and convex-sided, closed rims (figs. 19, 20).

      Black and red designs occurred on an unpigmented surface on the same vertical, tall-necked jars mentioned above for black on unpigmented designs (figs. 37, 38).

      Black and red designs on a white background also occurred on a straight-sided, closed bowl (fig. 17) and on a medium-necked jar (fig. 36) and on one body sherd (fig. 45).

      Additional Huarpa ceramics described by Menzel, Lumbreras and Benavides were collected from the surface and excavations at Acuchimay, Ñawim Pukyu and Conchopata and are without C-14 age determinations. Since all of their descriptions of ceramics from these sites include Nasca influenced designs, I suggest that these collections contain many characteristics of a later development in the Huarpa style and contribute further descriptions of 'late' Huarpa style pottery. Such 'late' Huarpa designs described by Menzel are: 1) dark red bands or checks, sometimes outlined with black; 2) black and unoutlined red spirals, circles, wavy lines, cross hatching on a matte white background; 3) black stippling of background and design areas; 4) alternating red and black lines forming zigzag bands on a white background: and, 5) horizontal chevron.

      Menzel's definition of the Huarpa style includes "all local pottery from the area of Ayacucho and Huari assigned to the latter part of the Early Intermediate Period, including pieces reflecting Nasca influence..." (Menzel, 1964, p. 8). In other words, Nasca 7 and 8 phases are assigned to the Early Intermediate Period and, therefore, pottery with Nasca 7 and 8 related designs is assigned to the Huarpa style.

      Menzel stated that Huarpa attributes most similar to Nasca Phase 7 are: 1) polychrome designs on a white slip background; 2) black dots stippling a white background; 3) black spiral designs on white; 4) alternating black and red zigzags on a white background; 5) highland variant of the humped-back animal; 6) three-fillet band with ray appendages; 7) opposing, unoutlined pyramidal step design placed in horizontal bands--in black or red and black; 8) horizontal outlining with red and gray bands outlined in black; and, 9) use of gray pigment.

      Huarpa attributes that are most similar to Nasca Phase 8 style are symmetrical and asymmetrical bicolored ray design figures. According to Menzel, Huarpa attributes that are similar to both Nasca Phase 7 and Phase 8 have local highland peculiarities. These are: 1) an exaggeration of curvilinear features; 2) recurved rays with long, wavy stems; 3) double circle filler elements; 4) narrower, black-outlined bands: 5) narrower outlines: and, 6) irregular execution of designs (Menzel, 1964). The early Huarpa ceramics contained no examples of Nasca Phases 7 and 8 "influenced" attributes except for one rim sherd which may have had the top of an opposing, unoutlined pyramidal step design (see fig. 36).

      Examples of 'late' Huarpa vessel shapes are: 1) incurving bowls with flat horizontal lugs at the rim: 2) tall, narrow bottles consisting of three bowl-shaped tiers separated by constricted waists (Menzel, 1964, p. 9); 3) modeled face on large, oblong, conical-based jars (Lumbreras, 1974, fig. 144); 4) small collared jars with two vertical strap handles from rim edge to body (Lumbreras, 1974, fig. 145, second vessel); and, 5) small jars with two horizontal strap handles on the jar's body (Lumbreras, 1974, fig. 149). Other attributes of the late Huarpa style are some smaller, open vessel shapes and design features that Menzel (1964, pp. 9-10) suggested "resemble" or "are closely related" to the shapes and designs of Nasca Phases 7 and 8.

      Mario Benavides' (1971) numerous illustrations of rim profiles and designs add further shape and design variation to the 'late' Huarpa pottery style described so far. These examples include thick rimmed, closed forms with several designs: 1) black rim band and black-on-white vertical stripes (IBID, 1971, Lam. 2a); 2) the same rim band that did not extend around the entire rim (IBID, Lam. 2c); and, 3) a column of black dots painted between black vertical lines (IBID, Lam 3d). Other designs illustrated by Benavides (1971, Lams. 2 through 9) include: 1) black-on-white diamond shapes either pendent to rim bands or in white square areas; 2) black-on-white filler dots and diagonal, double lines; 3) black-on-white crosshatching; 4) black and red crosshatching on white; 5) interlocking pendant triangles; 6) black circled dots in white square areas bounded by red bands outlined in black; 7) black outlined checkerboard-like designs with red and white checks: and, 8) modeled faces and figures with black facial markings of horizontal lines on the cheeks. His illustrations represent innovations and increased variety of designs by the Huarpa potters.


