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Imperialist Expansion in Peruvian Prehistory: Chimu Administration of a Conquered

Author(s): Richard W. Keatinge and Geoffrey W. Conrad
Source: Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol. 10, No. 3 (Autumn, 1983), pp. 255-283
Published by: Boston University
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Imperialist Expansion in Peruvian Prehistory:
Chimu Administration of a Conquered Territory
Richard W. Keatinge
Institute of the Americas
Solana Beach, California
Geoffrey W. Conrad
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts
The expansion of prehistoric empires has been an important feature in the
development of civilizations throughout the world. Yet, archaeological re-
search directed towards the study of imperial expansion and conquest of ter-
ritory has rarely been attempted. Building on previous fieldwork, the
program of investigation described in this paper is aimed at demonstrating
the impact of imperialistic expansion on a foreign territory.
The research forming the focus of this paper was undertaken in the Je-
quetepeque Valley on the Peruvian North Coast. The Jequetepeque Valley is
one of several valleys known from ethnohistoric sources to have been con-
quered by the Chimu Empire, a militaristic, expansionist state dating to the
Late Intermediate Period (1000-1476 A.C.). With its capital at the urban
center of Chan Chan in the Moche Valley, some 100 km. south of the Je-
quetepeque Valley, the Chimu eventually expanded their control over 1,000
km. of the Peruvian coast. Fieldwork in the Chimu heartland of the Moche
Valley has led to the development of a model of politico-economic organiza-
tion characterized by state control over land, water, and labor resources. It
is argued that, following the pattern identified in the Moche Valley region,
the reorganization of the Jequetepeque Valley after the Chimu conquest rep-
resented the imposition of an extractive enterprise designed to increase the
.}?ow of tribute and labor service to the Chimu capital. In support of this
argument, the sites of Farfan, an intrusive Chimu provincial center, and Tal-
ambo, a Chimu rural administrative center subordinate to Farfan, are de-
scribed in detail, their similarities with structures in the Moche Valley region
examined, and the model of Chimu politico-economic organization discussed.
Introduction processes that the state level of political organization first
came into being.2 While the conquest theory of state
Imperialism and colonialism are as old as the State; they origins is not universally accepted, it is generally agreed
define the political process. ' that the state and militaristic expansion go hand-in-hand.
Indeed, evidence of imperialist expansion in the archae-
Wherever the state is found in prehistory, it is asso- ological record is a major criterion for the identification
ciated with tetritorial expansion and the incorporation of of prehistoric state polities; most other criteria available
conquered peoples into the framework of empire. Some
scholars have suggested that it was by means of such
2. Franz Oppenheimer, The State: Its History and Development Viewed
Sociologically, translated by John M. Gitterman (Vanguard Press: New
1. Stanley Diamond, In Search of the Primitive. A Critique of Civi- York 1922) viii, 15; Robert Carneiro, "A Theory of the Origin of the
lization (Transaction Books: New Brunswick 1974) 5. State,'' Science 169 (1970) 733-738.
256 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
in the archaeological record fail to distinguish chiefdoms
from states unambiguously.3
There is little doubt that the militaristic expansionist
policies of the many early states would, in modern par-
lance, fall under the rubric of "imperialism". The word
"imperialism" as most widely used denotes "specific
forms of aggressive behavior on the part of certain states
against others; the concept refers primarily to attempts
to establish or retain formal sovereignty over subordinate
political societies...."4 Most frequently, imperialis-
tic behavior consists of a territorial expansionist policy
on the part of a concentrated polity "focused in a rela-
tively strong center and diffusing its authority over broad
territorial contours."5 Although considerable effort has
been expended on the definition and evolution of state
societies in prehistory,6 much less emphasis has been
placed on the maintenance and expansion of such soci-
eties once they have developed. Strictly archaeological
evidence relevant to the organization and amalgamation
of prehistoric state polities has often proved elusive; oc-
casionally, important insights concerning the structure of
early states are provided by textual or ethnohistorical
sources.7 Inevitably, however, these sources are con-
cerned primarily with issues involving the dominant pol-
3. William T. Sanders and Joseph Marino, New World Prehistory
(Prentice-Hall: New Jersey 1970); Elman R. Service, Origins of the
State and Civilization (W. W. Norton & Co.: New York 1975).
4. Hans Daalder, ''Imperialism," International Encyclopedia of the
Social Sciences 7 (1968) 101.
5. Shmuel N. Eisenstadt, ''Empire,'' International Encyclopedia of
the Social Sciences 5 (1968) 41.
6. E.g., V. Gordon Childe, Man Makes Himself (New American
Library, Mentor Books: London 1951); Robert McC. Adams, The
Evolution of Urban Society (Aldine: Chicago 1966); Frank Hole, ''In-
vestigating the Origins of Mesopotamian Civilization," Science 153
(1966) 605-611; William T. Sanders, ' ' Hydraulic Agriculture, Eco-
nomic Symbiosis, and the Evolution of States in Central Mexico," in
Betty J. Meggers, ed., Anthropological Archaeology in the Americas
(Anthropological Society of Washington: Washington, D.C. 1968)
88- 107; Kent V. Flannery, "The Cultural Evolution of Civiliza-
tions," Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 13 (1972) 399-
426; Service, op. cit. (in note 3); Ronald Cohen and Elman R. Ser-
vice, eds., Origins of the State (Institute for the Study of Human
Issues: Philadelphia 1978); Henri J. M. Claessen and Peter Skolnick,
eds., The Early State (Monton: The Hague 1978).
7. John H. Rowe, ''Inca Culture at the Time of the Spanish Con-
quest," in Julian Steward, ed., Handbook of South American Indians
2 (Bureau of American Ethnology: Washington, D.C. 1946) 183-
330; John H. Rowe, ''The Kingdom of Chimor," ActAm 6 (1948)
26-59; Thorkild Jacobsen, ''Early Political Development in Meso-
potamia," Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archaol-
ogie, Neue Folge 18 (1957) 91-140; L. Dumont, "The Conception
of Kinship in Ancient India," Contributions to Indian Sociology 6
(I962) 48-77; H. G. Creel, "The Beginnings of Bureaucracy in China:
The Origin of the Hsien," Journal of Asian Studies 23 (1964) 155-
ity; little is revealed of the areas and peoples who suffered
the impact of imperialistic policy.
The effects of imperialist expansion on a conquered
people are many and varied. While the goal of the dom-
inant polity is ultimately extractive, it may seek to im-
plement those goals in various ways: through simple
plunder, colonization, direct incorporation into the dom-
inant state structure, indirect rule, resettlement of pop-
ulations, etc. The integrity of local cultures may be
recognized and allowed to flourish, or the customs and
religious beliefs of the conquerers may be forcefully im-
posed upon the conquered. Furthermore, the ramifica-
tions of such policies will vary with the level of social
organization of the subjugated peoples, the nature of the
economic resources available in the conquered territory,
and the degree of affinity between the dominant and
subordinate cultures, to name only a few of the more
important variables. Possible responses on the part of the
subjugated peoples to the varying circumstances of their
exploitation may range from a drive towards accultura-
tion and assimilation into the dominant culture to the
development of revitalization movements that emphasize
a return to the traditional values of the subordinate so-
ciety.8 Whatever the case, the indigenous structure of
the dominated society becomes altered. Such alterations
are generally most evident in political and economic or-
ganization, but they may also have effects upon settle-
ment patterns and demographic variables.9
While a large body of literature exists in the social
sciences dealing with the impact of Western expansion
into other culture areas, the processes of culture change
resulting from prehistoric imperialist expansion have been
largely neglected by archaeologists. For the most part,
this "oversight" has been a result of the inherent diffi-
culties in attacking such a problem through the archae-
ological record. In order to examine the impact of an
expanding culture upon dominated societies, one needs
a thorough understanding of the structure and functioning
of the dominant culture, along with an analysis of the
processes giving rise to the expansionist drive. Further-
more, the definition and delimitation of a dominated so-
ciety as a unit of study can be problematic in areas where
naturally occurring geographical boundaries fail to dis-
tinguish sharply one ethnic group from another.
The North Coast of Peru offers an ideal setting for the
archaeological investigation of processes of culture change
occurring through the domination of outlying cultures by
a militaristic expansionist state. From ethnohistorical
8. Anthony F. C. Wallace, "Revitalization Movements," AmAnth 58
( 1956) 264-28 1.
9. Benjamin White, "Demand for Labor and Population Growth in
Colonial Java," Human Ecology 1 (1973) 217-236.
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 257
dressed by the project. Before discussing the specifics
of the current study, however, a brief review of the or-
ganizational principles of the Inca Empire will provide
the background for an understanding of the hypotheses
generated for testing against the archaeological record of
the Jequetepeque Valley.
The Inca Model
The Chimu were succeeded as the master empire-
builders of the Central Andes by the Inca of the southern
Peruvian highlands. Between 1438 and 1532 A.C. the
Inca conquered the entire Andean world from southern
Colombia to central Chile; as mentioned above, one of
the polities subjugated was the Chimu Empire. The Inca
are best known from ethnohistorical sources, although
several of their provincial centers, Huanuco Pampa in
the north central highlandsl2 and Chiquitoy Viejo on the
North Coast'3 have been studied in recent years.
At present the Inca model provides the best source of
testable hypotheses concerning the administration of ear-
lier Andean empires. Colonial Spanish accounts of Inca
government describe a rigid hierarchy of decimally or-
ganized population units overseen by imperial officials.
The limited archaeological research done to date, how-
ever, suggests a far more flexible pattern. Where the Inca
encountered a strongly centralized political organization,
they tended to co-opt it wholesale into the imperial gov-
ernment; Inca facilities were added to existing sites. In
new provinces that had lacked strong, centralized au-
thority the Inca established a series of administrative cen-
ters and reorganized the local population into the ideal
hierarchy of decimally based units. The actions taken in
an individual case could vary anywhere between these
two extremes.
Inca administrative facilities are distinguished by char-
acteristic styles of architecture and ceramics. Inca cen-
ters, especially ones imposed by the state, tended to be
"empty" or "artificial", in the sense that their perma-
nent populations were relatively small and consisted
mainly of state personnel. Local people who served at
these sites did so on a rotating basis and were not per-
manent inhabitants of the centers. Important centers had
12. Craig Morris and Donald E. Thompson, "Huanuco Viejo: An
Inca Administrative Center," AmAnt 35 (1970) 344-362; Craig Mor-
ris, "State Settlements in Tawantinsuyu: A Strategy of Compulsory
Urbanism," in Mark P. Leone, ed., Contemporary Archaeology
(Southern Illinois University Press: Carbondale 1972) 393-401.
13. Geoffrey W. Conrad, ''Burial Platforms and Related Structures
on the North Coast of Peru: Some Social and Political Implications,"
unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University (1974); idem,
''Chiquitoy Viejo: An Inca Administrative Center in the Chicama
Valley, Peru,'' JFA 4 (1977) 1-18.
sources it is known that the Chimu Empire dominated
the entire North Coast region before its conquest by the
Inca sometime between 1462 and 1470 A.C.10 Recent and
ongoing fieldwork in the Moche Valley, heartland of the
Chimu Empire, has led to the delineation of specific
patterns characteristic of Chimu politico-economic or-
ganization, and should yield numerous insights into the
processes giving rise to an expansionist impetus on the
part of the Chimu.ll Furthermore, the topography of
the Peruvian Coast provides a natural delimitation of
regional cultural units in the form of relatively small river
valleys, each of which is separated from the others by
stretches of uninhabitable desert. Given this natural def-
inition of a unit of study, plus prior knowledge of the
politico-economic forms of the imperialistic polity, it
should prove possible to trace the processes of change
occurring in a dominated territory as a result of conquest
by the Chimu.
