The Organization of Production for Inka Polychrome Pottery from Pachacamac, Peru

Departmental News

Posted:  Oct 21, 2020 - 09:00am

James A. Davenport (Ph.D. Candidate, Archaeology) has an article published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology entitled The Organization of Production for Inka Polychrome Pottery from Pachacamac, Peru.


This study investigates the organization of production for Inka Polychrome pottery used at the Temple of the Sun, Pachacamac. Inka Polychrome pottery was critical to imperial strategies for managing state power in the provinces. It was highly standardized in appearance yet is known to have been produced at many locations throughout the empire by Inka and subject potters. Pachacamac was an important political and ideological location on the central coast that was transformed by the Inka after C.E. 1470 into a major imperial center. To evaluate the production and source of pottery at Pachacamac, a sample of 149 ceramics in local, Inka Polychrome, and Regional Inka styles were evaluated using neutron activation analysis to identify compositional groups. Attributes related to the production and decoration of these ceramic artifacts were recorded and statistically compared between groups. Compositional data from this analysis was also compared to compositional data from ceramics excavated from other South American sites and analyzed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Results found that multiple groups of potters at multiple places (some of which are local) produced this pottery, and small amounts of pottery are being imported.