      With the acceptance of a pre-Huari date, Huarpa ceramics have been described by several authors in their attempts to improve upon earlier analyses and speculations about Huarpa culture.

      González Carré (1967) analyzed 5,425 sherds from Kumunsenqa, Ñawim Pukyu and Chupas. His seriation of various types was temporally organized under a developmental scheme suggested by Lumbreras. This scheme comprised three temporally consecutive stages: 1) 'initial' or the transitional stage in which the first appearance of a new regional culture occurred. Archaeologically, this stage was represented by the similarities between the Early Horizon Rancha type ceramics and Huarpa ceramics. The plain wares of white, brown, tan and gray slip sherds belonged in this stage; 2) 'typical' or the climax stage, when the pottery had acquired a distinct uniqueness from the earlier types (González Carré, 1967). Archaeologically, this stage was represented solely by Huarpa style pottery with black and white designs, red pigmented slips and simple red with black painted designs; and, 3) 'decadent' or the declining stage in which the Huarpa style was being replaced by the next style. Archaeologically, this stage was represented by the appearance of Nasca and Tiahuanaco stylistic decoration on local pottery. Here, González Carré placed the polychrome ceramics from Conchopata, which were labeled Huarpa Tricolor, and tricolor (i.e., black, red and white) on unpigmented sherds.

      González Carré formulated this typology to characterize what he believed was the development and decline of the Huarpa culture. He first established ceramic types based on formal attributes. In his analysis, these attributes emphasized slip color and design elements. He then provided a more detailed attribute definition for each type. The resulting developmental scheme was based on an implicit evolutionary model that asserted a non-variable, unilinear development. Such evolutionary models have been strongly criticized as too simplistic. Cultural change is a complex process comprising numerous variations in development and decline of social productivity. The large units of analysis which González Carré labeled 'stages' present very simplistic distinctions. Though on a very generalized scale of change, González Carré made the first attempt to operationalize a theoretical model to depict the Huarpa culture (González Carré, 1967).

      Lumbreras (1974) also assigned the name, Huarpa, to a regional culture in the Ayacucho-Huanta basin. He suggested that the impetus toward creating a complex social and political society in this area began when Huarpa leaders established an early, regional state-like government. Is there evidence that the local Huarpa population had established social stability and political centralization within the Ayacucho area, or neighboring regions?

      Archaeological surveys revealed an extensive Huarpa settlement pattern with approximately 300 Huarpa sites “located between 2600 meters and 3600 meters elevation in rocky areas incorporating the outcrops into the walls of their houses”(Lumbreras 1974, p. 134). Lumbreras argued that all of these sites were rural habitations exhibiting nontransient or sedentary adaptation. He believes that Ñawim Pukyu, (also spelled Ñawimpukyu, Ñawinpukyo, Ñahuimpukio, and Ñawim puquio) located a few kilometers southeast of Ayacucho, represented a Huarpa city. Besides its strategic hillside location, and unlike other rural sites that contain elliptical or irregular shaped houses, Lumbreras noted three sectors of buildings at Ñawim Pukyu. The walls of these buildings were as carefully constructed as the best constructed terrace walls. The central group had platforms of a ceremonial nature. The other two, lateral groups had administrative buildings with patios, granneries and large plazas surrounded by residential buildings. “Planning is implied by the orderly arrangement and by the existence of canals for distribution of water throughout the town”(Lumbreras, 1974, p.134). It can reasonably be assumed that labor was supplied through community-based projects.