The research described here focuses on the regional
politico-cultural unit represented by the Jequetepeque
Valley on the Peruvian North Coast. Both ethnohistorical
and archaeological evidence indicate that this valley was
conquered by, and incorporated into, the Chimu Empire.
Given the prior knowledge of the politico-economic
structure of the Chimu heartland, the research in the
Jequetepeque Valley represents a unique opportunity to
examine the application of this pattern to conquered ter-
ritory, as well as the impact of Chimu administration on
the indigenous structures of the valley. The investigation
of these problems requires a methodology aimed at the
recovery of archaeological data relevant to three distinct,
though interrelated, issues: (1) delineation of the socio-
politico-economic system of the valley before annexation
by the Chimu; (2) definition of the administrative poli-
cies and patterns utilized by the Chimu to control and
exploit the conquered territory; and (3) determination of
the ramifications of these policies in terms of their gen-
eral effects on the social organization of the valley as a
whole, with specific attention being directed to changes
in the organization and utilization of land, labor and water
resources, trade networks, settlement patterns, and reli-
gious and cultural practices. Working under the hypoth-
esis that patterns of administration utilized by the Chimu
in the Moche Valley should be decipherable from the
archaeological record of the Jequetepeque Valley dating
to the period of annexation, research to date has focused
primarily on the secoIld of the three major issues ad-
10. Rowe, 1948 op. cit. (in note 7) 26-59.
11. Rogger Ravines, Chanchan. Metropoli Chimu (Instituto de Es-
tudios Peruanos: Lima 1980); Michael E. Moseley and Kent C. Day,
eds., Chan Chan: Andean Desert City (University of New Mexico
Press: ASbuquerque 1982).
258 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
extensive food-storage facilities and areas reserved for
the production of certain goods. Centers in frontier areas
housed military garrisons.
The Inca also provide the model for the goals of the
expansion of Andean empires. Inca state projects and
personnel were supported by a system of labor taxation
regulated by reciprocal obligations between the state and
its citizens. Local kin-groups owed a certain amount of
labor time to the state per year; one of their primary
duties was to farm state-owned agricultural lands. In re-
turn, the state had to feed, shelter, equip, and entertain
citizens fulfilling labor obligations. The Inca Empire
sought to increase its labor forces through expansion;
beyond the desire for labor lay the need for state-owned
farmlands to support official personnel and to fulfill re-
ciprocal obligations to taxpayers. The system of labor
taxation and the management of state-owned lands were
overseen by administrators based in provincial Inca cen-
Hypotheses and Research Design
The available information on the Chimu and Inca Em-
pires yielded a series of first-level hypotheses to be tested
within the research setting. In the most general sense,
the problems under consideration can be subsumed under
two questions. First, are the sketchy ethnohistorical ac-
counts of the Chimu conquest and annexation of the Je-
quetepeque Valley valid? Second, to what extent can a
model of provincial administration derived from the Inca
Empire be applied to the Chimu? Specific hypotheses,
along with the measures designed to test them, are given
Hierarchy of Chimu Administrative Centers
The Chimu Empire should have established a hier-
archy of administrative centers in the Jequetepeque Val-
ley in order to regulate the social, political, economic
and religious life of the local population. If the Inca
model holds, major centers should have been patterned
after the imperial capital of Chan Chan and should be
identifiable from the presence of the typical features of
Chimu administrative architecture manifested at Chan
Chan. As one descends the administrative hierarchy,
centers should become smaller, more simplified, more
schematic ''miniatures" of Chan Chan.
For many years, the site of Pacatnamu has usually
been identified as the principal Chimu administrative
center in the Jequetepeque Valley. Prior to the research
described here, however, survey of Pacatnamu had shown
that, for a variety of reasons, this interpretation could
not be correct. 14 Instead, it was proposed that the site of
Farfan should be identified as the Chimu provincial cap-
ital since it bears a closer architectural resemblance to
Chan Chan and is more strategically located than Pacat-
namu. Another site, Talambo (more properly, one struc-
ture located within a larger site area known as La Calera
de Talambo), was identified as a possible local center
subordinate to Farfan. Hence, together with the distant
site of Chan Chan, Farfan and Talambo seemed to define
a hierarchy of administrative centers containing at least
three levels: first-order imperial capital, second-order
provincial capital, and third-order local center.
Accordingly, Farfan and Talambo were chosen for ex-
cavation. If they were indeed part of a hierarchy of ad-
ministative centers, their architectural components would
have to be examined for true formal and functional equi-
valencies to their Chan Chan counterparts. Such equi-
valencies would then permit determination of the specific
activities carried out on the various levels of the pro-
vincial administrative hierarchy. Identification of spe-
cific activities would indicate which of the valley' s
resources the administrative centers controlled, and would
allow the formulation of hypotheses concerning the goals
of the Chimu conquest.
The scanty ethnohistorical information available at
present indicates that the Jequetepeque Valley was con-
quered during the early part of the Chimu
If so, the earliest Chimu structures at Farfan and Tal-
ambo should be contemporaneous with relatively early
structures in Chan Chan. Cross-dating of Farfan and Tal-
ambo with specific sectors of Chan Chan would make
the Jequetepeque Valley the first Chimu province whose
date of annexation could be established and would be a
major step toward establishing a chronological frame-
work for the Chimu expansion.
Four methods of determining chronology were avail-
able, three relative and one absolute. First, ceramics could
14. R. W. Keatinge, D. Chodoff, D. P. Chodoff, M. Marvin, and
H. Silverman, ''From the Sacred to the Secular: First Report on a
Prehistoric Architectural Transition on the Peruvian North Coast,''
Archaeology 28 (1975) 128-129; Richard W. Keatinge, ''Religious
Forms and Secular Functions: The Expansion of State Bureaucracies
as Reflected in Prehistoric Architecture on the Peruvian North Coast,"
AnnNYAS 293 (1977) 229-245; idem, "The Chimu Empire in a Re-
gional Perspective: Cultural Antecedents and Continuities," in Mose-
ley and Day, eds ., op. cit. (in note 11) 197-224.
15. Ruben Vargas Ugarte, "La Fecha de la fundacion de Trujillo,"
Revista Historica: Organo del Instituto Historico del Peru 10 (1936)
229-239; Philip A. Means, Ancient Civilizations of the Andes (Charles
Scribner's Sons: New York 1931) 56-57; Rowe, 1948 op. cit. (in
note 7) 28.
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 259
be analyzed and compared with Chimu ceramics from
the Moche Valley through the use of computer programs
developed by one of the authors.l6 (Since high-status
Chimu structures were kept clean during their use, ce-
ramics found on the surface usually belong to post-aban-
donment squatter occupations and do not date a building's
construction. The date of construction must be estab-
lished by ceramics from unquestionably early contexts
such as dedicatory burials incorporated in the building's
architecture.) Second, through computer analysis Alan
Kolata has been able to propose a chronology of adobe
brick forms at Chan Chan;l7 similar analysis of bricks
from Farfan would allow us to determine the internal
sequence of construction at Farfan and to correlate that
sequence with the Chan Chan chronology. (Since the
building at Talambo is made of stone masonry, the brick
method is not applicable to this structure.) Third, the
brick sequence has been used to derive a sequence of
changes in the form of small administrative "offices"
known as audiencias at Chan Chan; once the forms of
audiencias at Farfan and Talambo were known, they
could be correlated with the Chan Chan sequence. These
three methods of relative dating-ceramics, bricks and
audiencias could then be compared with one another
for consistency and would thus serve to test the validity
of the proposed brick and audiencia sequences. Finally,
carbon-14 analysis of samples from secure contexts would
add absolute dates to the relative chronology.
Pre-Chimu Organization and Imposed vs.
Co-Opted Centers
The centuries immediately preceding the Chimu con-
quest were an era of political fragmentation on the North
Coast. The exact nature of political organization in the
Jequetepeque Valley during this period will have to be
established by future research, but it was apparently not
strongly centralized. If the Inca model can be applied to
the Chimu, then a major administrative center like Far-
fan, established in a region lacking strongly centralized
authority, should have been imposed rather than co-opted.
That is, Farfan should have been built apart from existing
political centers; its major architectural components
should closely parallel those found in the Chimu heart-
land, and there should be no extensive occupation dating
to the epoch immediately preceding the Chimu conquest.
16. Richard W. Keatinge, "Chimu Ceramics from the Moche Valley,
Peru: A Computer Application to Seriation," unpublished Ph.D. dis-
sertation, Harvard University (1973).
17. Alan L. Kolata, "Chan Chan: The Form of the City in Time,"
unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University (1978); idem,
''Chronology and Settlement Growth at Chan Chan," in Moseley and
Day, eds., op. cit. (in note 11) 67-86.
If excavations at Farfan yielded evidence of a large, im-
mediately pre-Chimu occupation, then the Inca model
cannot be applied to the Chimu, and other models will
have to be developed.
"Empty'' vs. Populated Centers
If the preceding hypothesis of imposed centers proved
to be valid-and, again, if the Inca model is valid for
the Chimu-major Chimu administrative centers in the
Jequetepeque Valley should have been "empty" or "ar-
tificial". That is, their permanent populations should have
consisted mainly of official personnel. The centers would
have been supported by members of local kin-groups
working state-owned fields elsewhere in the valley. These
agricultural work forces would have been drawn from
the total valley population on a rotating basis and should
not have resided permanently in the major administrative
centers. Farfan, therefore, should have had a relatively
small population composed of state functionaries and their
retainers. If excavations revealed a large, permanent
population of lower-class agriculturalists, then, as above,
the Inca model cannot be applied to the Chimu and an
alternative model will have to be developed.
The Research Setting
The research program in the Jequetepeque Valley rep-
resents a logical outgrowth of previous fieldwork under-
taken in the region. Both the broader consequences and
the integrative nature of the Jequetepeque Valley re-
search can be better understood when viewed from the
perspective of previous North Coast fieldwork as a whole,
particularly fieldwork undertaken in the Moche Valley.
Therefore, the Jequetepeque Valley will first be placed
within this broader context through a brief synthesis of
previous fieldwork on the North Coast, emphasizing the
research at Chan Chan. Having provided this overview,
it will then be possible to discuss the research in the
Jequetepeque Valley in more specific terms.
The Peruvian North Coast
The archaeological area of the Peruvian North Coast
consists of 10 river valleys (FIG. 1) that cross one of the
driest desert regions in the world. Located in these coastal
valleys are some of the largest Pre-Columbian centers in
the New World. Yet, many of these large sites together
with their associated hinterlands are only now beginning
to receive more than superficial study. Scientific inves-
tigation of these remains will clearly add considerably to
our knowledge of the processes involved in cultural evo-
lution, the development of the state, and the rise of civ-
While the archaeological ruins of the North Coast at-
260 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
Following the Viru Valley Project, a number of other
investigators made important contnbutions to North Coast
culture history.23 It was not until 1969, however, with
the commencement of the Chan Chan-Moche Valley
Project of Harvard University, that another coordinated
effort on the scale of the Viru Valley Project was un-
dertaken. Designed in part to counter the ''Viru-cen-
trism" which since 1946 had been of necessity an
ingrained feature of North Coast archaeology, the Chan
Chan-Moche Valley Project focused its efforts on the
Moche Valley, located just north of Viru. As with the
Viru Valley project, chronicling the entire culture history
of the Moche Valley was of basic importance to the
research design of the Chan Chan-Moche Valley Project.
