Wari Lithic Networks: An Examination of Stone Tool Use at Cerro Baul and Cerro Mejia
Fortin, Louis William
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The Middle Horizon (A.D. 600 - 1000) marked a distinct shift in the sociopolitical landscape of the Andes with the development of the expansive polity known as the Wari. The Moquegua Valley of southern Peru is believed to be the southern-most extent of the Wari polity and our knowledge of their expansion into the valley relies primarily on ceramics, textiles, food remains, and architectural features; there are very few published studies on Wari lithics for the Moquegua Valley. The aim of this study was to define the role of stone tools in Wari's periphery, specifically at the Wari sites of Cerro Baúl and Cerro Mejía, by examining variation in lithic retouch, tool manufacture, and procurement of geologic materials. The analysis of the assemblage suggested geologic material and tool form influenced the lithic activity of the household and that specific items were markers of status. Although lower-status households had limited access to resources and frequently resharpened tools to extend their use-life, at Cerro Baúl, households of elevated status retouched their tools more. Whereas, Cerro Mejía's assemblage contained high retouch regardless of material, form, or location, indicating differential access to resources between the two sites. This is reiterated in the procurement of resources, where distinct differences in geologic material were present at Cerro Mejía compared to Cerro Baúl, indicating not only variability in resource acquisition and use, but that the material at Cerro Mejía may have been acquired through embedded procurement and exchange. Retouch practices suggested bifacial point forms varied in function. Most bifacial points were not used as projectiles but as multifunctional cutting tools, whereas Tiwanaku-style points consistently had impact damage from use as projectiles. Furthermore, these Tiwanaku-style points contained high retouch with no presence of preforms or early stages of manufacture, suggesting offsite manufacturing and acquisition through trade with the Moquegua Valley Tiwanaku sites to the south.