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Ideology, Materialization, and Power Strategies

Author(s): Elizabeth DeMarrais, Luis Jaime Castillo and Timothy Earle

Source: Current Anthropology, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Feb., 1996), pp. 15-31
Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of Wenner-Gren Foundation for
Anthropological Research
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CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 37, Number i, February I996
? I996 by The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. All rights reserved OOII-3204/96/37oI-0003$4.50

LUIS JAIME CASTILLO is Associate Professor at the Pontificia

Universidad Cat6lica del Peru. He was born in I963 and received
his B.A. from the Pontificia Universidad Cat6lica del Peru (i987)
and his M.A. (i99i) from the University of California, Los
Angeles, where he is a doctoral candidate. His publications in-

Ideology, clude Personajes miticos, escenas y narraciones en la iconografia

mochica (Lima: Fondo Editorial de la PUCP, i989) and (with
C. B. Donnan) "La ocupacion moche en San Jos6 de Moro,

Materialization, and
Jequetepeque," in Moche: Propuestas y perspectivas, edited by
S. Uceda and E. Mujica (Lima: Universidad Nacional de la Liber-
tad, I994), and "Las Mochicas del norte y las Mochicas del sur,"

Power Strategies'
in Vicos (Lima: Banco de Cr6dito del Peru, I994).
TIMOTHY EARLE iS Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern
University. Born in I946, he was educated at Harvard University
(B.A., i969) and the University of Michigan (Ph.D., I973). His re-
search interests are prehistoric economies, the evolution of com-
by Elizabeth DeMarrais, plex societies, and political economies. He has published (with
Jon Ericson) Exchange Systems in Prehistory (New York: Aca-
Luis Jaime Castillo, demic Press, I977), (with Allen Johnson) The Evolution of Hu-
man Societies (Stanford: Stanford University Press, i987), and

and Timothy Earle Chiefdoms: Power, Economy, and Ideology (Cambridge: Cam-
bridge University Press, 199I).

The present paper was submitted 25 IX 94 and accepted 3 II 95;

the final version reached the Editor's office I7 Iv 95.

Ideology, as part of culture, is an integral component of human

interactions and the power strategies that configure sociopolitical
systems. We argue that ideology is materialized, or given con-
crete form, in order to be a part of the human culture that is
broadly shared by members of a society. This process of material- Archaeologists representing both the processual and the
ization makes it possible to control, manipulate, and extend ide- postprocessual perspective have recently been examin-
ology beyond the local group. Ideology becomes an important ing ideology and its role in the development of complex
source of social power when it can be given material form and
controlled by a dominant group. We illustrate this process using
societies (Cowgill I993, Conrad and Demarest I984, De-
three archaeological case studies: Neolithic and Bronze Age chief- marest and Conrad i992, Earle iggia, Hodder i982b,
doms of Denmark, the Moche states of northern Peru, and the Miller and Tilley I984, Renfrew and Zubrow I994). The
Inka empire of the Andes. positions taken in these essays have been as diverse as
the theoretical backgrounds of their authors, but their
ELIZABETH DE MARRAIS is a doctoral candidate in the anthropol- approaches to ideology generally can be characterized in
ogy department of the University of California, Los Angeles (Los several basic ways. For some ideology is epiphenomenal,
Angeles, Calif. 90095, U.S.A.). Born in I964, she received her
B.A. from Brown University in I986 and her M.A. from UCLA in
determined by the organization of production within a
I989. She is field director of an archaeological survey project in society. Others view ideology and often its specific con-
the Calchaqui Valley, Argentina, and has published "The Archi- tent as an active element that influences sociopolitical
tecture and Organization of Xauxa Settlements," in Empire and institutions and economic organization but find the ex-
Domestic Economy, edited by T. D'Altroy and C. Hastorf (Wash-
planation of this process problematic. Finally, for some
ington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, in press).
ideology is the expression of the inner self, multiplying
the potential number of ideologies infinitely.
i. The ideas presented in this paper have grown out of a lengthy We approach ideology differently, recognizing it as a
discussion among the three authors. The cases that constitute the
central element of a cultural system. The direction we
body of the article were written by Earle (Thy, Denmark), Castillo
(Moche, Peru), and DeMarrais (Inka, Andes). The full text has been pursue here is to understand ideology as a source of so-
read and revised by us collaboratively. Funding for the research on cial power. Social power is the capacity to control and
which the cases are based includes the following: for Thy, Den- manage the labor and activities of a group to gain access
mark, the National Science Foundation (DBS 9207082, DBS
to the benefits of social action. Mann (i986) has identi-
9ii692i) and the Academic Senate, UCLA; for the San Jos6 de
fied four sources of power: economic, political, military,
Moro Project, Peru, the John B. Heinz Charitable Trust, the UCLA
Friends of Archaeology, and the UCLA Academic Senate; for the and ideological. Throughout history, rulers and chiefs
Proyecto Arqueol6gico Calchaqui, Argentina, the National Science have combined these sources of power in distinct ways
Foundation (BNS-88-o547I and Dissertation Improvement Grant to achieve specific goals. The choice of one strategy over
93i2006), the Fulbright Commission, the UCLA Friends of Archae-
another has profound implications for social evolution
ology, and the UCLA Latin American Center. An earlier version
of this paper was presented at the first biennial meeting of the (Earle I987, n.d.; Johnson and Earle I987). Such choices
Complex Society Group, October 23, I993, at Arizona State Univer- reflect the historical circumstances and the objectives
sity. We would like especially to thank Liz Brumfiel, Cathy Costin,
of groups (Brumfiel i992) and differ markedly in cost,
George Cowgill, Terry D'Altroy, Deborah Erdman, Antonio Gil- effectiveness, and sustainability.
man, Susan Phillips, Kate Spielmann, and John Steinberg, as well
as the anonymous referees, who read and commented thoughtfully
In some instances, power depends heavily on coer-
on an earlier draft. We thank Patty Rechtman for her editorial cion; Carneiro (I967, i98i) and Webster (i985) have
assistance on the original draft. identified circumstances under which military might is


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i6,| CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 37, Number i, February I996

an immediate means to extend political dominance. Ef- between ideologies of domination and resistance (Miller,
fective in the short run, especially where control over Rowlands, and Tilley I989; McGuire i992), we view the
the means of destruction is possible (Goody I971), war- process of materialization as an ongoing arena for com-
fare is nevertheless a costly and unstable way of organiz- petition, control of meaning, and the negotiation of
ing power relationships. Others (Brumfiel and Earle power relationships.
I 987, Earle I 99 I a, Gilman I 98 I) have argued for the
ultimate precedence of economic control, where land
tenure systems and property rights permit direct control Culture, Ideology, and Their Materialization
over production and exchange. However, economic con-
trol is problematic except in such circumstances as the Materialization is the transformation of ideas, values,
development of irrigation systems, within which an stories, myths, and the like, into a physical reality-a
agrarian population can be "caged" (Mann i986), or in an ceremonial event, a symbolic object, a monument, or a
insular setting in which control of the seaways provides writing system.2 If we think of culture as norms and
similar opportunities for elites to limit access to goods values held in people's heads, it is difficult to understand
and resources. how culture could be broadly shared at all. Human soci-
In still other cases, the strategic control of ideology eties are inherently fragmented, representing many
contributes to the centralization and consolidation of voices that reflect differences of age, sex, occupation,
political power. In this article, we evaluate the relative locality, class, and individuality (Keesing i985). Each
cost and effectiveness of strategies that emphasize ideol- human being, influenced by experience, has an individu-
ogy and examine how ideology is linked to other sources alized reality. To exist outside of an individual's mind,
of power. As archaeologists, we see a tremendous limita- culture is created in daily practice (Bourdieu I977, Gid-
tion in approaches that view ideology solely as ideas dens i984). Creating material representation is a central
and beliefs that are rarely preserved in the archaeologicalpart of this process. Small groups, living closely together
record. We believe that ideology is as much the material as in an extended family, might have the intimacy and
means to communicate and manipulate ideas as it is the communication to share, to some degree, a particular
ideas themselves. Ideology has, therefore, both a mate- understanding of the world. Beyond the family group,
rial and a symbolic component. Because symbols are however, values and norms are materialized to be shared
material objects, their distributions and associations, more broadly. The forms of this materialization range
preserved in the archaeological record, reflect broader from storytelling and other performances through the
patterns of social, political, and economic activity. making of symbols and the construction of mounds and
These patterns inform archaeologists about unequal ac- pyramids to writing in all its forms.
cess to symbols of status or authority, the efforts of one In speaking of materialization we emphasize the on-
social segment to promote its ideology over others, and going process of creation and do not assume the primacy
the effects of these strategic activities on the dynamics of ideas. In fact, ideas and norms are encapsulated as
of social power. much in their practice and in the conditions of daily life
Symbols, including icons, rituals, monuments, and as in individuals' minds. To materialize culture is to
written texts, all convey and transmit information and participate in the active, ongoing process of creating and
meaning to their viewers. These symbolic messages or negotiating meaning. Because ideology is part of culture,
meanings may prove difficult for archaeologists to re-materialization of ideology is a similar process, usually
construct. Here we focus on ideology as a source of so- undertaken by dominant social segments. Its goal is to
cial power. What gives primacy to one ideology over an- facilitate shared experiences of political culture such as
other? How can an ideology supporting domination be those described by Kus (i989). Materialized ideology
sustained in the presence of an ideology of resistance? molds individual beliefs for collective social action. It
The answer, we argue, is grounded in the process by organizes and gives meaning to the external world
which these ideologies are given concrete, physical through the tangible, shared forms of ceremonies, sym-
form. This process is the materialization of ideology. bols, monumental architecture, and writing. Material-
We argue that ideology is materialized in the form of ization of ideology is at the same time a strategic process
ceremonies, symbolic objects, monuments, and writing in which leaders allocate resources to strengthen and
legitimate institutions of elite control. Thus the charac-
systems to become an effective source of power. Materi-
alized ideology can achieve the status of shared values
and beliefs. Materialization makes it possible to extend 2. Materialization is distinct from the concept of objectification
an ideology beyond the local group and to communicate articulated by Marx (i844). For Marx, the objectification of labor
was the worker's input of labor to create the material product.
the power of a central authority to a broader population.Under the capitalist system, this objectification of labor alienated
We examine this process and, in three case studies, con-the worker from the products of his or her labor (see also McGuire
sider its effects on political power and institutions, the i992:1io2-6). In choosing the term materialization we stress the
political economy, and the dynamics of organizational evolutionary process through which the world is organized and
change. Given the scope of our discussion here, we will given meaning by social action to create material objects oriented
toward specific goals. In our view, this process has ongoing effects,
not address the ways in which our ideas apply to the both positive and negative, at all levels of social organization, af-
study of less complex societies. In addition, although we fecting the members of a society in different ways at different times
are omitting a lengthy consideration of the relationships throughout a historical sequence.