Attention, however, was also directed to the study of the
nature and development of urban settlements which cul-
minated in the Pre-Columbian city of Chan Chan.24
Since the start of the Chan Chan-Moche Valley Proj-
ect, a number of additional scholars have undertaken
studies on a variety of problems related to the prehistory
of the North Coast25 and several additional archaeolog-
Viru Valley, Peru," Yale University Publications in Anthropology 43
(1950); William Duncan Strong and Clifford C. Evans, Jr., ''Cultural
Stratigraphy in the Viru Valley, Northern Peru," Columbia Studies
in Archaeology and Ethnology 4 (1952); Gordon R. Willey, "Prehis-
toric Settlement Patterns in the Viru Valley, Peru , 8 ' BAEBull 1 55
(1953); Donald Collier, "Cultural Chronology and Change as Re-
flected in Ceramics of the Viru Valley, Peru," Fieldiana. Anthro-
pology 43 (Chicago Natural History Museum 1955).
23. Julio C. Tello, Arqueologia del Valle de Casma (Publicacion
Antropologica Archivo "Julio C. Tello," Universidad San Marcos:
Lima 1956); Paul Kosok, "E1 Valle de Lambayeque," Actas y Tra-
bajos del 11 Congreso Nacional de Historia del Peru 1 (1960) 49-67*
idem, Life, Land, and Water in Ancient Peru (New York 1965); Rafael
Larco Hoyle, La Cultura Vicus (Santiago Valverde: Lima 1965); Don-
ald A. Proulx, "An Archaeological Survey of the Nepeha Valley,
Peru," Research Reports 2 (Department of Anthropology, University
of Massachusetts: Amherst 1968); Richard P. Schaedel, ' 'Major Cer-
emonial and Population Centers in Northern Peru," in Sol Tax, ed.,
Civilizations of Ancient America: Selected Papers of the 29th lnter-
national Congress of Americanists 1 (University of Chicago Press:
Chicago 1951) 232-243; Schaedel, ''Incipient Urbanization and Sec-
ularization in Tiahuanacoid, Peru, " AmAnt 31 (1966) 338-344; idem,
"The Huaca E1 Dragon," JSocAmer 55 (1966) 283-471; Michael
West, "Chan Chan, Peru, An Ancient Metropolis: Results of a Set-
tlement Pattern Survey," unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University
of California, Los Angeles (1967).
24. Ravines, op. cit. (in note 11); Moseley and Day, op. cit. (in note
25. E.g., Christopher B. Donnan, "Moche Occupation of the Santa
Valley, Peru," University of California Publications in Anthropology
8 (1973); Donald A. Proulx, "Archaeological Investigations in the
Nepeha Valley, Peru,'' Research Reports 13 (Department of Anthro-
pology, University of Massachusetts: Amherst 1973); Richard P.
Schaedel, "The City and the Origin of the State in America," Actas
Figure l. The North Coast of Peru.
tracted the attention of many early explorers, such as E.
George Squierl8 and Adolph BandelierSl9 it was not until
the work of Max Uhle20 that scientific archaeology was
introduced to the region. Moreover, though several
scholars made important contributions to the develop-
ment of chronological sequences through excavation or
survey,21 it was not until the work of the Viru Valley
Project22 undertaken in 1946, that the baseline for North
Coast archaeology was clearly defined.
18. E. George Squier, Peru: Incidents of Travel and Exploration in
the Land of the Incas (Harper and Brothers: New York 1877).
l 9. Adolph F. Bandelier, ' 'Journal of 1893, " unpublished manuscript
on file at the American Museum of Natural History, New York (1893).
20. Max Uhle, ''Die Ruinen von Moche," JSocAmer m.s. 10 (1913)
95-117; also see Alfred L. Kroeber, ''The Uhle Pottery Collections
from Moche," University of California Publications in American Ar-
chaeology and Ethnology 21 (1925) l91-234.
21. Rafael Larco Hoyle, Los Mochicas I (Casa Editora "La Cronica
y Variedades, " S . A . Ltda.: Lima l 938); idem, Los Mochicas
11 (Casa Editora "La Cronica y Variedades," S.A. Ltda.: Lima 1939);
idem, Los Cupisniques (Casa Editora ' ' La Cronica y Varie-
dades . " S . A . Ltda .: Lima 1 94 1 ); idem, La Cultura Wirll (So-
ciedad Geografica Americana: Buenos Aires 1945); Kroeber, op. cit.
(in note 20); idem, "Archaeological Explorations in Peru, Part I:
Ancient Pottery from Trujillo," FieldMusAnthSer 2(1) (Chicago 1926);
idem, ''Archaeological Explorations in Peru, Part II: The Northern
Coast," FieldMusAnthSer 2(2) (Chicago 1930); Wendell C. Bennett,
"Archaeology of the North Coast of Peru: An Account of Exploration
and Excavation in Viru and Lambayeque Valleys," AnthPapAm-
MusNHist 37(1) (New York 1939) .
22. Junius B. Bird, "Preceramic Cultures in Chicama and Viru," in
Wendell C. Bennett, assembler, A Reappraisal of Peruvian Archae-
ology, SAAMem 13(4) (1948) 21-23; James A. Ford and Gordon R.
Willey, "Surface Survey of the Viru Valley, Peru," AnthPapAm-
MusNHist 43 (1949); Wendell C. Bennett, "The Gallinayo Group,
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 261
ical projects have been undertaken in Viru26 and in Lam-
bayeque.27 Taken together, all these studies have provided
a framework for a more comprehensive understanding of
North Coast prehistory than is possible for many other
regions of Peru.
The Moche Valley: Heartland of the Chimu Empire
Of critical importance to this study is the definition of
Chimu politico-economic patterns. Without this knowl-
edge it would be fruitless to attempt a study of the impact
of Chimu imperialist policies on conquered regions. The
research by the Chan Chan-Moche Valley Project has
provided data on the organizational characteristics of the
Moche Valley heartland. This information can now be
used as a model against which the Jequetepeque Valley
data can be tested, thus capitalizing on a unique oppor-
tunity to apply an organizational model developed in the
heartland of an imperialistic state to the archaeological
data associated with the annexation of conquered terri-
tory. In order to facilitate a better understanding of the
questions involved, it will first be necessary to summa-
rize the relevant results of the Moche Valley research.
Built by the Chimu during the Late Intermediate Pe-
riod (ca. 1000-1476 A.C.), Chan Chan stretches over
some 24.5 sq. km. and was the capital of a militaristic,
expansionist empire which at its height encompassed over
1,000 km. of the Peruvian coast.28 As mentioned earlier,
y Memorias del XXX1X Congreso lnternacional de Americanistes 2
(1972) 15-33; Michael E. Moseley, "An Empirical Approach to Pre-
historic Agrarian Collapse: The Case of the Moche Valley, Peru,'' in
Nancie L. Gonzalez, ed., Social and Technological Management in
Dry Lands, AAAS Selected Symposuim 10 (1978) 9-43; Fred Nials,
Eric Deeds, M. E. Moseley, Sheila G. Pozorski, Thomas G. Pozorski,
and Robert Feldman, "El Nino: The Catastrophic Flooding of Coastal
Peru, Part I, " Bulletin. Field Museum of Natural History 50 (7) (1979)
4-14; Part II, by the same authors appeared in ibid., 50(8)(1979) 4-
26. Michael West, ''Prehistoric Human Ecology in the Viru Valley,''
California Anthropologist 1 (1) (1971) 47-56.
27. Kent C. Day, ''Royal Ontario Museum. Lambayeque Valley (Peru)
Expedition," Quarterly Report (1971) mimeo; idem, ''Midseason Re-
port, ROM Lambayeque Project,'' (1975) mimeo; Izumi Shimada,
''Economy of a Prehistoric Urban Context: Commodity and Labor
Flow at Moche V Pampa Grande, Peru,'' AmAnt 43 (1978) 569-592;
Martha B. Anders. ''Investigation of State Storage Facilities in Pampa
Grande, Peru,'' JFA 8 (1981) 391-404; Izumi Shimada, ''The Batan
Grande-La Leche Archaeological Project: The First Two Seasons,"
JFA 8 (1981) 405-446.
28. Kent C. Day, "Urban Planning at Chan Chan, Peru,'' in P. J.
Ucko, R. Tringham, and G. W. Dimbleby, eds., Man, Settlement and
Urbanism (Gerald Duckworth and Co. Ltd.: London 1972) 927-930;
Michael E. Moseley and Carol J. Mackey, ''Chan Chan, Peru's An-
cient City of Kings,'' National GeographicMagazine 143 (1973) 318-
354; Richard W. Keatinge and Kent C. Day, ''Socio-Economic Or-
sometime between 1462 and 1470 A.C., only 7Q years
prior to the arrival of the Spanish, this large coastal em-
pire was conquered by the expanding Inca Empire.29
While there is a wide variety of structures and build-
ings within the civic center of Chan Chan,30 the main
architectural focus of the site is on the monumental ar-
chitecture consisting of 10 northerly oriented rectilinear
compounds of ciudadelas.31 The well planned interiors
of these structures (FIG. 2) are characterized by a massive,
pilastered entry adorned with carved wooden figures,
large entry courts, banks of contiguous rooms which may
have served as storerooms, U-shaped structures called
audiencias32 hypothesized to have functioned as admin-
istrative "offices", and usually, but not always, a mas-
sive, northerly directed burial platform.33 These huge
compounds are thought to have been the palaces of what
the Spanish chroniclers refer to as the Chimu "kings"
and headquarters for state control over a well organized
redistributive economy. In addition to the compounds
there are sections of "intermediate architecture"34 con-
ganization of the Moche Valley, Peru, During the Chimu Occupation
of Chan Chan,'' JAR 29 (1973) 275-295; Keatinge and Day, ''Chan
Chan: A Study of Precolumbian Urbanism and the Management of
Land and Water Resources in Peru,'' Archaeology 27 (1974) 228-
235; Michael E. Moseley, ''Chan Chan: Andean Alternative to the
Preindustrial City," Science 187 (1975) 219-225; Kent C. Day, "Chan
Chan, Peru. Art and Architecture of Chimu Civilization as Cultural
Symbol,'' Artscanada 208/209 (1976) 16-30; Ravines, op. cit. (in
note 11); Moseley and Day, op. cit. (in note 11).
29. Rowe, 1948 op. cit. (in note 7) 26-59.
30. Michael E. Moseley and Carol J. Mackey, Twenty-Four Archi-
tectural Places of Chan Chan (Peabody Museum Press, Harvard Uni-
versity: Cambridge 1974).
31. Kent C. Day, "Architecture of Ciudadela Rivero, Chan Chan,
Peru," unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University (1974).
