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Archaeology and Language in the Andes$
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Paul Heggarty and David Beresford-Jones

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265031

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265031.001.0001

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Middle Horizon Imperialism and the Prehistoric Dispersal of Andean Languages

Middle Horizon Imperialism and the Prehistoric Dispersal of Andean Languages

(p.218) (p.219) 9 Middle Horizon Imperialism and the Prehistoric Dispersal of Andean Languages
Archaeology and Language in the Andes


British Academy

The dispersal of the Romance language family by the Roman Empire is an attractive model for examining the spread of Quechua. Wari and Tiwanaku are often considered the first Andean empires, during the Middle Horizon (cal. ad 650–1050). Despite being contemporaries sharing the same religious iconography, they were unlikely to have spoken and dispersed the same language. Tiwanaku material culture rather implies ethnic and linguistic diversity, not least in its best-documented colonization in Moquegua. Wari, meanwhile, appears culturally and administratively unified, colonizing and controlling a territory across southern Peru, from Cuzco to Nasca. If Wari was responsible for a language dispersal, then this should represent its core territory; and it is indeed the heart of Southern Quechua. In northern Peru, Wari presence seems less intense, its rule more complex and indirect. The Moche region remained essentially beyond Wari influence, while for the central coast and distant Aguada culture more research is needed.

Keywords:   language dispersal, Romance language, Quechua, Wari, Tiwanaku

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