      Lumbreras also described the extensive and impressive Huarpa terracing of the very arid land in the Ayacucho-Huanta basin. At Lagunillas, a hillside site west of Huari, the terracing and lack of irrigation suggests seasonal cultivation during the rainy season. At other locations, Quicapata and Raqay Pampa, south of the city of Ayacucho, canals and reservoirs were excavated. At Chupas, a Huarpa burial demonstrated the use of flexed burial arrangement (Lumbreras, 1974, fig. 149). Flexed burials are diagnostic indicators of Huari socio-political presence at coastal sites, such as Ancon, during the Middle Horizon. Lumbreras’s conclusions have been critically commented on by Benavides. Benavides contends that numerous walls or structures that Lumbreras suggests are Huarpa are not clearly associated with the Huarpa time period. However, additional Huarpa occupational descriptions were provided by the 1977 survey for the Huari Urban Prehistory Project (HUPP), directed by William H. Isbell. Another extensive Huarpa occupation was located at the southwestern end of the Huari site on an arm of the mesa named Vista Alegre. This area was densely covered with Huarpa style ceramics and very few Huari period sherds. Though William P. Mitchell states that irrigation did not extend to Huari in 1973-74 due to insufficient water (Mitchell, 1976, p. 40), farmers at Vista Alegre were receiving channeled water through ditches from Quinua during July, 1977. Thus, access to water from the Quinua area would have been possible and essential to those intensively occupying the Huari mesa in prehistoric times. As Mitchell (1976, p. 40) stated:

      ... The city would thus occupy a minor agricultural area, but would be strategically placed between two important productive zones: the lower montane savannah and the alluvial valley. Both areas, relieved of population pressures, could be devoted entirely to agriculture with small-scale irrigation, and could supply the city with its agricultural produce. The city itself would thus only require an aqueduct for domestic water, rather than large-scale irrigation for agriculture.

      Just as channels and ditches are evidence of irrigation in open field areas, their presence in architecturally dense areas indicates the maintenance of a water supply and possible sewage disposal system. A small, stone lined channel was found at the bottom of a 2 m. by 2 m. square excavation made in 1977 at the site of Huari and associated with the corner of a Huarpa building with straight stone walls and several hard packed floor layers. This channel, floors and walls indicate a stable and durable Huarpa house site.

      Benavides pursued another line of evidence for a Huarpa cultural stability and socio-ethnic identity by studying figurines peculiar to the Huarpa style. Various fragments of these human figurines were polychrome painted--Huarpa tricolor--and showed peculiar ethnic characteristics that differentiated them from earlier or later figurines (Benavides, 1971, p. 65).

      Thus, the evidence indicates an Early Intermediate Period population exhibiting socio-cultural unity in their common art style depicted on pottery, a broad-based settlement pattern with confirmable evidence of stable occupation and at least two extensive areas of occupation on the Huari mesa and at Ñawim Pukyu.


      Lumbreras, Benavides and Menzel (1964, pp. 8-10) defined the Huarpa style as including examples of some Nasca influenced decoration. For example, all phases of Lumbreras's (1974, pp. 136-138) chronological seriation of the Huarpa style contained the Nasca-like ceramics of his Cruz Pata type. The Cruz Pata pottery is "associated" with his earlier Huarpa phases and, then, is "dominant" during his later Huarpa phases. With Menzel's definition of the Huarpa style, there are examples of Nasca 7 and 8 resemblances that included essentially the same sherds as Lumbreras's (1974, fig. 147) Cruz Pata and Benavides' (1963, Lam. IV, figs. 143, 164; and, Lam. IX, figs. Z-1 through Z-4) Cruz Pata (see Menzel, 1964, footnote 30 which refers to Bennett, 1953, fig. 18e, and Menzel, 1964, footnote 31 which refers to Bennett, 1953, fig. 17h for Acuchimay sherds of the Cruz Pata type). Therefore, I argue that due to the lack of Nasca 7 and 8 similarities and the early C-14 date, 260 +/- 120 A.D., the 'early' Huarpa ceramics represent a phase that was contemporary with earlier Nasca phases, possibly 5 and 6. The possibility however exists that the fourth century Huarpa collection was too small to have had any evidence of foreign interaction. Nasca-influenced Huarpa ceramics occur at low frequencies in general. I do not believe this possibility is likely because the early Huarpa collection contains examples of vessel shapes and design elements not mentioned by Lumbreras, Menzel or Benavides and is, therefore, representative of Huarpa ceramic manufacture at a different time. This evidence means that the Huari area was occupied long before any evidence of foreign interaction with the south coast.

