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Wari Culture: A Model for the Inca?

Art Depicting the Wari

In Peru, archaeologists work to uncover the secrets of the Wari, a culture which might have served as the basis for the Inca empire.

In Caretas Magazine of Peru, Gabriel Ruiz Ortega described a meeting with José Ochatoma and his wife Martha Cabrera, two of the country’s foremost archaeologists. Ortega met with the pair to discuss their work in the Complejo Arqueológico Wari, located 30 minutes from the city of Huamanga. The site is one of the best examples of the magnificence of Wari culture, which developed between 600 and 1000 AD as the product of interaction between Nasca and Tiwanaku societies and the local Huarpa population.

The 600-hectare space is filled with wide roads, ceremonial centers, and other structures reminiscent of Inca architecture. The Wari, however, came before.

“The Wari tended to build upon what had already been constructed, improving their skills in the process,” explained Ochatoma, “these tombs seem Inca, but no, they’re tombs with a design typical of the Wari.” With similarities like this in mind, Ochatoma is convinced that the Wari cultural model formed the base of the Inca empire.

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