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BLANTON ET AL. Agency, Ideology, and Power I I7

ter of political power and ideology and their ties to the Means and Forms of Materialization
economy will be reflected by the specific means and
forms of materialization employed. The means of materialization of ideology-ceremonial
While archaeologists may be ill-equipped to study spe- events, symbolic objects, public monuments, and writ-
cific thought processes without undertaking the daunt- ing systems-take innumerable forms (a speech, for ex-
ing task of creating a "middle-range theory" of the mind ample, is one form of ceremonial event). Broadly, these
(Cowgill I993 ), we can examine how the materialization means and forms differ in terms of the audiences to
of ideology creates a shared political culture over time. which they can be directed and the ways in which they
We can study the investment itself (what was done with can be produced and manipulated. The selection of a
the available social capital) and its outcome (the ways particular means and form can therefore profoundly af-
in which the investment affected the stability and sub- fect the ideology's effectiveness as a source of social
sequent history of a society). Since the ideas and pre- power. Ceremonies, for example, integrate and define
cepts of an ideology are made physical in order to be large groups. Many symbolic objects are transportable
promulgated over a broad region and through time, the and can be given as rewards to individuals or viewed as
archaeologist comes into contact with the same materi- emblems of social status or political office. Monumental
als created to mold the minds of peasants and subjugated architecture is a means of communicating on a grand
populations. Different groups may promote competing scale; central places arise not only to house the activi-
ideologies through materialization, and over time the ties of political life but also to serve as the symbolic
economic consequences of this activity, as well as vary- focus of a polity. By examining the means and forms of
ing success in institutionalizing the ideology and over- materialization we can begin to reconstruct the strategies
coming dissent, may enable one social segment to con- through which ideologies were generated. Because the
solidate its position. Thus, viewing the materialization impact of each of these means is distinct and because
of ideology as an economic process makes it possible to each requires particular raw materials, labor input, orga-
see how social power derives from these strategic nization, and skills, the adoption of a particular means
choices and how they may contribute to organizational depends upon a leader's capabilities and resources. Simi-
change. larly, the economic infrastructure will influence the re-
The materialization of ideology confers social power sources that can be allocated to materialization. In more
in two basic senses. First, an elite with the resources to complex societies, a wider range of resources and labor
extend its ideology through materialization promotes its can be devoted to this process, with the result that ideol-
objectives and legitimacy at the expense of competing ogies are materialized using diverse means and forms
groups who lack those resources. Because elements of in order to accomplish the integration of a large and
materialized ideology have the characteristics of other widespread populace.
manufactured goods while retaining their symbolic
character, we can understand how control of the econ-
omy or of labor extends to control of ideology. The costs
of hosting a feast, constructing a monument, or manu- Events create shared experiences for members of an au-
facturing paraphernalia and costumes for events ground dience through participation in rituals or feasts or atten-
ideology in the economy. An ideology rooted in a mate- dance at speeches or performances. Because of their im-
rial medium can be controlled in much the same way mediacy, rituals and events are especially powerful
that other utilitarian and wealth goods may be owned, means for negotiating power relationships at all levels,
restricted, and transferred through the institutions of po- from the status competitions of local chiefs to the encul-
litical economy. turation of newly conquered populations within an em-
Second, materialization makes ideology a significant pire. Although examples of unstructured ceremonial
element of political strategy. Because ideas and meaning events exist, for most of them form, participation, and
are difficult to control, it is impossible to prevent indi- sequence are strictly prescribed (Geertz I973, i980). In
viduals who oppose the dominant group from generating many societies, ceremonies are repetitive, precisely
their own ideas about the world and then attempting to timed to mark agricultural or ritual cycles. They may be
convince others of their validity. The manipulation of organized around a mythical narrative that is reproduced
meaning can be as much a means to resist as to legiti- and made real again during each performance. Among
mate authority (McGuire i992, McGuire and Paynter the farmers of the Funnel Beaker culture in Thy, Den-
I99I, Miller i982, Miller, Rowlands, and Tilley i989). mark, ceremonial events apparently emphasized corpo-
However, an ideology composed solely of elements rate group identity through communal burial rituals
freely accessible to the populace has little efficacy as an that emphasized ancestral ties to the land. Because
instrument of power; it may easily be copied, and its events are by nature transitory, shared experience and
capacity to restructure power relationships or to effect group solidarity begin to fade when they have ended
organizational change will therefore be limited. Materi- (Leach I954), and long-term effectiveness therefore de-
alization makes it possible, through the production and pends upon repetition.
transmission of ideas, traditions, and meanings, to es- Many ceremonies involve the consumption of staple
tablish and reinforce the legitimacy and rights of the goods and the use of icons or other symbolic parapherna-
group that controls their material forms. lia for their staging. Consequently, resources invested

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i8 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 37, Number i, February I996

in events generally are not capital investments. In con- of performance with the visual impact of often familiar
trast to monument construction and, in some cases, the objects and icons to communicate directly with a large
manufacture of symbolic goods, events require continu- audience. The use of these interdependent means of ma-
ing investment of resources. In ranked societies, compe- terialization strengthens the overall message and creates
tition for prestige and power often takes the form of a vivid experience of the ideology.
feasting (Rosman and Rubel I971). Chiefs may regularly Because symbolic objects can also be owned, inher-
host feasts to demonstrate their capacity to marshal ited, and transferred, they are ideal signifiers of individ-
quantities of food beyond the reach of others (Barnes ual social position and political power. In burials, grave
I988). Such ongoing hospitality may lead to dependency goods accomplish this function even beyond death. As
and encourage loyalty among those who come to rely materialized ideology, symbolic objects, like wealth
upon it to help meet their daily subsistence needs (Barth goods, may be restricted in circulation and highly val-
i965). At the state level, the costs of sponsoring a large- ued. However, these symbolic objects take a wide range
scale feast or ceremony surpass the resources of a single of forms. Some, like wealth goods (D'Altroy and Earle
individual. The vast storage facilities of the Inka empire i985), are made of exotic or rare raw materials, prized
are testimony to the enormous cost to the state of under- for their commercial value as well as for their meaning.
writing its frequent feasts (D'Altroy and Earle I985, Many also carry direct messages about social position
LeVine i992, Morris I967). and identity (Wobst I977). To maintain the value and
State events may clearly demonstrate the asymmetry exclusive associations of these objects, elites may limit
of power relationships. The ruling elite may designate sa- access to the raw materials used in their production, to
cred spaces or construct facilities for events in order to the technology of their manufacture, or to the skilled
limit access to ceremonial spaces and the events taking labor necessary for their creation.
place within them. Ritual events may be organization- Another source of value and meaning for symbolic ob-
ally complex, supported by state institutions and spe- jects may be their unique histories of ownership and ex-
cialist personnel who coordinate events sometimes in- change (Weiner i992) or their direct association with an
cluding skilled performances that are spectacular or elite lineage or deity. These types of symbol may have
even life-threatening. Some elements of the state ideol- high intrinsic worth based primarily on their ideological
ogy may include vivid images of coercion, such as hu- context, independent of their production costs. In these
man sacrifice. Ritual paraphemalia is carefully manufac- cases an object may be made of inexpensive materials
tured to exact standards for use in the performance. (e.g., royal insignia) or have a unique context of produc-
These costs, complexities, and scale demonstrate tion and use (e.g., ancient Olympic laurel wreaths). Simi-
through dramatic ephemeral images the hierarchical or- larly, skillfully crafted objects may have great value in a
ganization of the state and its apparent monopoly on particular cultural context but in absolute terms cost lit-
such performances. tle more than the food required by the artisans who pro-
duced them. In contrast to feasts and monument con-
struction, some symbolic objects may effectively
materialize social position at low production costs if their
Objects and icons, as materialized ideology, include the ownership or history can be carefully protected.
paraphernalia used in performances, ritual attire, mural
paintings, and icons and emblems in any form. Portable PUBLIC MONUMENTS AND LANDSCAPES
objects facilitate symbolic communication among indi-
viduals, within social segments, and between polities Public monuments and landscapes-mounds or pyra-
(Hodder i982a). As items of personal decoration they mids, ceremonial facilities, large buildings and centers
communicate information about gender, age, group of political activity, or defensive structures-associate
membership, or social position (Wobst I977). Icons of a group with a place and represent the power and author-
public display can communicate a standardized narra- ity of its leaders. Monuments can be impressive, even
tive message to many individuals simultaneously. overwhelming constructions that are experienced si-
Symbolic objects are especially efficient for long- multaneously by a large audience. They are effective and
distance communication between elites or, more enduring means of communication, often expressing rel-
broadly, among political allies or social groups. ativelyIn thisunambiguous messages of power (Kolb I994,
Trigger i990). Large monuments may be visible to vast
context they signify relations of dependency, affiliation,
or correspondence. Symbols exchanged or distributed populations across broad geographic areas, making them
within social segments or lineages create or reinforce ideal for indoctrination, population control, and the dis-
vertical as well as horizontal relationships and help to semination of propaganda. This elemental message of-
generate loyalties and consensus among individuals ten crosscuts differences in language, age, gender, or cul-
(Brumfiel and Earle I987, Friedman and Rowlands I978). tural affiliation.
Ceremonial paraphernalia or status symbols are often Pyramids, large mounds, and rearrangements of the
paraded or displayed in ritual contexts, and because landscape such as artificial hills or barrows require enor-
these objects can contain coded information they may mous inputs of labor and materials (Abrams i989), and
also serve as mechanisms for narrative representations. their construction requires planning, management, and
Complex iconographic systems combine the immediacy the organization of labor crews and raw materials. Mon-