      This evidence also suggests Huarpa culture developed first in the Huari mesa area and then spread south. Evidence from Churukana, Vista Alegre, Ñawim Pukyu, Conchopata and Acuchimay also suggests this settlement pattern. Churukana--labeled AY2-19 at the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum--is located 2000 m. east of the Huari architectural core on a hillside near the modern fork in the road from Quinua to Chacco Chacco via Huari or Moruncanchi. Menzel (1964, p. 5) described this large habitation as a location at which the Huarpa style is isolated. Surprisingly, both Churukana and Vista Alegre lack any significant amounts of Cruz Pata or Nasca style ceramics.

      Sherds from Churukana include ceramics collected from the surface by John Rowe, housed at the Hearst Museum. Also a collection excavated in 1979 by Lynda Spickard labeled Eb4-2-213 was briefly examined. Based on these two collections there are only eight examples (or 2%) of possible Cruz Pata or Nasca style attributes out of approximately 400 sherds. Examples include: 1) two sherds with thin black lines outlined with thin white lines on a red pigmented surface and a black-on-white crosshatched area on one sherd (all three from the Eb4-2-213 unit); 2) one sherd with thin white lines outlined in black on a reddish-orange background; 3) a sherd with a purplish-red zigzag band outlined in black on a white background with no rim band: 4) one sherd with a black-on-white spiral; 5) one sherd with an opposing, unoutlined pyramid design; and, (6) one sherd with alternating black and red zigzags on white. The last five examples are from the Hearst museum.

      Also, there is a general dearth of Middle Horizon pottery in these areas. This circumstance is curious considering the close proximity of these areas to the Huari urban core. Several hypotheses might explain the lack of Huari ceramics at Vista Alegre and Churukana. First, surface layers that contained Huari sherds eroded away. These areas are slightly inclined and are exposed to heavy rains, and there are few visible walls to stabilize eroding soil. Second, the areas peripheral to the urban core of the Huari site were occupied by distinct subgroups of the Huari population that retained their Early Intermediate Period ceramic traditions during the Middle Horizon. Third, the Churukana and Vista Alegre areas were used for cultivation rather than occupation during the Middle Horizon. The Vista Alegre collection includes two Chakipampa sherds out of 684 fragments from the surface. One was from an open bowl with a chevron band at the rim; the other was from a closed vessel with a possible Acuchimay polychrome zigzag design. In the Hearst Museum's Churukana collection, there are two examples of Chakipampa pottery similar to those found at Vista Alegre. One sherd has chevrons drawn with single lines of alternating colors at the rim and a second sherd has another possible Acuchimay zigzag. There is one Middle Horizon sherd in the excavated materials at belonged to a regular size Robles Moqo vessel of Middle Horizon 1 or a Viñaque vessel of Middle Horizon 2. The presence of this sherd could represent mixture with later surface deposition. This unit was composed of several intrusive deposits and was disturbed by roots.

      Innovations in the Huarpa style found at Vista Alegre and Churukana that were not of Nasca origin were: 1) the use of an orange background on which black Huarpa geometric designs were drawn; 2) black-on-white pendent rectangle areas; 3) lugs on the exteriors of bowls near the rim; 3) extended flanged rims; and, 4) simplification of horizontal design bands near the rim.

      Since the Vista Alegre and Churukana collections have so few ceramic examples of the Nasca style, I make the assumption that these areas were occupied after the 'early' Huarpa area of the Huari mesa and before the Ayacucho area sites of Acuchimay, Ñawim Pukyu and Conchopata that produced more definite Nasca influenced Huarpa style pottery. These areas that lack Nasca influenced ceramics indicate a long and stable occupation of the Huari mesa area by Huarpa populations before the beginning of Middle Horizon Epoch 1. The fact that these sites are next to the Huari urban area further supports the possibility that Huarpa populations settled at Huari earlier than at the Ayacucho area sites of Acuchimay, Conchopata and Ñawim Pukyu.