32. Idem, 1972 op. cit. (in note 28) 927-930; idem, op. cit. (in note
31) 188-200; idem, ''Walk-in-wells and Water Management at Chan-
chan, Peru," in C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky and J. A. Sabloff, eds.,
The Rise and Fall of Civilizations (Cummings Publishing Co.: Menlo
Park 1974) 182-190; Anthony P. Andrews, ''A Study of U-Shaped
Structures at Chan Chan and Vicinity, Peru: Functional and Chrono-
logical Implications, " JFA 1 (1974) 241 -264.
33. Day, 1972 loc. cit. (in note 28); idem, op. cit. (in note 31) 210-
219; T. Pozorski, "The Las Avispas Burial Platform at Chan Chan,
Peru," Annals of Carnegie Museum 48 (Pittsburgh 1979) 119-137;
Geoffrey W. Conrad, 1974 op. cit. (in note 13); idem, ''Royal Burials
of Ancient Peru," Bulletin. Field Museum of Natural History 49 (1978)
6- 11, 20-26; idem, ' 'Cultural Materialism, Split Inheritance, and the
Expansion of Ancient Peruvian Empires,'' AmAnt 46 (1981) 3-26;
idem (1982), "The Burial Platforms of Chan Chan: Some Social and
Political Implications," in Moseley and Day, eds., op. cit. (in note
11) 87-118.
34. Michael West, ''Community Settlement Patterns at Chan Chan,
Peru," AmAnt 35 (1970) 74-86; A. M. Ulana Klynyshyn, "Elite
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 >
262 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
Figure 2. Plan of Ciudadela Rivero, one
of 10 such palace structures at Chan
Chan. It is representative of the later end
of the architectural sequence defined for
these particular buildings. Note that the
compound can be divided into three
distinctive parts (north sector, central
sector, and canchone) with the internal
architectural features represented as
described in the text.
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 263
Figure 3. The Moche-Chicama Region showing the location of the three rural administrative centers mentioned in the text.
taining well planned rooms, courtsS and corridors but of
somewhat less complexity than the architectural config-
urations found within the compounds. A third type of
architecture represented at Chan Chan is the SIAR or
"small irregular agglutinated rooms",35 which probably
served as the residence for the mass of Chan Chan's
population and in which there is considerable evidence
for craft specialization and cottage industry.36
One of the most striking discoveries within the mon-
Compounds in Chan Chan," in Moseley and Day, eds., op. cit. (in
note 11) 119-144.
35. John R. Topic, "The Lower Class at Chan Chan: A Qualitative
Approach, " unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, FIarvard University ( 1977).
36. Idem, ';Lower-Class Social and Economic Organization at
Chan Chan," in Moseley and Day eds., op. cit. (in note 11) 145-
umental architecture is the apparent association of U-
shaped structures called audiencias with contiguous banks
of rooms interpreted by the Chan Chan-Moche Valley
Project as storerooms. These rooms have been hypoth-
esized as storerooms on the basis of their arrangement,
their high single entries, and their total lack of associa-
tion with domestic debris or equipment.
Research in the non-urban areas of the Moche Valley
indicates that during the Late Intermediate Period the
rural sustaining area of Chan Chan was characterized by
a complex system of massive irrigation networks water-
ing huge expanses of field systems.37 Excavation in the
Moche-Chicama region (FIG. 3) at three rural sites that
37. James Kus, "Selected Aspects of Irrigated Agriculture in the
Chimu Heartland, Peru," unpublished doctoral dissertation, Univer-
sity of California Los Angeles (University Microfilms: Ann Arbor
264 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
share repetitive architectural patterns and topographic lo-
cations has facilitated the functional delineation of Chimu
rural administrative centers.38 These sites are character-
ized by structures that incorporate many of the architec-
tural attributes of the Chan Chan palaces and are thought
to have been responsible for the maintenance of state
control over rural land, water, and labor resources. The
occurrence of audencias within the main structures of
these administrative centers (FIGS. 4-5) iS assumed to be
symbolic of the regional extension and economic unity
of state control and authority centered at the capital. In
summary, the association of audiencias with contiguous
rooms thought to have been storerooms, as well as their
location in state rural administrative centers, has led to
the development of a model of Chimu socio-economic
organization in which audiencias are seen as the archi-
tectural expression of the exercise of state control over
the production, storage, and redistribution of goods.39
The archaeological evidence from Chan Chan and its
rural sustaining area in the Moche Valley strongly sug-
gests that Chimu society was characterized by a hierar-
chical social order and a powerful elite that exercised
absolute control over the production, storage, and redis-
tribution of goods. While construction of canals and the
management of rural production were organized through
rural administrative centers, responsibility for the overall
functioning of the economy, together with the adminis-
tration of storage and redistribution, was centralized in
the ciudadelas at Chan Chan. Given this organizational
pattern found in the Chimu heartland it was proposed40
that such a model for the organization of rural production
and the administration of economic resources might per-
haps be extended to other valleys of the Chimu-domi-
1972); Day, 1974 op. cit. (in note 32); Ian S. Farrington, "Irrigation
and Settlement Pattern: Preliminary Research Results from the North
Coast of Peru," in T. E. Downing and McG. G. Gibson, eds., Irri-
gation's Impact on Society, Anthropological Papers of the University
of Arizona 25 (1974) 83-94; idem, ''Land Use, Irrigation and Society
on the North Coast of Peru in the Prehispanic Era," Zeitschrift fur
Bewasserungswirtschaft 12 (1977) 151-186; idem, "The Archaeol-
ogy of Irrigation Canals, with Special Reference to Peru," WA 11
(1980) 287-305; I. S. Farrington and C. C. Park, ''Hydraulic Engi-
neering and Irrigation Agriculture in the Moche Valley, Peru: c. A. D.
1250-1532," JAS 5 (1978) 255-268; Richard W. Keatinge, "Urban
Settlement Systems and Rural Sustaining Communities: An Example
from Chan Chan's Hinterland," JFA 2 (1975) 215-227; F. Nials et
al. op. cit. (in note 25) Parts I and II.
38. Keatinge, op. cit. (in note 16); idem, iiChimu Rural Administra-
tive Centres in the Moche Valley, Peru,'' WA 6 (1974) 66-82.
39. Keatinge and Day, 1973 op. cit. (in note 28) 282-285, idem,
1974 op. cit. (in note 28) 230-232.
40. Keatinge, 1973 op. cit. (in note 28) 292-293.
nated North Coast. One of the primary purposes of the
research described here was to test this proposition.
The Research Focus
Within the North Coast setting the Jequetepeque Val-
ley represents an important though largely neglected area
of research (FIG. 6). Situated some 100 km. north of Chan
Chan, the Jequetepeque Valley (sometimes referred to
as the Pacasmayo Valley) is the third largest valley on
the Peruvian coast in terms of total area (56,184 hec-
tares).41 The agricultural productivity of the valley was
noted as early as 1547 A.C. by Pedro Cieze de Leon42
who described it as one of the most fertile and thickly
settled of the coastal valleys.
The prehistory of the Jequetepeque Valley is little
known. A number of large sites in the valley have been
mentioned in general surveys of the North Coast re-
gion,43 but only the sites of San Jose de Moro44 and
Pacatnamu4s have been the focus of published archaeo-
logical excavations. Moreover, only Kosok's work46 be-
gins to approach a comprehensive overview of the
archaeological problems inherent in a study of the area.
Unfortunately, Kosok's research, which centered on the
nature of the prehistoric irrigation works in the valley,47
41. Luis E. Ortega, El Valle Jequetepeque y Sus Requerimientos de
Riego (Camara de Comercio y Agricultura de Pacasmayo, Pacasmayo,
Peru 1962) 3; David A. Robinson, Peru in Four Dimensions (Amer-
ican Studies Press: Lima 1964) 166- 167.
42. Pedro Cieze de Leon, The Incas of Pedro Cieze de Leon (Uni-
versity of Oklahoma Press: Norman 1959 [1553]) 321-322.
43. Kroeber, op. cit. (in note 21); Schaedel, 1951 op. cit. (in note
23); Eiichiro Ishida, Koichi Aki, Taiji Yazawa, Seiichi Izumi, Hisashi
Sato, Iwao Kobori, Kazuo Terada, and Taryo Obayashi, Andes 1:
University of Tokyo Scientific Expedition to the Andes (Kadokawa
Publishing Co.: Tokyo 1960); Kosok, 1965 op. cit. (in note 23).
44. Hans Dietrich Disselhoff, Gott Muss Peruaner Sein (F. A. Brock-
haus: Wiesbaden 1956); idem, "Tumbas de San Jose de Moro (Prov-
incia de Pacasmayo, Peru)," Proceedings of the Thirty-Second
International Congress of Americanists, Copenhagen (1958) 364-367;
idem, "Cajamarca-Keramik von der Pampa von San Jose de Moro
(Prov. Pacasmayo)," Baessler-Archiv, Neue Folge VI (Berlin 1958)
45. Heinrich Ubbelohde-Doering, "Ceramic Comparisons of Two
North Coast Valleys," op. cit. (in note 23) 224-231; idem, "Bericht
uber archaeologische Feldarbeiten in Peru. II," Ethnos 24 (1959) 1-
32; idem, "Bericht uber archaologische Feldarbeiten in Peru. III,''
Ethnos 25 (1960) 153-182; idem, On the Royal ffighways of the Inca
(Praeger Publishing Co.: New York 1967); Wolfgang Hecker and
Giesela Hecker, "Archaologische Untersuchungen in Pacatnamu, Nord-
Peru," Indiana, Beiheft 9 (Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut Preus-
sischen Kulturbesitz: Berlin 1977) .
46. Kosok, 1965 op. cit. (in note 23) 115-128.
47. See also Herbert H. Eling, Jr., "Interpretaciones Preliminares del
Sistema de Riego Antiguo de Talambo en el Valle de Jequetepeque,
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 265
into the Jequetepeque Valley.52 Ethnohistorical sources
also support this interpretation. According to the chron-
icle of Father Antonio de la Calancha,s3 the Jequete-
peque Valley was annexed to the Chimu Empire when
an expeditionary force sent north from Chan Chan by a
Chimu ruler conquered the valley under the leadership
of a general whose name was Pacatnamu. Meanss4 pro-
vides the following summary translation of the pertinent
parts of Calancha's chronicle.Ss After deciding to con-
quer the Jequetepeque Valley, the Chimu ruler
". . . sent a very brave captain of his, chosen for his skill
from among his most warlike men, into that valley. After
much difficult fighting the victory rested with the captain,
and twelve leagues of territory were thereby added to the
realm of his master, the Chimo The name of the captain
was Pacatnamu . . . After his victory, the Chimo made him
governor of the territory which he had conquered and . . .
the valley was named Pacatnamu in his honor, being today
called corruptly Pacasmayo. The hill upon which the captain
built his house, the remains of which are still to be seen, is
called Pacatnamu to this day . . .
. . . Near this river, and close beside the sea, rise some
mountains three leagues long, quite treeless and, indeed,
entirely sterile, even in the season of rains and mists when
other mountains of the region produce grass and bring forth
flowers. The mountain nearest to the river is that called
Pacatnamu, and today it displays a large number of build-
ings and ruins, some of which were the palace of the Chi-
mo's Governor and his household...."