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BLANTON ET AL. Agency, Ideology, and Power I I9

umental construction may take place fairly rapidly, WRITING SYSTEMS

demonstrating a leader's capacity to marshal labor and

Written documents, such as inscribed stelae or monu-
resources. Less complex societies such as the Neolithic
ments, legal documents, contracts, and stories, are phys-
chiefdoms of southern England (Earle iggib) and the
ical manifestations of belief systems and, like other
preceramic societies of coastal Peru (Feldman i987)
means of materialized ideology, may tell a story, legiti-
have, however, created structures of impressive size,
mate a claim, or transmit a message. While the other
suggesting that some projects are "works in progress"
means of materialization accomplish this task indirectly
built through the sustained input of labor over time.
through symbols, some texts are explicit and direct.
This labor may derive from regular taxation in the form
Documents can formalize rules and relationships set out
of corvee, and therefore where there is a population to
by those in power. In written religions, texts encode
be taxed, monuments will increase in size or in number.
scriptures, prayers, and ritual traditions, standardizing
Many Moche ceremonial centers were constructed in
these messages to allow their dissemination and adop-
multiple discrete sections, each apparently contributed
tion over a broad region (Goody i986). Written docu-
by a different population under elite control (Hastings
ments and inscriptions may also communicate political
and Moseley I975).
messages or propaganda. In the Vijayanagara empire of
Monuments and ordered landscapes domesticate un-
India, for example, inscriptions on temples, public
used territories and symbolize the appropriation of space
works, and slabs placed in villages recorded the generos-
(Kus i982), organizing and materializing social relation-
ity of elites (Morrison and Lycett I994). Such inscrip-
ships and boundaries. Monumental architecture also de-
tions may be accurate, exaggerated, misleading, or even
fines vertical relations within society. Within a settle-
false. If overall literacy rates are low, inscriptions may
ment hierarchy, public spaces and ceremonial facilities
represent esoteric knowledge held and manipulated by
generally appear first in regional centers (Flannery I976),
elites or religious personnel who are indispensable in
where they serve as the focus of power, representing the
positions of authority conferred on them by their liter-
elite monopoly on civic-ceremonial activity. Thus the
acy skills.
distribution of settlements and public architecture
Writing and literacy afford opportunities for strategic
across a landscape serves as a map of a sociopolitical
control; beyond ideology, of course, the development of
system. In Cuzco, the center of the Inka empire, a sys-
writing has had profound effects on human societies and
tem of radiating lines, the zeque system, expressed and
their organization (Goody i986). Writing requires educa-
ordered the relationships between corporate groups,
tion and training, so that control of specialists, including
their productive lands, and the cosmos (Hyslop I990;
scribes and interpreters, can limit access to this form of
Zuidema I964, i983). Within a political elite, monu-
materialization. In early literate societies, the technolo-
ments may be subject to ownership, transference, and
gies of writing, including engraving skills and ink and
inheritance as long-term capital investments. In con-
paper manufacture, could be manipulated by elites.
trast to events, which are repeated regularly and can be
Later, the invention of the printing press (Eisenstein
adapted to changing circumstances, monuments are
I979) would create opportunities for mass distribution
more permanent expressions of the ideology that links
of information both in support of and in opposition to
a group to its territory. Although the meanings ex-
the established political ideology. Now, through instant
pressed in a cultural landscape may change, monuments
global communication, the image of a leader and debate
nevertheless strengthen the association of a group and a
over policy decisions are under constant public scrutiny,
place. Long after a ruler has died or a polity has disinte-
making it exceedingly difficult but also essential for
grated, monuments such as Stonehenge or the pyramids
leaders to control the images of govemment that reach
in Egypt remain, evoking the history of a place, defying
the public (Thompson i990).
time, and giving ancient societies the aura of perma-
nence and transcendence (P. Wilson i988).
Monuments may also serve as facilities or settings
for ritual events (Barrett I994), often rituals that imbue Case Studies
portable objects with meaning. Thus, as constructed
spaces, facilities are closely connected to other elements We examine the materialization of ideology as a source
of the ongoing process of materialization. By exercising of social power in three archaeological cases: Thy, Den-
ownership of public facilities, elites can further restrict mark, the Moche of Peru, and the Andean Inka. We have
their use and closely monitor the staging of ceremonies selected these cases pragmatically; we are conducting
through agents and institutions under their supervision. ongoing research in each case. Our firsthand knowledge
Both at Thy and in the Moche case ritual burials materi- informs us about the complexity and dynamism in-
alized elite control of landscape and ceremony (Bech and volved in relations of political power. In each situation
Olsen I985, Donnan and Castillo i992). They legiti- leaders sought to establish and maintain political con-
mated elite ownership of ceremonial spaces in life and, trol over large populations. Although their methods,
significantly, extended their influence beyond death. sources of power, and goals varied, the quest for power
Thus ownership and elite privilege were sanctioned over was common.
generations, ascribed to individuals who could claim The cases represent an evolutionary spectrum from
consanguinity with those interred. emergent chiefdom to massive empire. To some degree,

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201 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 37, Number i, February I996

differences in scale, social complexity, and the institu- by I500 B.C. the landscape was open grassland, presum-
tional setting of power relationships account for the ably used for pasture (Andersen I993). The development
variation observed in materialization strategies. The of a hierarchical ideology in this setting can be divided
Danish case illustrates the fragility of the simple chief- into three periods: Early Farmer (4000-2600 B.C.), Pasto-
dom; ideology is weakly controlled by chiefs who spon- ral Warrior (2600-i800 B.C.), and Early Bronze Age
sor small-scale ceremonies, exchange and possess simple Chiefdom (I800-IOOO B.C.). Two key transformations
symbols of position, and construct modest monuments. are evident. The first was the cultural shift from the
The Moche case demonstrates that the state is a more agricultural communities of the early farmers, in which
stable political formation in which the social order is group identity was emphasized, to the pastoral warrior
played out through elaborate ceremonies, dramatic sym- society, in which attention was focused on the individ-
bols, and complicated narratives that legitimate institu- ual male warrior. Although economically and culturally
tions of control that are re-created through ongoing prac- distinctive, both these societies were small-scale and
tice. Finally, the Inka case suggests that expansionist lacked strong regional chiefs. The second transformation
empires may simplify ideology into critical elements was the emergence of regional chiefs who were buried
that are "transportable" across cultural boundaries, with their special swords under earthen mounds that
among them representations of military power, state in- stood out prominently in the landscape.
signia, and massive ceremonialism. The means of materialization that appeared with the
We recognize that historical conditions of culture, in- first economic and cultural transformation-ceremo-
stitutional structure, and political economy create di- nies, objects, and monuments-were not means whose
verse social trajectories. We are concemed here with the production could be controlled. The warrior ideology
materialization of ideology as a mechanism of political was effective in centralizing political power only when
evolution and the way in which this process articulates it could be materialized in publicly displayed symbols
with the broader social and economic processes that un- (bronze weapons and personal jewelry) manufactured by
derlie the emergence of complex societies. specialists attached to the chiefs. Chiefly swords accom-
panied political office, and personal jewelry identified
high-status women. The construction of chiefly burial
The Evolution of Chiefdoms: Thy monuments also helped to institutionalize power rela-
tionships in lineages with inherited offices and to estab-
From the Early Neolithic into the Bronze Age, the pre- lish rights over pastoral lands.
history of northern and western Europe witnessed cycles The early farmers of Thy were low-density farmers
of chiefdom evolution and decline. Despite evident at- and herders living in the original forests of the region.
tempts to centralize and institutionalize power, emer- They belonged to the Funnel Beaker culture, whose key
gent chiefdoms remained limited in scope and stability. theme was the identity of the ancestral (collective)
Distinguished chiefs would emerge briefly in some re- group, represented by communal burials in megalithic
gions only to lose power and be eclipsed by other re- monuments and ceremonial grounds. Diagnostic pol-
gional developments (Bradley I984, Kristiansen i982). ished axes found in these burials probably referred to
The Thy Archaeological Project (Bech I993) seeks to un- agriculture and fertility. This society was probably
derstand the power strategies of these chiefs. In Thy, equivalent to a big-man collectivity (Kristiansen I984,
ownership of productive resources was limited as a Johnson and Earle i987).
source of power because the chiefdom's extensive ag- The early megalithic burial mounds were among the
ricultural lands had no developed facilities, such as irri- most impressive monuments of Thy. To build these
gation systems or drainage projects, that could be con- monuments required finding large boulders, weighing
trolled. Warfare also proved to be an unreliable source upwards of 2o tons, dragging them to the construction
of power, because control over the technology of warfare site, and seemingly miraculously placing them upright
was difficult to maintain. Ideology, considered here, wasas walls and roofing for a central burial chamber. The
problematic until its materialization helped institution- labor involved in the construction of a passage grave
alize a ranked system of warrior chiefs. Several different such as Lundh0j in Thy was considerable; estimates for
means of materialization were used, but control over the England range upwards of I5,000 person-days (Startin
production of public symbols was ultimately the critical i982). The central chamber was constructed of boulders
factor in the region's chiefly power strategies. chinked by careful stonework, with a clay cap to make
Located in the extreme northwest of Jutland, Thy is the room fully waterproof. The mounds contained many
a low, narrow land bordered on the west by the North burials, with skeletons intermixed after their flesh had
Sea and on the east by the Limfjord. The landscape is fallen away. The megalithic monuments were probably
rolling terrain deriving from a terminal moraine, dottedassociated with rites of passage, constructed as homes
with low hills and small streams, lakes, and bogs. Soils for the dead that could be reopened for additional burials
are fertile, but agricultural productivity is limited by and cyclical rituals of corporate identity with the com-
northern winters and dry summers. Farming popula- mingled bones of ancestors (Hodder i990).
tions moved into Thy in the Early Neolithic and modi- The causewayed enclosure, a second monumental
fied the existing forests by shifting cultivation. Begin- form of the Early Neolithic, was also built at this time
ning at about 2600 B.C., the forests were rapidly cleared; in Denmark, and one example has been excavated in

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BLANTON ET AL. Agency, Ideology, and Power I 2i

