Recognising Ritual: The Case of Campanayuq Rumi

By Matsumoto, Yuichi | Antiquity, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Recognising Ritual: The Case of Campanayuq Rumi


Matsumoto, Yuichi, Antiquity


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Introduction

Though it has long been acknowledged that the archaeological study of prehistoric religion and ritual is difficult (Hawkes 1954), there has been a revival of interest in recent years (e.g. Renfrew 1985, 1994; Bradley 2005; Fogelin 2007), and these have seen the development of new ways of studying ritual practice through the study of material evidence (e.g. Walker 1995, 1998, 2002; Burger & Salazar-Burger 1998; Brown 2003; McAnany & Hodder 2009).

This paper focuses on the problem of distinguishing ritual from elite origins in an assemblage, using a case study from the Early Horizon (800-200 BC) centre of Campanayuq Rumi, located in the south-central Andean highlands of Ayacucho, Peru. During the period between c. 1000 and 500 BC, Campanayuq Rumi maintained strong religious ties with a large-scale pilgrimage/ceremonial centre, Chavin de Huantar, located in the central highlands, 550km to the north (Figure 1). Recognising the references in a midden assemblage led to the conclusion that the people at Campanayuq Rumi and at Chavin de Huantar embraced the same religious ideology, and that the Campanayuq Rumi midden was the result of 'ceremonial trash' resulting from religious performance.

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Chavin phenomenon

The growth of CharOn de Huantar has been closely related to the emergence of civilisation in the central Andes (e.g. Tello 1960; Lumbreras 1989; Burger 1992). For example, Richard Burger argued that Chavin de Huantar was founded around 1000 BC and was transformed into the principal civic/ceremonial centre of a pan-regional religious network around 500 BC (Burger 2008). According to Burger, with the expansion of an influential religious ideology (Chavin cult), radical socio-economic transformations occurred in the central Andes including the appearance of hierarchical social organisation and the acceleration of long-distance trade (Burger 1988, 1992). More recent studies of Chavin de Huantar led by John Rick and colleagues have concluded that Chavin de Huantar was founded between 1500 and 1200 BC (Rick et al. 2010). In addition, they consider that Chavin de Huantar was not the only centre that influenced other coeval centres but rather it was primus inter pares (Kembel & Rick 2004) and that the socio-economic change occurred gradually (Rick 2005, 2008).

Despite this ongoing controversy about its chronological position and relations with other centres, most archaeologists agree that Chavin de Huantar was of central importance in the emergence of socio-political complexity in the central Andes (e.g. Lumbreras 1989; Burger 1992; Rick 2008). Regardless of whether a religious ideology expanded from Chavin de Huantar, or alternatively was generated through long-term interactions among the various centres, many of the ceremonial centres in the central Andes seem to have shared the same religious ideology with Chavin de Huantar during the earlier half of the Early Horizon (800-500 BC).

Excavations at Campanayuq Rumi

Campanayuq Rumi is located at an elevation of 3600m asl in the Peruvian south-central highlands (Figure 1). The site is situated approximately 600m to the east of the modern town of Vilcashuaman. It is composed of a monumental core that extends over more than 3.Sha, and two residential areas that make up an additional 11ha of settlement (Matsumoto 2010). Investigations between 2007 and 2008 have provided a dated cultural sequence divided into two phases: Phase 1, 1000-700 BC and Phase 2, 700-500 BC (Matsumoto 2010; Matsumoto & Carero 2010). The radiocarbon dates demonstrate that Campanayuq Rumi appeared suddenly as a large ceremonial centre around 1000 BC. A U-shaped platform layout (Figure 2), fine stonemasonry, a gallery and a sunken rectangular plaza (Figure 3) show a clear emulation of architectural conventions present at Chavin de Huantar, and thus imply that Campanayuq Rumi was heavily influenced by this site. …

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