Inca and pre-Inca pottery : pottery from Cusichaca, Department of Cuzco, Peru
Although important studies have been made of the Andean pottery of the Inca Empire and its predecessors, these studies usually have been based on pottery collections which lack good archaeological contexts. The usual interpretative framework for ceramic variation has been the hierarchical social organisation of the Inca Empire described in the Spanish chronicles. In this paper, the pottery differs from the previously studied collections in two ways: first in the classification and study methods, and secondly in its derivation. Pottery fabric has been studied, and used as a primary discriminator. The potential of fabrics for identifying imported pottery is useful, in order to consider the economic activities within the Inca Empire and across its borders. source areas are considered, both in terms of geological environment and pottery workshops. Potting techniques are examined in relationship to workshop organisation, to formal and decorative characteristics, and to marketing and consumer requirements. The pottery derives from excavated, stratified deposits. This chronological control allows developments in the pottery to be discussed. A period of intense mercantile activity, before the Inca occupation of the area, can be identified. The deposits are distributed anngst five sites, all with Inca-period remains, which means that contemporary variation can be considered. Each site has a particular kind of ceramic assemblage, and the reasons for this, and for the lack of concordance between assemblages and specific types of buildings, are discussed.