Thy. Spaced fairly regularly across the landscape, these likely use of these vessels would have been for copious
enclosures were positioned in prominent locations, and consumption of alcohol on ceremonial occasions. The
each is associated with several megalithic monuments Bell Beaker phenomenon may therefore indicate the de-
(Madsen i988). Chains of pits were excavated, and the velopment of linked ceremonial events in a peer-polity
earth was thrown up to build a bank that enclosed a interaction sphere. Such events would have provided an
sacred or political space up to 2o ha in area. Special de- arena for status rivalry and the establishment of regional
posits of animal bone and ceramics were placed in pits leadership identities. Control over such ceremonial
filled all at once. Human skeletal material, such as lines events would, however, have been tenuous at best, as
of skulls, documents the occurrence of public death cere- is evident in the comparable Moka ceremonies of New
monies within the enclosures. Guinea (Strathern I97I). Such events would have offered
Symbolic objects fromrthe Early Farmer period include little opportunity to enlarge relationships or to pass on
elaborately decorated ceramics and beautifully polished achieved prestige (contra Friedman and Rowlands I978).
axes. Large ceramic vessels placed in front of the en- Symbolic objects in the Single Grave and Bell Beaker
trances of the burial monuments were probably associ- contexts evidently emphasized individual status and
ated with death ceremonies (Tilley I984). Pieces of military standing. Single Grave men's graves were typi-
amber necklaces were found in the megalithic monu- cally marked by a stone battle ax (or sometimes only
ments, but individual interments were mixed and there-flint blades); women's graves included amber necklaces,
fore grave goods were not identified with individuals. occasionally with many hundreds of small beads (Bech
These objects, made of the local amber, would have been and Olsen i985). While female status may still have
used for personal decoration, but their mixing after been marked by items of personal decoration, male ob-
death would seem to deemphasize individuality. Noth- jects identified them as warriors. Bell Beaker graves are
ing is more characteristic of the Early Farmer period rare for Thy, but elsewhere they contain beautifully
than the thin-butted polished axes made of special flint crafted flint daggers. Flint daggers and arrowheads were
from the shaft mines of Thy. These are working axes, routinely recovered from all households, suggesting that
used originally to clear the region's forests. The axes are these symbols of war were generally available. At the
found both singly and as hoards deposited in sacred wet same time, amber was used much less commonly for
places (bogs, streams, and springs). The symbolic associ- personal display, a shift probably related to its export
ation of the axes with agricultural clearing and water from Denmark to the European prestige-goods exchange
suggests that the axes were significant in fertility rituals.systems (Shennan i982).
The pastoral warriors of Thy were low-density herders Daggers, used for status display in the Late Neolithic,
practicing cereal-grain farming. According to the paleo- would have been difficult for chiefs to control. Manufac-
pollen record, the original forests of Thy had been tured in Thy from locally mined flint, they were care-
cleared by this time and the grasslands established. The fully shaped with grinding and a finishing flaking. Their
warriors belonged to the Neolithic Single Grave and high level of craftsmanship would have restricted the
Dagger Period cultures, and the key theme was individ- numbers of knappers able to produce them, but lower-
ual identity, materialized by low burial mounds that quality daggers were also made from field flints. Inter-
marked the graves of individual men and women. Long- estingly, the daggers were modeled after metal daggers
distance exchange linked the herders with northern Jut- from central Europe, suggesting a broad warrior ideology
land and the western Bell Beaker settlement area (Jensenin which group leadership was associated with warrior
I9882, Vandkilde I99I). might. But the actual objects, manufactured of locally
The single-grave mounds were quite small, about i m available material, could not be monopolized. The over-
high and perhaps 6 m in radius. A mound covered one all impression is of a warrior society in which individual
(sometimes two) central interments laid out in a plank status was not highly differentiated. Symbolic objects
coffin. The labor invested in such monuments was mod- continued to be manufactured of local materials, but the
est, only a fraction of that for the megalithic mounds. dominant symbolic reference of these objects changed
A sequence of burials might be added, one on top of to emphasize male warrior status, first with the battle
another with new mounding, or several mounds might axes and then with the daggers. However, because it was
be arranged in a line. Both patterns suggest family lines. impossible to monopolize access to the wealth, ideologi-
The contrast between the materialized corporate iden- cal power remained diffuse.
tity of the Early Farmer period and the personal kinline The inhabitants of the Early Bronze Age chiefdoms of
of the Pastoral Warrior period probably represents a shift Thy were, again, low-density herders and agriculturalists
from clan to lineage organization. From the Single Grave living in an open grassland environment. They belonged
culture onward, placing the dead in the soil of Thy must to the Nordic Bronze Age culture. Male and female
have created a cultural landscape associated with chiefs were buried under barrows, with fine weapons
("owned" by) specific kin lines, an important and basis for objects of bronze. Thy is famous for its
chiefly organization. Bronze Age barrows, the construction of which trans-
The use of Bell Beaker ceramics also suggests the im- formed the landscape. Hilltops were dotted with clusters
portance of ceremonial events. These ceramics were of of the burial mounds. Typically, a central individual was
special forms stylistically elaborated with detailed geo- interred in a cist made of glacial boulders and a rounded
metric incised lines filled with brilliant pigments. A mound was built up over it with turf and edged with a

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221 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 37, Number I, February 1996

curb of glacial boulders. Usually only one central burial

was originally covered by the barrow, although others
were often added later. Several of the monuments exca-
vated in Thy showed major rebuilding, with a second
construction phase that added a new outer curb and
raised the monument's height. The sizes of the monu-
ments varied. Some barrows, such as the distinctive
mound of Bavneh0j in S0nderha parish, Thy, were over
3 m high and 30 m in diameter. Clustered around the
barrow were lesser mounds, most no more than i m
high. Monuments that required significantly more labor
than others may have contained paramount chiefs. The
overall labor invested in individual mounds would not,
however, have exceeded that of the earlier megalithic
monuments. A fairly small group could have produced
them without great effort.
These mounds divided the landscape into cultural re-
gions probably owned by local chiefs. They materialized
a social hierarchy and the religious sanctity by which it
was legitimated. The landscape was transformed from
open grassland to a world owned and controlled by
chiefs whose right to leadership was rooted in their an-
o 0
cestry. The monuments alone were, however, ineffec-
tive as a means to consolidate power. Because their scale
was modest, they could have been constructed by sim-
pler social groups to represent a very different ideology.
The construction of the monuments, though waxing and
waning, seems more likely to represent a continuity in
corporate labor practices. Why, then, was labor directed
towards materializing individual ascendancy rather than
group identity? Here the key seems to lie in the nature
of the symbolic objects.
Although the reference of the symbolic objects
5 Cm
(male:warfare:: female:personal decoration) remained
the same as for the preceding Warrior period, the techno-
FIG. i. Early Bronze Age Period 2 Type C sword
logical character of the objects changed dramatically
(Sword 105), from chiefly burial in T0ds0, Thisted
again. Objects of local manufacture all but ceased to de-
Amt, Denmark. Reprinted from Ottenjann (I969:
fine status. Ceramics from this period were simple, with
table IS, no. ios) by permission of the publisher.
only minimal decorative elaboration. No flint daggers or
arrowheads were found. Amber, although found on all
sites, was always raw, probably being collected for ex-
port. Symbolic objects were now almost exclusively of bronze the weapons and symbols of the warrior chiefs
bronze, made from tin and copper, neither of which wasrequired a sophisticated manufacturing process, and as
available in Denmark. During the Early Bronze Age, a consequence chiefs could control artisans as attached
male chiefly status was marked by beautifully crafted specialists (Brumfiel and Earle I987). The absence of de-
swords in the Nordic style, distinct from the working bris from the manufacture of swords demonstrates how
swords of associated warriors (fig. I; Kristiansen I984). spatially restricted their production must have been.
More than ioo swords and daggers have been recovered Chiefs evidently solidified their dominance over both
from barrows in Thy, and their styles correspond to subsistence production and exchange through the direct
broader patterns of manufacture and decoration shared supervision of sword production.
throughout Denmark and parts of Germany. While most Female status continued to be identified with fine
swords were locally manufactured, chiefly swords re- jewelry that signaled personal distinctiveness and at-
quired lost-wax molding, a sophisticated and difficult tractiveness. Decorative bronze brooches were fre-
production process. The craftsmen able to produce such quently found in the Thy barrows. In contrast to the
items would have been few and their activities could swords, these items were manufactured primarily by an-
quite easily have been controlled by the chiefs (Kris- nealing of traded wire or bars. Annealing, as opposed to
tiansen I984, I987, I99I). casting, is technically quite simple. Brooch fragments
Thus the key to chiefly status in Denmark during from the residence at Thy 2999 may well indicate the
Early Bronze Age may quite simply have been thelocal fabrication of jewelry here without chiefly supervi-
ing technology of symbolic objects. With a shift to sion. Control over the materialization of the ideology of

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BLANTON ET AL. Agency, Ideology, and Power | 23