      To summarize, this settlement pattern proposed for known Huarpa occupation contains three phases. The first phase is represented by the 1974 Huarpa ceramic collection from the northwest corner of the Huari mesa. The second phase is represented by the southern settlement of the Huari mesa at Vista Alegre and Churukana. The third phase is represented by movement to the east and south of phase 1 occupation at Huari (e.g., the Eb4-2-200 unit from HUPP 1977 excavations, strata 30 to 39; and Bennett's (1953) pit 4, stratum c) and broader expansion south to Ñawim Pukyu, Conchopata, Acuchimay. These phases are preliminary and could be separated by significant time gaps. Suffice it to say that 'early', 'middle' and 'late' Huarpa assemblages or occupations can be recognized. Analysis of the 1977 HUPP excavation indicates that stylistic change from the Huarpa to early Huari style ceramics was gradual (Knobloch 1983). Thus, the presence of the 'early', 'middle' and 'late' Huarpa occupations at Huari implies an indigenous population which developed their own unique culture, then allowed outside contact and fostered social exchange that contributed to the development of the Huari culture.

      The early Huarpa collection also affects Lumbreras's seriation. Included in the collection are many examples of the vessel shapes in Lumbreras's first three phases. Because the 'early' Huarpa collection pre-dates his seriation, it should include shapes that are specifically similar to his Phase A Huarpa ceramics. Furthermore, the proportion of these different vessel shapes in the fourth century phase should be similar to Lumbreras's findings that certain shapes such as the s-shaped bowl were more common in his earliest phase.

      The s-shaped bowl is the same as the small, concave-sided open bowls in figures 9-15. The Kumun Senqa ollas are the same as the plain ware jars with red to red-brown slip. His urns are the newly introduced, reconstructed jar shape in figure 3. A total of fifty-seven rim sherds in the 'early' Huarpa collection were classified into the above three categories of Lumbreras's vessel shapes. The resulting proportions were: (1) thirty-four or 60% were s-shaped bowls; (2) nine or 16% were the red ollas or jars; and, (3) fourteen or 24% were his urns or my reconstructed jars. As would be expected prior to Lumbreras's Phase A, the s-shaped bowls were the dominant shape, 60%. However, his Phase C urns were in greater proportion, 24%, than his Phase B ollas, 16%. These proportions do not support his seriation that the urns were dominant in Phase C after the red-slipped ollas were dominant in Phase B.

      The data presented above provides new evidence that the Huarpa style pottery was produced by a population occupying the Huari site previous to the Middle Horizon expansion of a Huari-base polity. It furnishes the first absolute date for this style. Unfortunately, this ceramic collection lacks the quantity necessary to suitably answer behavioral problems or questions about the population. Therefore, I can only offer a few speculations about the early Huarpa culture:

1. The lack of polychrome pottery would suggest little or no interaction between this area's population and the coastal Nazca populations of EIP Epochs 5 and 6 or other highland populations as would occur later in EIP Epochs 7 and 8.

2. The numerous large jars may have provided vital storage needs thereby indicating a need for a consumption balancing strategy of annual food and/or water supplies.

3. Earliest occupation appears to have occurred in the Huari mesa area and later occurred in both Huari and the Ayacucho areas.

4. Of the s-shaped, convex-sided bowls, there were twelve examples with the same design of three horizontal black bands below the rim band in which the middle band was a wavy zigzag (fig. 9). The diameters ranged from 14 to 21 cm., averaging 18 cm. with rounded lips that were thicker on the exterior. Assuming these bowls are a representative sample, the quantity and consistency of form and design of these s-shaped bowls suggests specialization in pottery manufacture at a community level rather than individualized household production.

5. The presence of Nasca style design attributes in 'late' Huarpa collections indicates that pan-Andean social exchange with the south coast Nasca population led the population of the Ayacucho-Huanta Basin into a complex social development.

      The importance of such speculations as possible research problems is more fully realized when consideration is given to the fact that this area became such an important center of development with wide scale impact on most neighboring areas during the Middle Horizon. The population associated with the Huarpa style underwent significant social, economic and political changes of importance to understanding urban or possibly state developmental processes and, more importantly, whether or not the Ayacucho Valley area during the Early Intermediate Period represents one of the few cases in the world of pristine urban and state development.


Benavides C., Mario
1971 Analisis de la ceramica Huarpa. Revista del Museo Nacional, torno XXXVII, pp. 63- 88. Lima.
1963 Estudio de la cerAmica decorada de Qonchopata. Unpublished Bachelor's thesis in Anthropological Sciences, Universidad Nacional de San Cristobal de Huamanga. Ayacucho, Peru.

Bennett, Wendell C.
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