Kosok56 has suggested that it was a large compound at
another Jequetepeque Valley site, Pacatnamu, which
served as the palace of the governor referred to in Cal-
ancha' s chronicle . Since the 1974 survey, which in-
cluded Pacatnamu, however, it became evident that the
largest compound at that site is neither an anomaly nor
does it bear the striking resemblance to the compounds
at Chan Chan seen in the compounds at Farfan.s7 More-
over, a careful reading of Calancha's chronicle indicates
that there is considerable room for interpretation of the
location of Governor Pacatnamu's palace. The "moun-
involved only surface survey and did not include exca-
vations. Given the general lack of research and published
information on the prehistory of the Jequetepeque Val-
ley, extensive site surveys were undertaken during the
summer of 197448 and during all of 1977.49 These sur-
veys were followed by excavations at the sites of Farfan
and Talambo during the summer of 1978. In the case of
Farfan, the site had previously been assigned to the Chimu
Empire on the basis of "Chan-Chan-like" architecture
and surface sherds noted by Richard Schaedel5 in his
general North Coast survey undertaken in the late 1940s.
Kosok51 makes a brief mention of the site in his work
as well. Together with the research at Chan Chan and
following the 1974 and 1977 surveys of the Jequetepeque
Valley, however, Farfan took on crucial importance in
terms of understanding the politico-economic organiza-
tion of the Chimu Empire.
Located on the ancient inter-valley highway near its
junction with the main road to the highlands, the site of
Farfan stretches along the eastern side of the modern
Panamerican Highway near the center of the valley (FIG.
6). Covering a total area of about 1 sq. km., the site is
ca. 3.5 km. long but never more than 0.25 km. wide,
having been destroyed on the west by construction of the
highway and on the east by encroaching farmlands. The
major architecture at the site consists of six compounds
strung in a line next to the highway (FIG. 7). Like the
much larger compounds at Chan Chan, these structures
at Farfan are constructed of adobe brick. Most of these
compounds have sustained considerable interior damage
from looters and bulldozers, while much of the terrain
outside of them has been disturbed by gravel miners and
cultivation. Nevertheless, a number of additional fea-
tures including looted cemeteries, platforms, small struc-
tures, and canals can still be seen.
The results of the previous surveys indicated that Far-
fan very likely represented a Chimu site unit intrusion
52. Keatinge et al., op. cit. (in note 14); Keatinge, 1977 op. cit. (in
note 14); idem, 1981 op. cit. (in note 14).
53. Father Antonio de la Calancha, Coronica Moralizada del Orden
de San Augustfn en el Peru, con Sucesos Egenplares en esta Monarquia
(Pedro Lacavalleria: Barcelona 1638), Book III, Chapters I and II.
54. Means, op. cit. (in note 15) 56-57.
55. Calancha, loc. cit. (in note 53).
56. Kosok, 1965 op. cit. (in note 23) 123.
57. Keatinge, 1977 op. cit. (in note 14) 229-245; idem, 1982 op.
cit. (in note 14) 207.
Peru,'' in Ramiro Matos, ed., Actas y Trabajos del III Congreso
Peruano, El fIombre y la Cultura Andina 2 (1978) 401-419.
48. Keatinge et al. op. cit. (in note 14); Keatinge, 1977 op. cit. (in
note 14); idem, 1981 op. cit. (in note 14).
49. Idem, 'iArchaeology and Development: The Tembladera Sites of
the Peruvian North Coast, ' ' JFA 7 (1980) 467-475; idem? i 'Economic
Development and Cultural Resource Management in the Third World:
An Example from Peru,'' JAR 38 (1982) 211-226.
50. Schaedel, 1951 op. cit. (in note 23) 235.
51. Kosok, 1965 op. cit. (in note 23) 123.
266 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritoryfKeatinge and Conrad
O 1 3 5 lOm.
Scale M.
Figure 4. Plan of the main structure at the rural administrative center of E1 Milagro de San Jose (H160506) located in
the Moche Valley. Note particularly the architectural details of the structure, including the location and folm of the
five audiencias, the pilastered doorways, entry patterns, niched walls, and the narrow rooms without doors at the rear
of the building.
x r O r C
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 267
O 1 3 5 lOm.
-__ - ,
Figure 5. Plan of the main structure at the rural administrative center of Quebrada del Oso (G1235) located on the
southern side of the Chicama Valley, between the Moche and Jequetepeque regions. Note the architectural details of
the building and compare them to those shown in Figures 2 and 4.
268 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
Figure 6. The lower Jequetepeque Valley, showing the location of Pacatnamu ( 1), Farfan (2), and Calara de
Talambo (11), as well as the following major sites: Cerro Faclo (3), Singan (4), Anlape (5), Portachuelo de
Charcape (6), Las Estacas (7), San Jose de Moro (8), Cerro Chepen (9), Chavin de Calara (10), Ventanillas (12),
Nambol (13), Sisnan (14), and Dos Cabezas (15).
tain nearest the river" which is part of a chain of moun-
tains "three leagues long" (a Spanish league is equal to
ca. 3 miles) on which Pacatnamu is supposed to have
built his palace could easily be a reference to the chain
of hills running to the west of Farfan, which coinciden-
tally is ca. 9 miles long. Compound II at Farfan (FIG. 7)
which contains a burial platform, an audiencia, and banks
of contiguous rooms like those found at Chan Chan, is
located at the SE foot of these hills, nearest to the Je-
quetepeque River. Following the pattern known from the
compounds at Chan Chan, these associated architectural
features, especially the presence of a burial platform in-
dicating the interment of a person of high status,58 strongly
suggest that this particular compound may have been
Governor Pacatnamu's palace.
58. Cf. Conrad, 1981 op. cit. (in note 33) 3-26; idem, 1982 loc. cit.
(in note 33).
Given limited time and financial resources, together
with the dilapidated condition of much of the site, ex-
cavations were concentrated in Compound II (FIG. 8), the
only compound at Farfan containing a burial platform.
The other five compounds at Farfan are viewed as sec-
ondary structures subordinate to Compound II. They are
not as well preserved as Compound II, and survey sug-
gests that they were never as complicated architecturally.
One other compound may contain an audiencialstore-
room complex, and another may contain an isolated au-
diencia. None has a burial platform. No excavations were
conducted in these other compounds, but samples of
bricks from all of them were measured for chronological
Briefly, the excavations in Compound II revealed many
features which, though not always identical to those
known from the Moche Valley, strongly confirm the
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 269
Figure 7. Base map of Farfan (PM6994) showing the six
compounds strung along the modern Panamerican Highway.
270 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
10 20 3 40 mis.
-/,,,,,. LOOTING
. .
_ _ _ _ _
o o - M
o > o > o
o oo oo o o
Figure 8. Plan of Compound II showing the architectural features discussed in the text.
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 271
interpretation of Farfan as an intrusive Chimu imperial
center. The main northern entrance to the compound
consists of a pilastered doorway once adorned with six
carved wooden figures, three on each side of the door-
way. Four of these figures were found partially intact,
each depicting the same design: a large, crouching feline
seated behind a small human figure (FIG. 9). This partic-
ular combination of elements occurs in the iconography
of earlier North Coast societies as well.59 Several turns
beyond this doorway lies an open entry court with two
low parallel benches along either side and a two-tiered
niched platform running across its southern end. Each
niche contains a small adobe step-fret as decoration (FIG.
10). A ramp provides access to the top of the first tier of
this platform. Entry to the area of administrative archi-
tecture on the south side of this platform is provided via
a doorway on the eastern side of the entry court. Once
entrance to this area has been obtained, the higher or
second tier of the platform is accessible by a short lateral
ramp. Access to an audiencia with "bins" in its walls
(FIG. 11) iS attained by following a series of narrow cor-
ridors which originally led past two binned benches or
platforms. A trench excavated through the floor of the
audiencia to a depth of ca. 2 m. revealed a dedicatory
burial of a young female (FIG. 12), an identical pattern
previously known from Chan Chan.60 The grave goods
accompanying this burial included a stirrup-spouted ves-
sel of early Imperial Chimu form. At the north end of
this same trench a second burial was encountered be-
neath a layer of construction fill and domestic refuse.
This second burial was that of an aged adult female and
included ceramics of Early (i.e. Pre-Imperial) Chimu date
in both the grave and associated domestic refuse.
Immediately west of the audiencia is a series of con-
tiguous rooms that follow the same pattern as similar
rooms known from Chan Chan. Just as in the Moche
Valley, the bins of the audiencia and the floors of the
associated contiguous rooms were completely bare of
artifactual material attesting to their precise function.
Pollen, soil, and flotation analyses of samples retrieved
for detailed study have been inconclusive so far; further
tests are in progress. Beyond the administrative archi-
tecture, a walled, raised causeway leads to the area of
the burial platform. This large structure had been heavily
looted by Colonial Spanish treasure hunters. Human bone
and artifactual material consisting of fine textiles and
pieces of fancy funerary ceramics were found scattered
throughout the looters' backdirt, clearly attesting both to
the function of the structure and the status of its occu-
59. Cf. James A. Ford, "The History of a Peruvian Valley," SAm
191 (1954), figure of "Cat-God" on p. 32.
60. Andrews, 1974 op. cit. (in note 32) 250.
pant. Two groups of contiguous rooms were found lo-
cated behind the burial platform, but like the similar
rooms in the administrative architecture, these, too, were
completely empty.
The identification of Farfan as the "real" Pacatnamu
would seem to be strengthened by the fact that, in con-
trast to the site of Pacatnamu, Farfan is ideally located
for the exercise of politico-economic control of the val-
ley. Given the Chimu pattern of centralized control over
strategic resources and the organization of production
and distribution, the location of Farfan fits the Chimu
administrative pattern much better than does the site of
Pacatnamu. Thus, considering Calancha's chronicle, ar-
chitectural features, and location, the site of Farfan seems
to represent a much better candidate for Governor Pa-
catnamu's administrative center than does the site which
today bears the name of Pacatnamu.
Summary of Relative Chronology
Farfan bears evidence of four periods of occupation:
Early or Pre-Imperial Chimu, Imperial Chimu, Chimu-
Inca, and Colonial.
Traces of Pre-Imperial Chimu were found in only one
place, below the audiencia in Compound II. It was most
likely a lower-class occupation and apparently predates
the Chimu conquest of the region by several centuries.
The occupation was not extensive, and there does not
seem to be any substantial architecture associated with
The Imperial Chimu occupation is the most important
one for our purposes. Ceramics from the dedicatory buri-
al found beneath the floor of the audiencia and from the
burial platform indicate that Farfan was founded during
early Imperial Chimu times. More specifically, our data
indicate that Compound II should be cross-dated with
one particular early Imperial Chimu building at Chan
Chan, the Uhle compound (FIG. 13). In particular, the
form of the audiencia in the administrative architecture
at Farfan suggests this chronological alignment: at Chan
Chan, bins with low lips such as found at Farfan occur
only in the audiencias located in Uhle (cf. FIGS. 8,13).
Hence, ceramics and audiencias provide consistent dates
for the construction of Compound II.
Measurements of adobe bricks also correlate Com-
pound II with the early segment of Chan Chan's occu-
pation, but not specifically with the Uhle compound.
Kolata's brick sequence for Chan Chan is based on the
mean height:width ratio of the bricks in a building, which
increases through time. (This ratio ranges from 0.572 in
Chayhuac, the earliest major compound in Chan Chan,
272 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
0 1 234 5cm.
Figure 9. A composite reconstruction drawing of the carved wooden figures that once adorned the doorway to
Compound II indicated in Figure 8. Though in various stages of decay due to termite infestation, four of the original
six figures were found in place and utilized in reconstructing the carving of a large feline crouched behind a smaller
human figure. Traces of white paint found on the feline head of one of the figures indicates that the carvings were
once more elaborately decorated.