rank would have been possible primarily for the male settlement patterns. Moche settlements vary in both size
chiefs identified with the technologically more complex and function (Willey 1953, D. Wilson I988), and within
swords. Simpler bronze working, like the earlier flint them we can identify socially differentiated areas or
and amber manufacture, would have been impossible to neighborhoods (Bawden 1977, I98 2). The Moche econ-
control. omy was characterized by the diversification of produc-
The use of symbolic objects in Denmark changed dra- tion, craft specialization, long-distance exchange, and the
matically during the time period under consideration. construction of a large-scale irrigation infrastructure.
Group identity was deemphasized, and male status Traditionally the Moche have been considered a single
came to be associated with weapons of destruction. Ini- polity (Larco 1945) on the basis of apparent similarities
tially these items, especially the flint daggers, were cop- in art styles and ceramic forms. Recent evidence indi-
ies of southern metal daggers produced locally from cates, however, that the Moche comprised at least two
available flint, but the manufacturing process did not independent polities (Donnan I990), one centered in the
permit effective control over these symbols. It was the southern Moche and Chicama Valleys and the other oc-
introduction of bronze working that offered the opportu- cupying centers in the Jequetepeque and Lambayeque
nity for economic control necessary to permit the Valley systems (Castillo and Donnan 1994). These dis-
greater political centralization seen in the Early Bronze tinct polities exhibit remarkably different develop-
Age. Chiefs probably controlled long-distance procure- mental sequences. The northern Moche remained re-
ment of metal through elite exchange and alliances, and gionally independent states, never expanding beyond
the manufacture of this wealth could be controlled by their traditional limits. In contrast, by about A.D. 400
patronage. The chiefs could thus retain exclusive access the southern Moche had become an expansive territorial
to weapons, symbols of military might, and an ideology state that controlled the valleys to the south of it. How-
of warrior domination. ever, in spite of these organizational differences, similar-
ities in material culture indicate that the northern and
southern Moche shared a culture evident in funerary
practices, ceremonies, myths (depicted in murals and
From Funnel Beaker, (community andpainted ceramics), andpro-
agricultural ritual paraphernalia.
ductivity) to Single Grave (the individual and his status Throughout their history, ideology was apparently a
in war or her personal adornment), cultural symbols significant source of power for Moche elites. Their strat-
changed profoundly. The forms of materialization, in egy included a complex system of-ceremonies performed
earthen monuments, ceremonies, and symbolic objects, by Moche elite individuals and the investment of social
continued little changed. Single Grave barrows were wealth in the production of symbolic objects. The goal
sometimes placed on top of or immediately adjacent to of the ceremonies was to increase social solidarity, in-
earlier megalithic monuments, and amber objects and volving all levels of society in the state's ritual endeav-
decorated ceramics continued to be found in the burials. ors. These shared ceremonies created a common ground
Although this cultural change introduced a new ideol- of symbolic communication within the ranks of the
ogy that would come to be associated with warrior chief- elites and between elites and the lower-ranking levels
doms, the chiefdoms did not arise until the male chiefly of society. In Moche ceremony, each social segment was
hierarchy was symbolized by metal weapons of war. The ascribed a role that reflected its position in the Moche
message of the ideology was important, but the opportu- pantheon of deities and supernatural beings. Only high-
nity to materialize that message through bronze tech- status elites could perform the leading roles, which le-
nology was essential for the institutionalization of a gitimated their privileged position in society. Moche
highly ranked society in the Early Bronze Age. performances re-created myths and traditions and mate-
rialized narratives that represented the past. Through
materialization, Moche elites appropriated and owned
From Chiefdom to State-Level Society: history and tradition.
Moche The aim of their materialization of ideology through
symbolic objects was to increase interdependencies and
The Moche provide dramatic examples of the effects of communication among elites, counteracting tendencies
materialized ideology in an emerging state-level society. toward fragmentation among elites disconnected from
While they have been the subject of numerous recent the core of Moche society. To do this, Moche's high elite
studies, the data presented here are based primarily on the tightly controlled the production of symbolic objects,
results of the San Jose de Moro Archaeological Project, access to those objects, and their social uses, carefully
codirected by Christopher B. Donnan and Luis Jaime Cas- monitoring their distribution throughout the lower lev-
tillo. Around A.D. IOO, in the fertile coastal valleys of the els of their own ranks. This strategy took two forms:
northern Peruvian desert, Moche society evolved from vertical communication among elite social strata
the fairly simple Virui and Salinar chiefdoms to become, through redistribution of ritual objects and horizontal
by about A.D. 450, one of the first state-level societies incommunication among the highest-status elites through
the Andes. Moche society was clearly stratified into dis- exchange of the most elaborate symbolic and exotic ob-
tinct social segments, expressed in differential burial jects. Eventually, these activities generated a pan-Moche
practices (Castillo and Donnan 1994, Donnan i99i) and elite ideology (Castillo 1994).

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24 1 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 37, Number i, February I996

CEREMONIAL EVENTS available clue was contained in the vivid depictions of

Moche iconography, which illustrate ritual deer hunts,
Moche society shows evidence of complex social strati- dances, and combat. Participants in these scenes appear
fication in its earliest stages. Burial ceremonies were to be Moche elites; lower-status individuals appear only
particularly important in reflecting social structure and as service providers (Donnan 1978). Archaeological evi-
its supporting ideology. The burials vary dramatically in dence confirms that the depicted ritual events actually
form, in the labor costs of preparing the tomb and the took place (Castillo i99i, Donnan and Castillo i992,
body, and especially in the number and type of symbolic Donnan and Mackey 1978).
goods accompanying the deceased. An astonishing picture Moche ceremonies differed in their importance and
emerges from the study of more than 300 Moche burials impact, depending upon the roles and participants and
that have been excavated archaeologically (Donnan the message that each involved. The most complex
I99'). Moche rituals involved deities and supernatural beings
Differences in funerary treatment between social seg- in central roles (Castillo I989). The Sacrifice Ceremony
ments are usually qualitative; each status group had ac- (fig. 2) was evidently the most dramatic ritual in the
cess to specific types and qualities of symbolic objects. Moche liturgy (Alva and Donnan 1993, Donnan 1975).
High-status burials frequently contain gold and silver In this ceremony, defeated warriors were sacrificed by
objects, fine ceramics, imported materials such as Spon- anthropomorphized animals and animated objects that
dylus shells, and precious stones such as lapis lazuli and cut their throats, pouring the blood into tall ceremonial
turquoise (Alva and Donnan 1993, Donnan and Castillo goblets (fig. 2, bottom). These goblets were then given
i992). Middle-status burials contain fewer metal and ce- to several mythical figures, usually figure B (a birdlike
ramic objects, usually of lesser quality (Donnan and individual) and figure C (a female), to present to two of
Mackey 1978). Low-status burials generally lack grave the paramount Moche deities, figures A and D, who
goods (Donnan I99I). promptly consumed the blood (fig. 2, top). Archaeologi-
Beyond these qualitative differences, quantitative cal evidence indicates that this rite was practiced
variation also characterizes burials of individuals be- throughout 450 years of Moche history (Alva and Don-
longing to the same social segment. Individuals may re- nan 1993). This evidence has been recovered in every
ceive more or less of the same class of object in burials, region under the control of the Moche, either in the form
and this pattern is visible in other aspects of social life of iconographic representations or in ritual parapherna-
as well. Household size, arrangement, and quality of lia associated with elite burials (Alva and Donnan I993;
construction materials all appear to be clearly stratified Bonavia I959, I985; Donnan and Castillo i992, I994;
along the same lines as burials. Furthermore, studies of Strong and Evans I 95 2; Ubbelohde-Doering I 983). Thus,
settlement organization demonstrate that social status the Sacrifice Ceremony was a pan-Moche ceremonial
also implied differential access to ceremonial spaces event, crosscutting political boundaries.
(Bawden 1977, i982; Haas I985). Recent excavations have uncovered elite burials con-
Preferential access to, and manipulation of, the cere- taining paraphernalia associated with the Sacrifice Cere-
monial system was clearly an important source of power mony. These objects include the goblet that contained
for Moche elites. Until recently, however, we were un- the blood of the prisoners (Donnan and Castillo i992:
sure whether these relationships were limited to funer- 40), figure A's scepter (Alva and Donnan 1993:97-101),
ary representations of ceremonies and myth. The only and clothing elements associated with figures A, B, and


oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo0 oooooooooooooooo 0 0
0 * 000 A

Arqueol6gico Rafael Larco Hoyle, Lima, Peru. (Drawing by S. Castillo.)

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BLANTON ET AL. Agency, Ideology, and Power 1 25

C. These finds demonstrate that some elite individuals quently decorated with complex iconography, often nar-
personified, probably throughout their lives and cer- ratlve in character (Castillo i99i) and finely detailed, as
tainly at the time of their death, the deities and priests in the representations of the Sacrifice Ceremony. Since
in this ceremony. The symbolic objects found in the only elite burials contain these objects, the vessels and
graves played a key role in the performances of mythical the information coded on them were probably socially
events that were re-created by living members of the restricted. These objects not only marked the status of
elite to materialize the Moche ideology. On the basis of the individual in death but also were used to exercise
the contents of elite tombs at Sipan, in the Lambayeque power in society.
Valley, Alva and Donnan (I993) suggest that the Lord of Moche symbolic objects were often the product of
Sipan fulfilled in life figure A's ceremonial roles. Also at skilled labor, and some incorporated exotic raw materi-
Sipan, these researchers have recognized another deity als such as pigments, clays, Spondylus shells, and soda-
featured in the same ceremony, figure B, who wears a lite and turquoise stones. A hypothetical scenario for
large birdlike headpiece and is shown presenting the the production and distribution of ceremonial ceramics
goblet to figure A (Alva and Donnan I993:I43-6I). At can be postulated from studies of ceramic production
the site of San Jose de Moro, in the Jequetepeque Valley, centers (Russell, Leonard, and Bricefno I994). The distri-
Donnan and Castillo (i992) have located two elaborate bution of identifiable ceramic styles suggests that fine
tombs of females that contain examples of the goblet ceramics were manufactured in every Moche region,
used in the Sacrifice Ceremony (Castillo and Donn'an probably with more than one production center within
I994). These females were buried with the headdress of a region at every point in time. Ceramic production was
yet another deity depicted in the Sacrifice Ceremony, based on the needs of target populations, taking into
figure C, a female who presents to figures A and D the account the quality and quantity of vessels necessary to
goblet full of human blood (Donnan and Castillo i992: meet the demands of strategic political activity. Unfor-
41). Finding the goblet and the headdress together in tunately, we have not yet discovered the centers of manu-
two roughly contemporaneous tombs confirms that elite facture for fine ceramics, although a few middle-range
individuals personified Moche deities and that these ceramic production centers are now known. Areas pro-
roles passed from one individual to another. ducing simple domestic wares are widespread through-
To maintain their legitimacy, Moche elites had to out the region (Russell, Leonard, and Bricefno I994). Log-
control the material expressions of ideology that defined ically, we can assume that high elites controlled fine
their positions in society. Individuals' social positions ceramic production, keeping for themselves the more
controlled their access to resources and specified their elaborate pieces and distributing others among members
political and ceremonial roles. We have found this strati- of the lower-ranking elite.-Archaeological evidence sug-
fied access to ritual life and its symbols in the variable gests that the rulers of different regions and polities ex-
contents of burials. The highest-status burials contain changed some of their finest ritual objects (Glenn Rus-
the actual paraphernalia and ritual attire worn during sell, personal communication, I992).
rituals such as the Sacrifice Ceremony (Alva and Don- Symbolic objects were, therefore, a means of commu-
nan I993, Donnan and Castillo I992). Among members nication between elites that integrated their ranks and
of the immediately inferior social level, for example, strengthened their vertical hierarchy. As materialized
lower-elite individuals in Pacatnamu' (Ubbelohde- ideology, they also reinforced horizontal linkages among
Doering I983), we find carved gourds and ceramic ves- rulers. Although the Moche peasantry was knowledge-
sels with detailed fine-line or three-dimensional repre- able about the rituals enacted in ceremonial places and
sentations of ceremonial events but not the actual familiar with orally transmitted narratives and public
paraphernalia. In the middle levels of society we find renditions of iconography such as mural paintings, it
only representations of parts or elements of the ritual had no access to the symbolic objects themselves.
events; this is the case for some infant burials at San At the northern Moche site of San Jose de Moro (Cas-
Jose de Moro (Donnan and Castillo n.d.). Finally, burials tillo I994; Castillo and Donnan I994; Donnan and Cas-
of members of the lowest levels of society contain al- tillo I992, I994, n.d.), around A.D. 650 we see for the
most no evidence for objects of symbolic or ceremonial first time evidence of imported ritual objects, some of
value (Donnan I99I). This differential access to materi- them from the central coast valleys of Lima and Lurin,
alized ideology clearly characterized vertical relations in as far as 700 km south. These goods, among the finest
Moche society. produced in their native societies, appear only in the
most complex Moche burials and are absent from do-
mestic contexts. This burial pattern implies that the
highest Late Moche elite controlled long-distance exchange
The materialization of ideology created and maintained in order to monopolize these ritual objects from the then-
the social fabric of Moche society through deliberate flourishing central coast societies. Because Moche elites
strategic control of the production and distribution of had traditionally relied upon materialized ideology as a
ritual or symbolic objects among the ranks of the elites. source of power, this exchange appears to have been partic-
Elite Moche funerary contexts show preferential access ularly significant for a society in decline such as the Late
by elites to certain symbols and raw materials, espe- Moche.
cially fine ceramic vessels. These ceramics were fre- The introduction of foreign symbolic objects must

