Archaeometric approaches to defining sustainable governance: Wari brewing traditions and the building of political relationships in ancient Peru

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Sustainability (Switzerland)


Utilizing archaeometric methods, we evaluate the nature of production of feasting events in the ancientWari state (600-1000 CE). Specifically, we focus on the fabrication of ceramic serving and brewing wares for the alcoholic beverage chicha de molle. We examine the source materials used in the creation of these vessels with elemental analysis techniques (INAA and LA-ICP-MS). We then assess the chemical traces of the residues present in the ceramic pores of the vessels to detect compounds indicative of the plants used in chicha production (DART-MS).While previous research has identified circumstantial evidence for the use of Schinus molle in the production process, this research presents direct evidence of its existence in the pores of the ceramic vessels. We also assess what this material evidence suggests about the sustainability of the feasting events as a mode of political interaction in the Wari sphere. Our evaluation indicates that regional resource use in the production of the ceramic vessels promoted locally sustainable raw material procurement for the making of the festivities. Likewise, drought resistant crops became the key ingredients in the beverages produced and provided a resilient harvest for chicha production that was adopted by successor groups.

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