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 273
Figure 10. Close-up photograph of two of the niches found on the north side of the platform dividing the entry court
from the administrative architecture in Compound II. Following a checkerboard pattern, these niches once covered
virtually the entire north side of the platform and both sides of the ramp, each niche containing a small step-fret figure
executed in adobe.
Figure 11. Post-excavation photograph of the binned audiencia found in the administrative architecture of Compound
II at Farfan. Note the ramp visible in the left-center of the photograph which gave access to an elevated section of the
structure which was once roofed. The front part of this elevated section had been disturbed by looters prior to the
excavation activities described here thus explaining the dilapidated condition of the area shown in the center of the
structure. After this photograph was taken, the trench shown in Figure 12 was excavated across the center of the floor
of the audiencia in order to locate a dedicatory burial.
Table 1. Brick measurements from Compound II, Farfan.
Provenience Dimension Range Mean
Audiencia/Store- height 8-1S cm. 10.1 cm.
room Complex width 15-22 cm. 17.7 cm.
(n- 113) height:width ratio 0.44-0.83 0.57
Burial Platform height 8-15 cm. 10.0 cm.
(n- 140) width 14-25 cm. 18.0 cm.
height:width ratio 0.40-0. 88 0.56
274 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
to 1.620 in Rivero, the latest.)61 Table 1 presents data
on the bricks from the audiencialstoreroom complex and
the burial platform in Compound II at Farfan. While all
of the individual height:width ratios fall within the range
of Chan Chan bricks, the mean values are lower than the
ones Kolata obtained for various segments of Uhle
(0.652-0.707). In fact, the mean values for Compound
II are very close to the mean value for Chayhuac, the
first large compound erected at Chan Chan. Since all
other evidence favors cross-dating Compound II with
Uhle, the second of the Chan Chan compounds, we re-
ject a correlation with Chayhuac derived from adobe
bricks alone. Instead, we suggest that while the general
trend of Kolata's Chan Chan sequence (increasing
height:width ratio through time) probably holds for Chimu
sites outside the Moche Valley, distant provincial sites
cannot be coIrelated with specific buildings in Chan Charl
on the basis of mean brick ratios. In other words, each
valley of the Chimu Empire probably needs its own brick
sequence; precise cross-datings must come from multiple
lines of evidence.
Preliminary results of the brick analysis do indicate
that all the other major architectural components of Far-
fan were built at the same time as Compound II. Ap-
parently the entire site was erected in a single burst of
construction. Thereafter Imperial Chimu construction was
confined to minor remodeling.
There were several episodes of remodeling in Com-
pound II. The most important changes for our purposes
were the sealing off of the audiencia and the closing of
the associated storerooms in the administrative architec-
ture, plus the closing of access to the burial platform and
the northern row of storerooms immediately behind it.
The Chimu-Inca and Colonial occupations are not rel-
evant to our purposes here. The former, however, does
show that the compound remained in use after the Inca
Conquest of the Chimu Empire, ca. 1465 A.C. When the
compound finally fell out of use, probably at the time
of the Spanish Conquest (1532 A.C.), small groups of
lower-class families moved in and established a brief
squatter occupation indicated by rough foundation walls
and domestic refuse in such places as the main entry to
the compound. Several glazed sherds date the squatter
occupation to the early Spanish Colonial era.
Radiocarbon Dates
The six carbon-14 dates from Compound II are listed
in Table 2. (All results are given in radiocarbon years,
61. Kolata, 1978 op. cit. (in note 17). Kolata (p. 190) did in fact
measure a small sample of bricks from Farfan, which yielded a mean
height:width ratio of 0.732. Sampling error may account for the dis-
crepancy between this value and our own results.
without dendrochronological correlations.) Since the dates
are scattered and several of them are anomalous, the
series merits detailed discussion.
The crucial sample is GX-6832, which consisted of
wood found in a post hole atop the eastern side of the
burial platform. In the Chimu Empire burial platforms
were extremely prestigious funerary places reserved for
the highest nobility: at Chan Chan the right to be interred
in a burial platform was a royal prerogative.62 Architec-
tural and ceramic evidence shows that the platform at
Farfan was used and then sealed off at an early point in
the occupation of Compound II. We believe that the
platform was used for only one high-status funeral that
of the first chief administrator at the site ('4Governor
Pacatnamu") after which it was made inaccessible. A
wooden post atop the platform should, therefore, provide
a date fairly close to the construction of Compound II.
The date of GX-6832, 1 155 + 130 A.C., iS consistent
with its architectural context and ceramic associations.
Furthermore, it agrees well with a date of 1 195 + 150
A.C. (GX-3253) from a cane segment marker in one of
the walls of the Uhle compound at Chan Chan,63 and
with assays of 1135+80 A.C. (I-7910) and 1225+80
A.C. (I-7911) from El Milagro de San Jose, an early
Imperial Chimu rural administrative center in the Moche
Valley (FIG. 4).64 Hence the ceramic, architectural, and
radiocarbon cross-datings between Farfan and Moche
Valley sites are all compatible with one another; the bnck
correlations are weaker but still consistent with an early
Imperial Chimu date for the construction of Compound
II. Taken together, the various lines of evidence place
62. Conrad, 1981 loc. cit (in note 33); idem, 1982 loc. cit. (in note
63. Moseley, op. cit. (in note 28) 224.
64. The ages of samples GX-3253, I-7910, and I-7911 given above
have been corrected for 813C. The uncorrected dates are 1220+150?
1325+80, and 1255+80 A.C. respectively. 813C iS a measure of the
ratio of Carbon 13 to Carbon 12, which affects the outcome of radio-
carbon dates. Conventional (uncorrected) radiocarbon dates are cal-
culated by using the postulated mean 813C value of terrestrial wood,
-25%. If the actual 813C value of a sample is tested and found to be
different from -25%, the date is corrected accordingly. For more
detail see Minze Stuiver and Henry A. Polach, ''Discussion: Report-
ing of 14C Data,?' Radiocarbon 19 (1977) 355-363. N a Ls @,Y v ,, , ,LY Y i Y v v v x Y V_y V v < y 9 y <9 * , w 9 ,, . ' IL * ww-y v V X
- J ' _ ,
_ _ _ _ _ _
_ , ,,n,7, FLOOR
e 20 4e 6e cm u TANGRAVELLYSILT
- ----- TRENCH
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 275
Figure 12. Profile drawing of the east
face of the trench excavated beneath the
floor of the audiencia shown in Figure
11. The location of this trench can be
seen by examining the elevation profile
of Compound II shown in Figure 8.
Note the location of the dedicatory
burial at the southern end of the trench,
directly beneath the elevated section of
the audiencia, and the burial at the
northern end of the trench apparently
associated with an earlier occupation.
Figure 13. Plan of Ciudadela Uhle, one of the early palace structures constructed at Chan Chan and thought to be
contemporary with Compound II in Farfan. While the definite, tripartite division of later ciudadelas such as Rivero
(FIG. 2) iS not yet clearly apparent in Uhle, many other architectural attributes can nevertheless be seen. Note especially
the several different forms of audiencias, the entry courts, pilastered doorways, access patterns, narrow rooms, and
storerooms. Of particular importance is the binned audiencia type indicated by the arrow. This type of audiencia is
similar in plan to the one located in Compound II at Farfan and constitutes one piece of evidence arguing for the
contemporaneity of the two buildings. Drawing after Moseley and Mackey op. cit. (in note 30).
L t sw N au L 8 i s ' i j r
L +- 0 rLi L
_ - m t9X. t 't ,,@^.e,.> > L
-; 1
S % -.j
--- r k L>
, I I I ..
11 '' 1:
J 0 5
14., , I
., I .is S 1l . . _
<e,@ 0-!- |l ,,
SPt r. r 1,,, C1 I _ | [ A z n_- i4 -,P--- 0 n F < r ;
Age in radio-
Age in radio- carbon years,
Laboratory carbon years correctedfor
# Provenience Material (5570 half-life) 813C 813C
GX-6829 interior of cat termite- 450 + 120
figure, main eaten wood B.P.
entrance residues 1500 A.C.
GX-6830 post hole in " 420 + 115
upper bench of B.P.
audiencia 1530 A.C.
I-11,273 760 + 75 B.P. -28.5% 700 + 75 B.P.
1 l90 A.C. 1250 A.C.
GX-6833 post hole, " 535 + 125
Room 5, B.P.
southern row 1415 A.C.
of " store-
rooms" behind
burial platform
GX-6832 post hole, east wood 795 + 130
tier of burial B.P.
platform 1155 A.C.
GX-6831 Early Chimu mixed 405 + 130 - 17.0% 530 + 130
occupation, carbonized B.P. B.P.
trench beneath plant 1545 A.C. 1420 A.C.
audiencia remains
276 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
Table 2. Radiocarbon dates from
Compound II, Farfan.
the Chimu conquest of the Jequetepeque Valley and the
founding of Farfan ca. 1200 A.C.
Samples GX-6833 and GX-6829 were derived from
wooden posts and figures in locations that remained ac-
cessible throughout the Imperial Chimu and Chimu-Inca
occupations of Compound II. In both cases the wood had
been almost completely eaten away by termites. The ex-
tent of the damage itself suggests that wooden posts,
beams, etc., in accessible locations had to be replaced
periodically as part of the routine maintenance of the
compound. Accordingly, GX-6833 and GX-6829 should
fall within the Imperial Chimu and Chimu-Inca occu-
pations of the compound, but they need not date its con-
struction . These two assays, 1415 + 125 and 1500 + 120
A.C., are, therefore, perfectly acceptable.
The dates of I-11,273 and GX-6830 are equivocal.
These two assays, which do not overlap within their 1-
sigma ranges, were run on a split sample of termite-eaten
wood from a single post hole in the floor of the audien-
cia. As noted above, access to the audiencia was sealed
at some point during the occupation of the compound.
I-11,273 (1250+75 A.C.) suggests that the audiencia
was closed at an early date, perhaps at the time of the
sealing of the burial platform. In contrast, GX-6830
( 1530 + 1 15 A.C.) argues that the audiencia remained open
until much later. Since we cannot explain the discrep-
ancy between the two dates, we cannot say which inter-
pretation is correct.
Finally, GX-6831 is simply a bad date, even after
correction for 813C. The sample was made up of carbon-
ized plant remains, presumably domestic refuse, from
the Early (Pre-Imperial) Chimu occupation found below
the audiencia. Stratigraphically this sample was the old-
est of the entire series; associated ceramics indicate that
it should have yielded a date ca. 900-1000 A.C. The
actual result, 1420+ 130 A.C., iS several centuries too
late. We should add, however, that GX-6831 "had an
exceptionally high ash content and low carbon content,
despite a good, charred vegetation appearance."65 The
poor quality of the sample may explain its anomalous
Summary of Excavations at Talambo
Following completion of the work at Farfan, excava-
tions were initiated at the site of Talambo. Located 12
km. upvalley from Farfan (FIG. 6), Talambo (also referred
to as La Calera de Talambo) overlooks the Jequetepeque
River at a point where the lower valley flattens out into
a wide, flat alluvial triangle demarcating the most agri-
culturally productive area of the valley (FIG. 14). All the
65. Laboratory report dated 17 June 1980; Geochron Laboratories
Division, Krueger Enterprises, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 277
MODERN CANALS - ................ .. .. _
Figure 14. Map of Talambo. Note especially that all the modern irrigation canals watering the lower valley must run
through the narrow gap between Cerro Pitura and Cerro Talambo. The location of the rural administrative center is
indicated by the arrow.