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26 1 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 37, Number I, February 1996

have severely impacted social relationships among differences in monument construction apparently relate
Moche elites. According to our model, the higher elites to the expansive nature of the southern Moche state.
were obliged to redistribute a portion of the ritual ob- The southern Moche ultimately controlled populations
jects they controlled among the lower ranks to maintain with clearly diverse ethnic backgrounds but succeeded,
reciprocity and generate dependency. However, in im- surprisingly rapidly, in integrating these populations
porting foreign ceramic objects, Moche higher elites no into the Moche mode of production and geopolitical
longer controlled the entire production process. The strategy. This rapid integration has been explained ei-
scarcity of foreign ceramics suggests that they were in ther by reference to the militaristic character of Moche
short supply. One response was to copy the foreign ob- society (D. Wilson I988) or by assuming a common cul-
jects. Some of the copies incorporated Moche elements, tural substratum for all northern coast societies that fa-
while others employed only the foreign forms and design cilitated the enculturation process. While both factors
elements. These copies were distributed among the mid- probably contributed to Moche expansion, they cannot
dle and lower ranks of the elite, decreasing in both quan- wholly account for long-term cultural transformations.
tity and quality as they descended the social ladder. This We believe that the strategy of the southem Moche
pattern mirrors the distribution pattern of Moche ce- was based at least in part on an ideological infiltration,
ramics with complex iconography. planned and executed in advance of true geopolitical
The absence of foreign ceramics throughout earlier control, with ceremonial centers of monumental propor-
Moche history suggests a deliberate effort to prevent tions serving as beachheads for this advance. For exam-
these exotic symbols from entering Moche territory and ple, the southernmost valley under Moche influence, the
influencing its populace. Political or ideological associa- Nepefia Valley, was never completely under Moche con-
tion with foreign elites appears to have been of little use trol. Surveying this valley, Proulx (I973) found a Moche
to the Moche, especially when they were expanding and ceremonial center of monumental proportions sur-
vigorous states. What, then, caused Moche leaders not rounded by residential areas that were clearly inhabited
only to import foreign symbolic objects but also to copy by non-Moche groups. Why do we find a Moche ceremo-
them? Perhaps these fine objects, as material wealth, nial center in a territory that is otherwise obviously non-
were more prestigious than the local versions, and in Moche? Rather than serving the needs of a devoted
copying them the Late Moche acknowledged their in- Moche community, this center targeted a local popula-
trinsic quality or technical superiority. In this scenario, tion. This investment in monument construction,
owning foreign precious objects would have become a whether by Moche or by local labor, implies that the
matter of prestige and conspicuous consumption for state was interested in first occupying the minds of the
Moche elites (Trigger I990). Under closer scrutiny, this inhabitants to ease the later occupation of their fields.
explanation implies that finely crafted objects are auto- Among the northern Moche, the materialization of
matically more valuable than simpler goods, regardless ideology was through ceremonial events and the con-
of their origin and meaning. From the perspective of ma- trolled circulation of symbolic objects rather than mon-
terialization, this view is incomplete, because it denies ument construction. These events and objects helped to
the symbolic value of the objects, considering only their legitimate the highly stratified social structure. Since
exchange value. In terms of materialization, the im- the northern Moche were apparently less interested in
porting and reproduction not only of the symbolic ob-enculturating foreign populations, their goal seems in-
jects but also of the ideology they signified suggests that stead to have been to perpetuate the existing social sys-
Moche elites valued these foreign objects in part because tem and its elite institutions. As a result, monumental
of their symbolic meaning. This meaning might have architecture, less essential to these objectives, was not
been reinterpreted to fit Moche canons and used by broadly undertaken as a part of a northern Moche mate-
elites to bolster their social positions. Apparently, theyrialization strategy.
did not succeed, for less than one generation after the
new objects appeared the Moche were gone for good.

Throughout both the northern and southern Moche

states, a pan-Moche iconography sustained a highly strat-
The territory controlled by the southern social system.
Moche Political roles in Moche society were
is dotted
with some of the most impressive ceremonial defined andpyramids
acted out in dramatic ceremonies in which
in the New World, such as the Huacas del elaborate
Sol ritual
and attire
de laand vivid symbolic images ex-
Luna in the Moche Valley, constructed pressed with more narrative conceptions of Moche elite power and
IOO million adobe bricks (Hastings and Moseley I975),
Huancaco, in the Viru Valley (Willey Pampa I953), and
Grande Pafia-
complex of the Lambayeque Valley (Haas i985). De-
marca, in the Nepena Valley (Proulx I973). In contrast,
bate continues as to whether this structure represents the expan-
in the northern Moche territory, ceremonial centers sion of the southern Moche and the consequent relocation of the
such as Pacatnamu' and San Jose de Moro in the Jeque- capital in this northerly site (Moseley i992, Castillo and Donnan
I994). In any case, Huaca Grande is an extremely late phenomenon,
tepeque Valley are smaller and less impressive.3 These constructed with a peculiar technique not seen in the massive pyra-
mids built in this region during the Lambayeque period, and it is
3. Only one comparable structure can be found in the northem therefore not comparable to any previous structure in the northern
Moche territory.
Moche territory, the late Moche pyramid of Huaca Grande, in the

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BLANTON ET AL. Agency, Ideology, and Power | 27

authority. Fine-line drawings materialized scenes of ideology. At the regional level, feasts structured rela-
these rituals, and the burials of high elites mirrored theirtions between the state and its subject laborers in terms
privileged roles in life. The iconographic system institu- of traditional Andean reciprocity. For the Inkas, ideology
tionalized the stratified character of Moche society; its was a crucial means to maintain the state's rights to
rich elaboration seemed to heighten the separation be- the taxes (generally, but not entirely, labor service) that
tween the high elite and Moche peasants. financed state activities. This objective is also visible
While the northern and southern Moche polities in the state's efforts to create insignia and emblems to
shared an iconography and social structure, the role of identify local elite intermediaries as Inka officials; these
monument construction in the two regions differed subordinates performed essential duties in their local
markedly. From the perspective of materialization, we communities, organizing corvee crews and administer-
may explain this in terms of contrasting political objec- ing other activities on behalf of the state.
tives, viewing the monument construction activities of
the southern Moche, among the most ambitious of those
of Peru's early states, as an integral part of the state's
expansion. As a whole, the Moche case illustrates the Inka feasts were the most direct element of the relation-
ship between the state and most of its subjects. Inka
strategic role of an ideology of elite culture and its effec-
tiveness, through materialization, as a source of power. ritual hospitality materialized the power and wealth of
the state on a grand scale. After conquering new terri-
tory, the state alienated all agricultural lands militarily
An Expansionist Empire: Inka and symbolically and reallocated them to the ayllu (a
kin-based corporate group) as a demonstration of "Inca
Because of their scale, expanding states and empires face omniscient benevolence in action" (Murra I98o[I956]:
problems of communication and the challenge of estab- 94). In granting land rights back to the community, the
lishing authority over conquered groups, which may not Inkas legitimated their rights to labor service. In reality,
share a language or culture with their rulers. Because however, the state did not interfere with traditional land
ceremony and monument construction provide direct tenure practices, and the subsistence and welfare of its
means of communication that do not depend entirely members remained the responsibility of the ayllu. Sub-
on shared language or customs, these forms of material- ject groups tilled, agricultural lands set aside for state
ization may be particularly emphasized in expansion use and worked newly defined state lands (Murra
and conquest. Archaeological evidence suggests that I980[I956]). Corvee crews formed the military, con-
these and other forms of materialized ideology played a structed facilities, temples, and storehouses, and built
central role in the Inka expansion. roads to tie Inka centers together. The state, in return
During the isth century A.D., the Inkas established for these services, hosted work parties in traditional An-
dominion over a vast territory reaching from Ecuador to dean fashion, providing workers with food and chicha
Argentina. Beginning as a complex chiefdom centered in (maize beer) (Murra I98o[I956]). Excavations at Hua'-
Cuzco, Peru, a single ethnic group of probably no more nuco Pampa suggest that state hospitality took place on
than ioo,ooo, the Inkas built a conquest empire that a massive scale (Morris and Thompson I985). This Inka
eventually stretched approximately 4,ooo km from center was located far from agricultural lands and local
north to south. The Inka empire incorporated diverse centers of population, yet its many storehouses con-
environments and perhaps i2 million subjects repre- tained abundant foodstuffs. Central to Huainuco Pampa
senting more than iOO separate ethnicities. Conquered was a ig-ha plaza, a setting for the feasts described by
groups ranged from great coastal states such as the early Spanish chroniclers. In the plaza's excavated as-
Chimu' to small-scale tribal societies on the eastern jun- semblage, the dominant ceramic vessel form was the
gle fringe. Recent studies recognize that Inka strategies aribalo, a large, high-necked Inka liquid-storage vessel
varied in response to local economies and political struc- probably used to serve chicha in public ceremonies.
ture, the resistance of local groups, and the objectives of Inka feasts thus expressed the state's authority, at the
particular emperors (Bauer i992, D'Altroy i992, LeVine same time embedding it in long-established relation-
I985). Generally, however, the Inkas conquered core re- ships between a community and its leader (Morris I985).
gions by direct occupation and assimilation. In distant Maize was a prestige crop in Andean society before the
or marginal areas they ruled more indirectly, through conquest; local chiefs carried heavy jars of chicha with
client elites. As part of this process, the Inkas material- them as they traveled to meet their political obligations
ized a complex state ideology that, balanced by elements (Rostworowski I977). In excavations of pre-Inka period
of coercion, promoted a unified Inka culture (Rowe settlements in the Mantaro Valley, Peru', maize and
i982). large liquid-storage vessels were found primarily in elite
The strategic character of Inka materialization dem- domestic areas, suggesting local chiefly hospitality
onstrates that ideology, rather than simply reflecting so- (Earle et al. I987, Costin I986). After the conquest, how-
cial structure, is used to create it. Inka expansion ini- ever, the Inkas appear to have taken over the role of
tially depended on military might, and the continuing host in this strategic region; local elite-sponsored feasts
threat of force underlay the state's domination (D'Altroy declined in frequency (Costin and Earle I989). Further,
i992). However, a long-term goal was to solidify and as the Inkas expanded their ritual role, overall maize
to institutionalize imperial control by exporting a state consumption greatly increased. Studies of the stable iso-

