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Wari Empire

Andean Pre-Columbian Society


Wari Jar, Museo de Arte PreColombino, Cusco, Peru

Wari Jar, Museo de Arte PreColombino, Cusco, Peru

eralon Overview of the Pikillacta Site

Overview of the Pikillacta Site

Gordon F. McEwan (c) 2008

The Wari Empire (sometimes spelled Huari) was the first urban and state level society in the sierra region of the Andes, a sophisticated civilization established in the Ayacucho region of Peru during the Middle Horizon (between about AD 550 and 900).

The state grew from its capital city of Huari (or Wari), which had developed urban characteristics (public feasting, storage facilities, monumental complexes, and residential cmopounds), by the seventh century AD. The maximum population of Wari was at least 10,000.

The Wari grew corn and bitter potato, raised llama and alpaca. They were connected into a trading network across the Andes, in which figurines, ceramic vessels, textiles and metal objects were made in Wari and traded out.

Politics and Architecture

The political structure of the Wari state including the ruling elite, minor officials and artisans. The central parts of the cities had major religious complexes with plazas. These center areas were surrounding by residential blocks in walled compounds, separated by streets.

Each of the Wari administrative centers controlled vast resources over local leaders; although the power of the Wari over its "colonies" is a bit in doubt. The artifacts of the Wari are spread across Peru; but the exact relationship between the center Wari city and its outlying "colonies" is currently unclear.

Wari structures were distinctive; typically large rectangular enclosures, laid out in a strict grid pattern of squares or patios. The style appears abruptly about 540 AD and spread outwardly. The large buildings were administrative centers and elite residences, with numerous uniformly decorated and shaped room cells.

Archaeologists most associated with the Wari include Wendell Bennett, Max Uhle, William H. Isbell, Gordon F. McEwan and Katharina Schreiber.

Important Wari Empire Sites: Viracochapampa; Chan Chan; Wari Wilka; Wari; Jincamocco; Pacheco; Cuzco; Pikillacta; Raqchi; Ancon; Pachacamac; Lukumata; Conchopata; Cotahuasi; all in Peru.


A Wari Empire bibliography has been developed for this project.

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