278 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
modern irrigation canals watering this lower valley re-
gion either have their intake points near the site of Tal-
ambo or pass through the narrow (ca. 1 km. wide) section
of the valley dominated by the site. Clearly, this must
have been the case for centuries, thus suggesting the
importance of Talambo as a strategic control point both
for the lower valley irrigation networks and for up- and
down-valley trade or communication routes.
Of particular importance is the fact that the present-
day maximum elevation canal for the north side of the
valley runs immediately next to the site. This modern
canal follows the route of the ancient maximum elevation
canal that once carried water from the Jequetepeque River
northwards towards the Zana Valley. In fact, at the point
where the modern canal ends at the edge of the Jequete-
peque Valley, the ancient canal can clearly be seen, con-
tinuing north across what is now a desert wasteland
covered with abandoned irrigation networks and ancient
field systems.
The site of Talambo encompasses numerous archae-
ological features, including three truncated pyramid
mounds, a large rectangular compound, many smaller
buildings, cemeteries, individual walls, and various con-
structions scattered along the hillside overlooking the main
area of the site. Surface survey of both the architecture
and ceramics indicates that the site has a long occupa-
tional sequence, possibly beginning with the Early Ho-
rizon (1200-200 B.C.) and continuing until the Spanish
Conquest (1532 A.C.).
Excavations at Talambo were concentrated in one small
stone-walled structure (FIG. 15) located in the northern
part of the site. This particular building had been singled
out for investigation as a possible Chimu rural admin-
istrative center as a result of previous survey of the site.66
The results of the research described here unequivocally
indicate that this structure at Talambo is in the same class
as those found at the rural administrative centers known
from the Moche and Chicama Valleys (cf. FIGS. 4-5 with
FIG. 15). Entry into the northerly directed building is
through a single entry in the northern wall. This doorway
provides access to an entry court which contains two
low, parallel benches of unknown function and a small
undecorated stone platform running across its southern
end. By passing through a corridor skirting the eastern
side of the platform, one reaches the rear of the com-
pound and can either proceed up a short ramp to the top
of the platform or into a small court in front of the binned
66. Richard W. Keatinge, "Reconocimiento de Sitios Arqueologicos
Efectuados por el Proyecto de Irrigacion Jequetepeque-Zana. Informe
Preliminar," presented to the Centro de Investigacion y Restauracion
de Bienes Monumentales, Instituto Nacional de Cultura (Lima 1977)
audiencia located at the rear of the building. Access to
the audiencis is via a small ramp and through a typically
Chimu entry system, consisting of a pilastered doorway
and tortuous corridor (cf. FIGS. 5, 15). The audiencia itself
is constructed of stone and has five low-lipped bins set
into its walls. There are several empty rooms immedi-
ately to its east and behind it is a dead-end corridor,
another typically Chimu pattern.
The architectural parallels between this structure at
Talambo and Compound II at Farfan are very clear.
Though the compound at Farfan is constructed in adobe
brick and the much smaller structure at Talambo is built
in stone, the two buildings nevertheless appear to share
a very similar plan (cf. FIGS. 8, 15). Indeed, the small
compound at Talambo is essentially a miniature replica
of the NE sector of Compound II at Farfan. Both have
entry courts with low parallel benches and a small plat-
form across their southern end. Access to the area con-
taining the audiencia is, in both cases, via a corridor
skirting the eastern side of the platform. Once on the
southern side of the platform, a short lateral ramp rises
to the top of the platform, or one can continue on to the
area containing the audiencia. Of particular significance
for dating purposes, both the audiencia at Farfan and the
one at Talambo contain bins in their walls, which by
themselves strongly suggest the contemporaneity of the
two structures.
With the exception of the small platform dividing the
entry court from the area containing the audiencia, many
of the basic architectural attributes found at both Farfan
and Talambo are identical to those known from Chan
Chan and the rural administrative centers in the Moche
and Chicama Valleys such as E1 Milagro de San Jose
and Quebrada del Oso. The use of platforms with access
provided to the top via a ramp originating from a re-
stricted area behind them may be a regional variation
indicating a certain degree of assimilation of local ar-
chitectural canons. Platforms utilized in this particular
fashion are unknown at Chan Chan, though the use of
small decorative niches covering walls, like those on the
north side of the tiered platform in Compound II at Farfan,
is quite common. Platforms of this type are, however,
known from the site of Pacatnamu in the Jequetepeque
Valley,67 where one particularly good example (FIG. 16)
includes a ramp rising from a compound to the top of a
platform (whose northern side may once have been
painted) where the foundation of a small U-shaped struc-
ture can still be seen.
The excavated structure at Talambo also shares several
non-architectural features with its counterparts to the
south. Like other known Chimu rural administrative cen-
67. Idem, 1977 op. cit. (in note 14) fig. 7, p. 241.
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 279
| __ 3o ] RISE OF RAMP
O 1 2 4 5 _ _ _
Figure 15. Plan of the Chimu rural administrative center at Talambo (PM800920). Note the similarity in plan between
this stralcture and Compound II at Farfan (Fl&. 8) as well as with the plan of Quebrada del Oso (FICi 5).
280 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
building at Talambo was a local administrative center
subordinate to Farfan. This particular hierarchical ar-
rangement is evident in the greater complexity of Farfan,
which implies a wider range of activities to perform and
duties to fulfill.
It thus seems plausible that Chimu centers in the valley
were imposed rather than co-opted, at least on the high-
est levels of the hierarchy. Farfan did not have an ex-
tensive occupation in the epoch immediately preceding
the Chimu conquest, and there is no earlier occupation
of any kind immediately associated with the rural ad-
ministrative center at Talambo. The total site area of La
Calera de Talambo has not been explored, and there may
be an immediately pre-Chimu occupation somewhere in
the broader site zone.68 There is none, however, in the
isolated sector of the site where the structure discussed
here is located.
So far, the Chimu centers in the Jequetepeque Valley
fit the Inca model quite well. The valley apparently did
not have a strongly centralized government immediately
before the Chimu conquest. It seems likely that the val-
ley had been divided into a number of political units,
and the local nobilities and centers of power may have
been incorporated into the Chimu government on lower
levels of the hierarchy. This possibility, however, re-
mains to be explored through future research.
As imposed centers, Farfan and the rural administra-
tive center at Talambo were built according to the ar-
chitectural canons of the imperial capital, Chan Chan.
Compound II, the principal structure at Farfan, has many
features typical of the most important compounds at Chan
Chan. In a general sense, Compound II's overall config-
uration has the following major similarities to the con-
temporaneous Uhle compound at Chan Chan: N-S
orientation, entry in the north, storerooms in the center
and rear, a binned audiencia, a burial platform in the
rear (cf. FIGS. 8, 13). Compound II, however, is smaller
and simpler than the Uhle compound and does not rep-
resent an attempt to duplicate the latter structure as closely
as possible. In contrast, the rural administrative center
at Talambo is clearly intended to be a smaller, less elab-
orate replica of the entry and administrative architecture
of Compound II.
Both Farfan and the rural administrative center at Tal-
ambo are "empty" or "artificial'', rather than heavily
populated centers. Very little space at Farfan is actually
occupied by domestic quarters, and the site very likely
housed only high-ranking Chimu officials and their re-
tainers. The people who supported Farfan by working
agricultural fields elsewhere in the valley did not reside
0 5 iO 15 20
' w
Figure 16. Plan of Complex B-10 at the site of Pacatnamu in the
Jequetepeque Valley (FIG 6). The use of raised platforms with access
to the top provided by a ramp from the rear, like those found in the
structures at Farfan and Talambo, may represent an architectural
pattern indigenous to the Jequetepeque Valley which was
incorporated within general Chimu architectural canons. Note
especially the large pilastered doorway and the remains of a small
U-shaped structure located on the summit of the raised platform.
Access to the top of the platform could only be gained via the
ascending ramp onginating in the compound to the rear of the
platform. Once on the summit, one could then look out over the
small court in front (i.e., to the north) of the platform.
ters, the building at Talambo is located in a rural, agri-
culturally productive area of the valley, and it is situated
near a maximum elevation canal at a point providing
control of an important section of the valley irrigation
network. In terms of hierarchy of settlement, then, there
seems little doubt that the functions of the building at
Talambo were subordinated to those at Farfan, just as
the functions of the rural administrative centers in the
Moche and Chicama Valleys were subordinated to those
of the huge compounds at Chan Chan.
To date, our examination of the Late Intermediate Pe-
riod in the Jequetepeque Valley indicates that after con-
quering the valley during an early stage of their expansion,
the Chimu established a hierarchy of administrative cen-
ters. Farfan was the provincial capital, while the small
68. See Keatinge, 1982 op. cit. (in note 49) for greater discussion of
this point.
Journal r Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 281
at the site. La Calera de Talambo as a whole has a large
population covering a considerable period of time, but
the rural administrative center is set apart from the densely
populated sectors of the site; the structure itself could
have housed only a few people. Again, the Chimu ad-
ministrative centers in the Jequetepeque Valley show a
rather good fit with the Inca model (and, for that matter,
with Chan Chan, whose population can reasonably be
argued to have consisted largely of state personnel).69
This hierarchy of administrative centers served to su-
pervise the social, political, economic, and religious life
of the valley to regulate the flow of energy, matter,
and information, in the language of systems theory.
Within the context of an economy based on labor taxa-
tion, Chimu centers in the Jequetepeque Valley might
have managed any or all of the following: resources (ag-
ricultural land, irrigation water, other natural resources),
labor (people), products (food, manufactured goods), or
communication and transportation. Our evidence indi-
cates that lower-order administrative centers control a
smaller number of these things, but do so more directly.
As one moves up the hierarchy, centers control a greater
number of entities, but do so less and less directly. The
topmost officials are most immediately concerned with
the processing of information with high-level decisions
and the coordination of lower-order controls.70
To begin documenting these claims we must ask what
Farfan was in a position to control. Did the site command
resources, and if so, which ones? Consider first agricul-
tural land, and particularly state-owned land. Farfan lies
on the western edge of what is today the most heavily
cultivated part of the lower valley. While direct evidence
is lacking because of modern agricultural use of this
area, it seems reasonable to assume that this area was
also in use during the time Farfan was occupied. Addi-
tional areas of what are clearly abandoned prehistoric
field and canal systems, very likely state-owned farm-
lands, are found on the Pampa Cerro Colorado some 15
km. north of Farfan. In the case of irrigation water,
Farfan does not lie along the primary (maximum eleva-
tion) canal for the north side of the valley, though it
likely received its water supply from major secondary
canals. The nearest point at which the valley's irrigation
system can be physically controlled is Talambo, some
12 km. away. Farfan is not situated near any other im-
portant natural resources (metalliferous ores, etc.). With
the possible exception of the agricultural fields to the
69. Moseley, op. cit. (in note 28) 219-225; Topic, op. cit. (in note
35); idem, op. cit. (in note 36) 145-176.