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28 1 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 37, Number i, February I996

tope ratios of skeletal material from the Mantaro Valley activities, and thus they targeted specific participants.
indicate that males consumed more maize after the con- Materialized ideology was meant to create shared experi-
quest, probably in the form of chicha served at state- ence and to perpetuate the unquestioned power of the
sponsored ceremonies (Hastorf I990). state, especially among unruly and rebellious groups. In
In hosting feasts, the Inkas ensured that rights to com- the provinces, large feasts emphasized the state's gener-
munity labor, formerly a political and economic preroga- osity for peasant laborers to legitimate labor obligations.
tive of local elites, would instead legitimately belong to When the Inka traveled to the provinces, he went forth
the state (Murra I960). In effect, the state was "earning" on a golden litter surrounded by emblems of the sun
its authority (Morris i982) directly from the populace. and moon and other sacred symbols of the royal lineage
Because, as a tributary state, the Inka empire did not (Cieza de Leon I985[I5 53], vol. 2, chap. 2o:56-59). Festi-
directly control subsistence production and because it vals in Cuzco were aimed at provincial elites (and oth-
depended upon an extensive bureaucracy, the material- ers), who visited the capital regularly, presumably to ex-
ization of ideology appears to have played a key role perience firsthand the wealth and privilege of the
as a source of power. Inka feasts reinforced the ties of emperor. To integrate provincial elites more readily,
reciprocity that linked the empire's distant, largely self- Inka policy required their sons to spend time in Cuzco
sufficient subject communities to the center of power, to learn the Inka language and to become familiar with
Cuzco, and to the institutions of Inka religion. Inka customs and culture (Cieza de Leon i985 5 5 3
At the same time, this was an ideology of coercion, vol. 2, chap. I4:37-39).
mystifying power relationships and legitimating the em-
peror. This hierarchical character is best illustrated by
the rites and festivals held at the royal court in Cuzco
to observe religious occasions and to celebrate military Inka ideology fostered associations of Inka symbolic ob-
triumphs. Participants included successful military jects and state insignia with the emperor. Through ma-
leaders and provincial elites, among others, who con- terialization, the ritual and political meanings of sym-
sumed elaborate food and chicha and often received gifts bolic objects were closely linked. State insignia,
of fine metal, elaborate textiles, or precious stones. including finely woven cloth and metal objects, were
Chroniclers describe events that included ritual sacri- given as gifts to strengthen alliances, to fund and legiti-
fices of humans, llamas and other animals, and sumptu- mate new institutions of control, and to reward support-
ary goods (Guaman Poma de Ayala I987[I6I4], vol. I: ers. As in the realm of feasting, the Inkas drew on ex-
25 2-64). At the same time, coercion and military action isting elements of Andean material culture and
were integral elements of this materialized ideology. For technology, elaborating their meanings to create sym-
example, as punishment, two Qolla lords who had led bols of imperial power and wealth. The rich cultural
an uprising were flayed, and drums made of their hides significance of cloth (Murra i962) and the technological
were played in the celebrations in Cuzco that followed virtuosity expressed in metallurgy enhanced their value
their defeat (Cobo i892[i653], vol. 3, bk. I2, chap. (Lechtman I984), as did their exclusive association with
I4:I69). the emperor.
Royal festivals perpetuated the sacred role Theof Inka
Inkas rul-
also recognized the symbolic importance of
ers. Essentially, ritual events were also political events local cult objects. After conquering a province, the Inkas
that elevated the emperor's position, equating him with removed its most sacred religious symbol or icon to
the god of the sun, Inti. Ancestor worship was a central Cuzco, where it was effectively held hostage to mini-
theme in Inka religion; the ruling family was said to mize the chance of rebellion (Cobo i892[i653], vol. 3,
have descended directly from this deity. Religion and bk. I2, chap. 22:22I). Other local cult objects were
myth augmented the political authority of the emperor, brought to Cuzco for year-long visits, presumably to en-
giving him supernatural identity (Rowe I946, Conrad hance their value through association with the Inka
and Demarest I984). The mummified bodies of dead em- court (Rowe i982). These coercive and highly symbolic
perors, cared for by their descendants, continued to at- acts expressed a hierarchical message which targeted lo-
tend feasts, receive offerings, and observe Inka ritual cal religious loyalties as a source of meaning that could
(Cieza de Leon I985[I553], vol. 2, chap. II:27-29 and be co-opted and manipulated by the state to increase
chap. 30:90-93). security.
The close interdependence of politics and religion was At another level, materialization through objects was
apparent to Bernabe Cobo, a Spanish chronicler: "The the primary means by which the Inkas negotiated rela-
truth is that Inca religion did not remain fixed and un- tionships with local political leaders, whose authority
changing from the birth of the realm onward; they did now depended largely on their affiliation with the state.
not cling to the same few beliefs or worship the same D'Altroy and Earle (I985) have argued that wealth fi-
few gods. . . . They were induced to make changes in nance supported this element of Inka strategy, describ-
[religious] matters because they began to realize that in ing the process through which the Inkas mobilized valu-
this way they could strengthen themselves and keep the ables for efficient transport, storage, and use as payment.
kingdom under tighter control" (Cobo i892[i653], vol. While many of these wealth goods had intrinsic value
3, bk. I3, chap. I:302, translated in Conrad and Demar- deriving from their scarcity (such as metals) or high la-
est I984: I09). Inka ritual events were therefore political bor input (such as textiles), they were imbued with addi-

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BLANTON ET AL. Agency, Ideology, and Power | 29

tional value derived from the meaning they expressed in in the Chincha Valley, linked to Cuzco by an elaborate
their exclusive association with the emperor. In a sense, road. Further north, near Quito, Inka officials promoted
through materialization the state increased the efficacy the status of local lords who traded with tropical-forest
of its wealth production by closely (and exclusively) as- regions beyond the empire's frontier (Salomon I987).
sociating Inka ideology with these manufactured ob- Through these activities, the Inkas promoted the state's
jects. For example, the aqllakuna, or "chosen women," economic interests' in these exchange relationships,
wove fine cloth and brewed chicha exclusively for the many of which it could not directly control but which
state; their activities linked the spheres of religious ac- were vital to the materialization of its ideology.
tivity and economic production to enhance the meaning
(and hence the value) of the finished goods. The Inka
nobility also monopolized gold and silver, and goods
containing these scarce metals were valued more highly The Inkas materialized their presence throughout the
for the same reasons. empire through a landscape and architecture of power.
Evidence from diverse areas of the empire suggests Inka roads, settlements, and fortresses were the essen-
that materialization through symbols and insignia af- tial infrastructure for conquest and occupation in many
fected the economic policies of the Inkas, leading them parts of the empire (Gasparini and Margolies I980, Hys-
to reorganize craft production and to intensify efforts tolop I990). At the same time, however, these elements
obtain exotic raw materials. The emperor Thupa 'Inka of the landscape had enormous value as symbols. The
Yupanki resettled specialist producers of ceramics near roads especially symbolized the logistical strength and
Cajamarca (Espinoza Soriano I970), and other enclaves organizational power of the empire (Hyslop I984). Cor-
of craft production were established near Cuzco to in- vee crews constructed over 23,000 km of roads with sus-
crease output (Morris and Murra I976). As the conquests pension bridges, causeways, and stairways across the
continued, the ranks of craft specialists and retainers steep Andean terrain. The roads linked the facilities of
expanded to include attendants and servants (aqlla, the empire together to form a coherent network of pri-
yana, and mitmaq) who were no longer simply corvee mary and secondary routes.
laborers but full-time attached specialists (Murra The roads and facilities represent an impressive and
i980[I956]) converting raw materials into materialized efficient organization. The Inkas preferred diplomacy.to
ideology. military engagement and combat, relying as much on
The Inka reorganization of craft production reached the threat of force as on its implementation (D'Altroy
far beyond Cuzco to the Calchaqui Valley in Argentina, i992). Roads were a key means to materialize that
about i,500 km south of the Inka capital. In recent re- threat. Capital investments in roads and facilities were
search there we have examined the nature of the Inka costly, drawing energy and personnel away from subsis-
conquest and occupation of this region, known for its tence production and substantially increasing the costs
bronze artisans (the Santamariana culture) and rich ore of occupation. At the same time, if a road through a
deposits (D'Altroy et al. n.d.; Gonzalez I979; Pollard region meant that military forces were readily mobilized
I98I, I983). Under Inka rule, metal production in the in the event of an uprising, the chances of rebellion
Calchaqui Valley was reorganized, presumably to pro- might be lessened. As visible reminders of Inka force,
duce finished metal goods for export to Cuzco. At Val- roads (as well as fortresses) enhanced the threat of mili-
dez, a Santamariana residential center, excavations have tary action at the same time that they served as basic
uncovered ceramic molds used for making copper ingots elements of infrastructure.
(Hagstrum i992). In contrast, evidence for the manufac- The Inkas called their empire Tawantinsuyu, "land of
ture of metal objects and ornaments made of mica, ma- the four provinces," reflecting their view of its organiza-
rine shell, and malachite was concentrated at the Inka tion. Cuzco, the capital, was considered the navel (Gar-
center of Potrero de Payogasta. These data suggest that cilaso de la Vega I943[I609], pt. I, bk. 2, chap. II:89-
while the initial stages of metal production took place go). In its layout and organization it was a physical
at Valdez, the production of finished goods was closely representation or microcosm of the empire (Hyslop
supervised by Inka officials in an Inka facility. From the I990:64). The zeque system, mentioned above, acted as
rarity of the finished objects at Potrero we infer that a physical map of conceptual relationships, systematiz-
they were exported by the state (D'Altroy et al. n.d., ing complex information about political organization,
Earle I994). Potrero is ideally situated for transit, located ceremonial sites, astronomy and sight lines, and features
along the Inka road at the northern entrance to the val- of the landscape (Zuidema I964, i982, I983). Evidence
ley (DeMarrais I993, Hyslop I984). even suggests that, in resettling groups near Cuzco, the
The need for the exotic and scarce materials used in Inkas arranged them so that Cuzco and its environs rep-
the materialization of their ideology also led the Inkas licated in miniature the spatial distribution of groups
to seek sources of raw materials through exchange with in the empire as a whole (Espinoza Soriano i987:320).
groups on the central and north coasts of Peru and Ecua- Because the Inkas regularly moved laborers, troops, and
dor. Historical documents (Rostworowski I970) and ar- sometimes even whole ethnic groups great distances,
chaeological work (Morris I988) suggest that because material representations of space apparently played a
Chincha traders could supply Spondylus shell and met- key role in conceptualizing the physical geography of
als the state rewarded them with gifts and built a center the empire.

