THE WARI COMPLEX
AND ITS IMPORTANCE
The Wari Culture developed in the present Ayacucho Region around 500 AD approximately. It appeared as a result of influence from Tiahuanaco and Nazca. It featured the construction of a number of pre-planned cities. This was the first Andean empire, controlling a wide territory through the setting up of regional administrative centers and a road network. It was the precedent on which the organization of the Inca Empire was based. Its capital, in the Ayacucho Region, was the citadel of Wari.
Before the emergence of the Wari Culture, a less complex culture had developed in the Ayacucho Region, marking a transition from a rural village-type society to an urban one - this was the Huarpa culture. For archaeologist Luis Lumbreras, Huarpa was a relatively poorer culture than its contemporaries, such as Moche and Nazca. Despite this, it dominated its geographical area and was able to successfully exploit agriculture. The people of Huarpa generally lived in the villages, but they had built one citadel called Ñahuimpuquio, located at 3,000 meters above sea level, in an area where it controlled irrigation water. In that place there are remains of major buildings, houses, plazas, corrals and aqueducts. Also, this site was subsequently occupied by the Wari.
The citadel of Wari was the capital of the state by the same name and, according to some archaeologists, was the first major Andean empire (before that of the Incas). It was a major urban center whose area of occupation covered 2,000 hectares at the moment of its greatest splendor. Researchers have divided the central area of the settlement (some 18 sq km) into 13 different sectors, namely:
1.- Cheqo Wasi
This place featured the presence of multiple rectangular stone chambers (probably burial chambers), of different sizes, finely finished.
In this area there are underground galleries covered with great blocks of stone, with walls tiled with long slabs of stone, as well as some tubular stone conduits which are though to have been used for transporting water to the city.
3.- Capilla Pata
This sector is formed by great double walls between 8 and 12 meters in height. They are some 400 meters long, 3 m wide at the base and 0.8 to 1.2 m wide at the top, and form great walled-in areas, known as "canchones".
So-called due to the fact that turquoise beads and small sculptures were found there. Due to the high concentration of this stone in this area, it is thought to be the location of the turquoise jewelry workshops.
Over all this area were scattered the remains of stone weapons and tools, such as arrowheads, awls and other flint and obsidian objects. Apparently these too were workshops using flint and obsidian as raw materials.
This name was given to this area because it is thought to have been used as a quarry.
7.- Ushpa Qoto
These are a number of buildings close to a plaza. Three large walls run parallel to each other, and there are semi-circular constructions and underground chambers.
8.- Robles Moqo
This area was scattered with shards of pottery and broken stone objects. It is though to have been the craftsmen's working area. The name Robles Moqo was given to a style of pottery typical of Wari by a local guide called Robles.
These were circular and trapeze-shaped chambers that are now totally in ruins, with only the foundations intact.
These are 16 stone engravings. The technique used was grooving a flat stone surface which was later slightly polished. The figures represent concentric spirals, loops, snakes, circles and other geometrical figures.
Here some human figures molded in clay indicate that the area was used for services, workshops and storage.
This is a circular hollow measuring 11 meters in diameter by 10 in depth which was intentionally excavated. In its interior there are two carefully dug tunnels oriented towards the north and the south respectively.
Walls similar to those of Capillapata form trapeze-shaped and rectangular enclosures.
The Wari complex remains for the most part underground. The areas dug at this site are minimal when compared to the size of the total built-up area. As its population increased, the city also grew in importance as a center of political power. Initially it probably only performed administrative functions of a political and religious nature. According to archaeological evidence, Wari lost its importance around 1000 AD, and nobody knows how or why it was eventually abandoned.
To improve the productivity of the soil, important drainage and irrigation works were carried out and, more importantly, the agricultural terracing expanded the growing area. These terraces built into the hillsides are generally close by the primary and secondary urban complexes, and obviously provided for their needs.