70. E.g., Henry T. Wright and Gregory A. Johnson, "Population,
Exchange, and Early State Formation in Southwestern Iran," AmAnth
77 (1975) 267.
east, if Farfan controlled resources, it did so only indi-
rectly, by exercising power over other sites closer to the
resources themselves.
If Farfan was not directly supervising resources or the
labor needed to turn those resources into finished prod-
ucts, was it controlling the finished products themselves?
This question leads into the problem of what was in the
storerooms. There are three possibilities: food, utilitarian
items, and high-status goods. Analyses of the soil, pol-
len, and flotation samples from the storerooms were in-
tended to discriminate among these possibilities, but so
far have proved inconclusive.
No significant food plants were detected through either
flotation or palynology. To date, flotation samples have
produced only flecks of charcoal and unidentified root-
lets, presumably from local wild plants now growing on
the site. The soil samples have yielded pollen from sev-
eral local wild plants, but not from plants of economic
importance;7l furthermore, control samples from outside
areas and storeroom fill are not distinguishable from the
storeroom floor samples. At this point it looks as if the
storerooms were definitely not being used to hold food.
The fact that the storerooms were carefully guarded
while the compound was in use and then systematically
emptied suggests that they were used for valued goods,
not utilitarian items. The latter possibility, however, de-
serves to be examined. The range of utilitarian items that
might have been in the rooms is large (plain pottery,
undecorated cloth, wooden tools, etc.), and many of these
goods would leave no traces after they had been re-
moved. One class of objects that could have left traces
that could be detected analytically, is tools and weapons
of copper. If the storerooms contained copper imple-
ments, then oxidization and corrosion of the copper might
have left copper salts in the soil.72 Accordingly, a series
of soil samples were tested with an Orion Oxalyzer Model
407A analog meter and a Model S 1 copper-sensing elec-
trode. With the meter calibrated to detect concentrations
of copper in the range of 1-10 parts per millionS none
of the samples yielded any traces of the metal. The tests
were repeated with the meter calibrated for maximum
sensitivity (concentrations of 0.1-1 ppm); the results were
again negative. It seems highly unlikely, then, that the
rooms contained copper implements.
The careful guarding and later systematic emptying of
the storerooms make high-status goods their most likely
contents. Again, there are different kinds of high-status
goods, many of which would leave no traces after re-
71. Robert Kautz, personal communication, 1981.
72. In North Coast archaeological sites, bones, textiles, etc., that
have been in contact with copper usually bear greenish stains from
copper salts.
282 Chimu Administration of a Conquered TerritorylKeatinge and Conrad
moval. Silver artifacts might have left traces, and we
had hoped to test soil samples for silver salts with the
Orion Oxalyzer and a Model D1 silver-sensing electrode.
It turned out, however, thatS in contrast to copper, very
low concentrations of silver cannot be detected with the
Orion equipment. We are still seeking an alternative
method of checking for silver salts, though we are doubt-
ful that any will be found.
IfS as seems most probable, the storerooms held pres-
tigious artifacts, they were not being used to stockpile
large quantities of high-status goods for general imperial
purposes. The number of storerooms at Farfan is small-
42 in Compound II, and a smaller number in the rest of
the compounds combined (in contrast, a typical Chan
Chan compound contains several hundred storerooms).
Furthermore, architectural evidence implies that the
storerooms in Compound II were personally associated
with the highest-ranking official at the site. This asso-
ciation seems particularly clear in the case of the store-
rooms located immediately behind the burial platform.
Access to these rooms as well as the burial platform itself
was blocked by a sealed doorway, presumably at the
time the Chimu governor (Pacatnamu?) was interred in
the platform. The sealing off of the storerooms thus im-
plies that the goods placed in the rooms were under the
direct control of that official, used to symbolize and rein-
force his status, and perhaps doled out spanngly to lower-
level local officials to insure their loyalty to the valley's
Chimu overlords.
The overall implication is that Farfan controlled fin-
ished products only indirectly. Some items may have
been produced at the site, but only a small number were
stored there permanently. Furthermore, the latter were
the personal wealth of specific individual(s).
If Farfan could supervise resources, labor, and prod-
ucts only at second or third hand, it could directly control
communication and transportation. The site is located
centrally in the valley and is connected to the imperial
capital at Chan Chan by the main prehistoric coastal
highway. The best prehistoric (and modern) route to Ca-
jamarca, the capital of a highland state allied to the Chimu
Empire, leaves the coastal highway immediately south
of Farfan and heads inland along the north side of the
Jequetepeque Valley. In other words, Farfan is ideally
located for the transfer of information between the im-
perial capital and the local provincial administration, as
well as between the imperial capital and an allied high-
land state.
Farfan's major functions, then, were as follows. Ad-
ministrators at the site received major policy decisions
from the capital; collected information from lower-order
centers exercising more direct control over resources,
labor, and products; made the decisions necessary to im-
plement the capital's orders; delegated responsibility to
lower-order centers; and coordinated the latter's activi-
ties. Administrators at Farfan then relayed the results of
previous orders and other necessary information back to
the capital for new top-level policy decisions. In addi-
tion, Farfan then supervised resources and goods, not
through large-scale and long-term storage, for which there
are no facilities at the site, but by overseeing their ship-
ment back to the capital.
In contrast to Farfan, the lower-order center at Tal-
ambo lay much closer to important resources and super-
vised them much more directly. In particular, the structure
is in a position to control agricultural land and irrigation
water, as well as labor. Talambo overlooks prime agri-
cultural land. We do not know whether this land was
owned by the state or by local kin-groups in Chimu times,
and we will probably not be able to resolve this point
archaeologically, since the land is still under cultivation.
Early Colonial legal documents from the Jequetepeque
Valley might well answer this question,73 if appropriate
ones can be located.
Control of irrigation water was probably the site's most
important function. Beginning at Talambo, canals
diverge to water the much larger cultivable acreage of
the lower valley. All water headed for the north side of
the lower valley, which has much more farmland than
the south side, could be controlled by Talambo. Included
therein was water destined for the large area of possible
state-owned fields on the Pampa Cerro Colorado.
The rural administrative center at Talambo was also
in a position to supervise large labor forces in Chimu
times. There was a large population in La Calera de
Talambo, and we suggest that officials at the rural ad-
ministrative center were responsible for overseeing this
population, for mobilizing labor gangs to carry out de-
cisions made at Farfan or relayed from Chan Chan via
Farfan. They also had to convey information about Tal-
ambo's population to Farfan so that higher-level deci-
sions could be made. The officials thus resided near, but
not among, Talambo's inhabitants, and in performing
their duties they may have delegated certain tasks to still
lower-ranking officials who lived in the densely settled
sectors of the site.
Summary and Conclusions
The overall scheme of the Chimu administration of the
Jequetepeque Valley, then, was one that followed very
closely the pattern originated in the heartland of the Em-
73. Utilized in the fashion demonstrated by Patricia J. NetherlyS "Lo-
cal Level Lords on the North Coast of Peru" unpublished Ph.D.
dissertation, Cornell University (University Microfilms: Ann Arbor
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10^ 1983 283
lent topographer, Gonzalo Espejo; Jose Sisniegas, our
illustrator; and, Enrique Mendoza, our draftsman. We
are also indebted to our entire field crew, headed by
Santiago and Manuel Aldea. Thanks also to Marco An-
tonio Ribeiro of the University of Michigan and Paul T.
Jaeckel of Harvard University, who served as our field
assistants and supervisors throughout the entire fieldwork
and whose contributions we cannot begin to document
here. Paul Jaeckel is also responsbile for the statistical
analysis of the Farfan bricks. Thanks to Dr. Kent C. Day
and the Royal Ontario Museum for the loan of a field
vehicle; to Dr. Robert R. Kautz of Hamilton College,
New York, for analyzing the pollen samples from the
storerooms; and to Sarah Whitney Powell of the Peabody
Museum, Harvard University, for completing and pre-
paring for publication all illustrations (except FIG. 1) ac-
companying this paper. Figure 2 was drawn by Japhet
Rosell of Trujillo, Peru, and adapted for publication by
Sarah Whitney Powell. Figures 3, 4, 5, 6, and 16 were
drawn by Japhet Rosell; Figures 9, 12, 14, and 15 were
drawn by Jose Sisniegas of Guadalupe, Peru; Figures 7
and 8 were drawn by Gonzalo Espejo of Trujillo, Peru;
and Figure 13 is used with permission of the Peabody
Museum Press. Thanks also to Connie Thornton for typ-
ing the final version of the manuscript.
And, finally, a special note of appreciation to the peo-
ple of Guadalupe, who by their open friendliness made
this field season one we will long remember.
Richard W. Keatinge received his Ph.D. in
Anthropology from Harvard University in 1973 and is
now Executive Director of the Institute of the Americas
in Solana Beachw California. His principal research
interests include the development and management of
urban societiesw prehistoric economic and political
institutionsw and settlement pattern studies. His areas
of geographical specialization are South America and
Geoffrey W. Conrad received his Ph.D. from
Harvard University in 1974 and is now an Associate
Professor in the Department of Anthropology at
Harvard. He has done fieldwork in the United Statesw
Canadaw and Peru. His most recent research is
concerned with the role of ideology in cultural
pire, where lower-order centers maintained relatively di-
rect control over certain basic resources: land, water, and
labor. Within the Empire as a whole, higher-order cen-
ters collected and processed information from the lower-
order ones in order to make the decisions necessary for
the management of land, water, and labor; they also
oversaw the removal of resources, goods, and labor to
Chan Chan.
The fact that lower-order centers, which most directly
controlled the Jequetepeque Valley's resources, oversaw
agricultural land, irrigation water, and labor forces im-
plies that the goals of the Chimu expansion were state
control of land and water, plus access to the labor needed
to exploit these resources. To achieve these aims the
Chimu may have alienated some land from the valley's
native population, reclaimed larld through the extension
of the valley's irrigation system, and reorganized the
local population in as yet unspecified ways.
These hypotheses will be tested through further work
in the site zone of La Calera de Talambo, where water,
people, and perhaps state-owned land were controlled.
Work will concentrate on the organization of the site's
population, levels of administrative hierarchy, and the
regulation of the adjacent sector of the valley's irrigation
system. Investigations will also be conducted in the pos-
sible state-owned field system on the Pampa Cerro Col-
orado (whose water was controlled by Talambo) in order
to determine when, how, and for what crops these fields
were created. The study of both site areas is a matter of
some urgency because they are threatened by the con-
struction of a large-scale irrigation project now underway
that will extensively damage the site of Talambo and
destroy a large part of the prehistoric field system on the
Pampa Cerro Colorado.74
The research at Farfan and Talambo discussed in this
paper was funded by the National Science Foundation
(BNS 78-07853) and authorized by the Peruvian Gov-
ernment (Resolucion Suprema No. 238-78-ED) through
the Centro de Investigacion Restauracion de Bienes
Monumentales, Instituto Nacional de Cultura (Acuerdo
No. 06/06.06.78). The authors would especially like to
thank Drs. Rogger Ravines, Isabel Flores, Luis Lum-
breras, and Cristobal Campana for their help and sup-
port. Oscar P. Lostaunau, Supervisor del Centro Zonal
de Pacatnamu, Valle Jequetepeque, deserves special
thanks for his unstinting help and cooperation as the local
representative of the INC in the town of Guadalupe where
the project was based. Special thanks also to our excel-
74. Keatinge, 1982 op. cit. (in note 49).