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30 1 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 37, Number i, February I996

Around Cuzco, the Inkas constructed walls and struc-

tures of cut-stone masonry of monumental proportions.
Away from Cuzco, however, Inka corvee crews built rel-
atively few monuments on a scale comparable to that
of the enormous huacas of the southern Moche. Instead,
facilities-spaces and buildings designed to be used-for
feasts, for administration, for housing troops and labor-
ers, and for storage made up most of the constructed
landscape, of the provinces. Some were temples; others
materialized power. Inka rectangular layouts and build- trm
ing forms imparted a recognizable structure to sites in
the hinterland (Gasparini and Margolies I980, Hyslop
i990). Major state settlements were dominated by a
large, often trapezoidal plaza in which stood a ceremo-
nial platform. Because the emperor stood upon this plat-
form to address his subjects, it was a symbol, acting even
in his frequent absences as a physical reminder of his
central role in the proceedings. Usually adjacent to the
plaza were a large rectangular structure, the kallanka 0

and residential compounds or kancha. The uniform de-

sign of many state centers probably carried over to the
practices associated with Inka feasts so that these ele-
ments contributed to a common experience of Inka rit-
ual throughout the empire.
As far south as the Calchaqui Valley, the layouts and
architecture of state installations clearly mark them as
Inka sites. Potrero de Payogasta (fig. 3), located on the 0 25 50m
Inka road about 2o km north of a cluster of Santamariana
settlements, has a large, well-defined plaza with a cen-
tral platform and associated kallanka and compounds.
The elaboration of this sector suggests that Potrero was IN
a setting for state-sponsored feasts (DeMarrais I993). In
the Calchaquf Valley, as in more central regions (Morris FIG. 3. Potrero de Payogasta, an Inka residential and
i982), the Inkas appear to have separated local adminis- ceremonial center located in the northern Calchaqui
trative facilities from state centers of hospitality, per- Valley, Salta Province, Argentina. The plaza complex
haps to emphasize the ritual character of feasts and the occupies the northwest sector of the site. Solid lines,
vertical hierarchy separating state from local authority. masonry walls; dotted lines, walls not well preserved
The site of Potrero de Payogasta, located in this distant on the surface. Contour lines represent 2-m intervals.
region, has readily recognizable Inka design features.

and infrastructure (D'Altroy I992, Luttwak I976). Even-

tually, however, the Inkas secured a labor base in these
The Inka case illustrates the role of materialization in regions to finance materialization and other projects. As
an expanding state, where ideology must be broadly the empire incorporated more distant provinces, feasting
communicated among an ethnically and linguistically probably remained important, while reliance on client
diverse populace. In its manipulation of Andean tradi- elites would have grown, increasing demand for state
tion, Inka ideology could be understood at the commu- insignia and leading the state to intensify craft produc-
nity level and also, throughout the hierarchy, encour- tion to meet these obligations.
aged the cooperation of state personnel. More generally, For the Inkas, the materialization of ideology clearly
in a territorially extensive polity financed by taxation, meant massive costs on an ongoing basis. It seems rea-
an elaborated ideology becomes a significant source of sonable to argue, however, that materialized ideology,
power, encouraging and enforcing compliance. Through exploited by the Inkas as a significant source of power,
materialization, the Inkas responded to local conditions, provided an overarching structure to state-subject rela-
emphasizing a message of coercion in regions where re- tions that could be, and was, adapted to local conditions
sistance was strong, or regions which contained vital and changing imperial priorities. Because the state did
resources or were strategically located. Here and else- not directly control productive lands in most areas, the
where, coercion was balanced by reciprocity, as the state vivid imagery and the reciprocal message of Inka ideol-
attempted to facilitate integration and to ease the impo- ogy could, in their materialization, complement and bal-
sition of the corvee. In its early stages, Inka expansion ance the exercise of military power. Both sources of
depended heavily upon military force, which necessi- power contributed to achieving the goals of integration,
tated costly investments in security, administration, finance, and legitimation.

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BLANTON ET AL. Agency, Ideology, and Power I 3I

Conclusions controlled the requisite metal and textile elements of

the ceremonial attire. Iconography, as materialized ide-
On the surface the three cases chosen for analysis seem ology, strengthened horizontal ties between elites, creat-
diverse, the result of adaptations to strikingly different ing a pan-Moche culture, at the same time as it rein-
environments and varying in political scale and com- forced vertical relations by carefully assigning roles to
plexity, but we see that social power in each case de- participants in Moche ritual.
pended upon the strategic allocation of resources to con- The Inka case illustrates the use of diverse material-
solidate leadership and to support new institutions of ization strategies to secure a remarkably heterogeneous
control. In each case, the sources of power were various, population under imperial rule. Inka feasts created cohe-
and hierarchical control emerged as a result of interde- sion and integration, reinforcing messages about recipro-
pendent decisions. Each of these societies was character- cal obligations between the state and its subjects even
ized by competition, resistance, and a tendency to frag- though these tributary relations were in fact coercive
ment into smaller political units. We argue that the and largely asymmetrical. At the same time, in Cuzco,
materialization of ideology was one mechanism for sta- festivals and ritual events materialized the wealth and
bilizing power relations to help counteract this fragmen- power surrounding the emperor effusively, making a
tation. challenge to Inka authority seem a daunting prospect.
The ideologies of ruling segments are by nature am- Close control of attached specialists meant that state
bivalent and contradictory, promoting a sense of com- symbols had value both as scarce objects and as signifi-
munity and common identity while they justify social ers of exclusive association with the divine world of the
differences and unequal access to wealth and authority. emperor. The Inka infrastructure served multiple sym-
The materialization of ideology invests social capital, bolic and functional roles to materialize the Inka's activ-
usually labor, to achieve specific objectives that often ities in all their provinces.
are contained in the messages of the ideology. For exam- Materialization depends upon a society's economic
ple, materialization can help to create solidarity, social base, but as an active element in the process of building
cohesion, or group identity, while legitimating leader- and consolidating political power it can also be a cause
ship and demonstrating the basic coercive nature of its of significant change. By exercising control over bronze
authority. The different means of materialization ac- swords, Danish chiefs were able to centralize and con-
complish varying political objectives, including unifying solidate their power for the first time, but in doing this
or assembling groups (events), rewarding loyal followers they became dependent upon exchange networks for
(symbolic objects), perpetuating images of corporate continuing access to bronze. Moche elites successfully
power or chiefly control (monuments), and spreading a materialized a ritual world of privilege; once established,
message or propaganda (texts). The resources allocated the institutions of ceremony became the primary basis
to materialization are being diverted from other eco- of legitimacy and authority in Moche society. The Inka
nomic activities essential to the welfare of a polity, in- empire incurred huge costs to sponsor ritual feasts to
cluding subsistence production, so that the choice of legitimate demands for subjects' labor service. More-
materialization activities is also influenced by economic over, ongoing Inka efforts to centralize and intensify
conditions and the nature of the challenges faced by the craft production and to control external exchange rela-
ruling segment. tionships suggest that the institutions of Inka ideology,
In the Danish case, the effectiveness of ideology was while central to administration of the vast empire, en-
tied to its message, as, over time, symbols of prowess in tailed continuing maintenance expenditures.
warfare became markers of successful chiefs. However, Because multiple ideas and beliefs exist in a given so-
from the perspective of materialization, we see that ciety, a ruling segment must control the ideology-
chiefs could not exert exclusive control over the ideol- shared ideas, beliefs, and their representations-that le-
ogy until they controlled the technology of metal pro- gitimates its position and authority. Giving an ideology
duction and the exchanges through which metal swords concrete, physical form in events, symbolic objects,
and daggers were obtained. Thus, while the message of monuments, and writing systems is instrumental to its
ideology is important, it is crucial to understand the institutionalization and extension. The costs of materi-
linkages between ideology and other systems of control alizing ideology restrict access to this source of power,
(over labor, raw materials, exchange) to see how materi- with the result that through control of key resources a
alization permits a chief to consolidate and institution- ruling segment may be able to restrict the contexts of
alize power. use and the transmission of ideas and symbols. The spe-
A complex system of iconography sustained the cific means and forms of materialization chosen by
Moche ruling elite. As in the Danish case, elite burials elites depend upon their goals and resources. These
expressed individual status. Moche elites fulfilled cere- choices in turn affect the success of the ideology in
monial roles in life, had access to the finest ceramics, achieving integration, overcoming opposition, or consol-
and were honored after death with rich burials that per- idating political power. Materialization is a means
petuated their images. The elaborate ceremonial arti- through which symbols, their meanings, and beliefs can
facts recovered from the burials of the Moche's "living be manipulated to become an important source of social
gods" strictly limited ritual performances to those who power.

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