The Moche civilization was created by the people who lived in the arid coastal regions of Northern Peru from around AD 100 to AD 700. This civilization had long been known for the great mud-brick pyramids that tower over the river valleys, for the splendor of its art and for its agricultural prowess. However, the social organization and political history that underlay these achievements remained generally obscure. At the end of the 1980s our vision of Moche society was suddenly and irrevocably altered. A series of discoveries on the North coast of Peru revealed stunning artistic and technological achievements and caused a dramatic revision of the sophistication and power of Moche society. This is the first book to describe this ancient civilization in the light of the new evidence.In the first part of the book the author examines the integral relationship between the Moche people and their physical world, their economy, and everyday life at all levels of society.
He describes the symbols of religion and myth and shows how these were vital participants in rituals, often involving human sacrifice, that served to maintain balance with the unpredictable forces of nature while at the same time reinforcing the power of the rulers. In the second part of the book the author investigates the origins of Moche society in the first two millennia BC, the emergence of Moche society and the evolution of its cultural and political pre-eminence. The picture that emerges is of a brilliant manifestation of Andean culture within whose society diversity and tension were as evident as unity and whose development and decline were shaped by the attributes of its own peculiar history and by the region in which it flourished.This vivid evocation of an ancient civilization is both enlivened and deepened by the author's sympathetic understanding of customs, rituals and myths which to modern eyes may seem both strange and terrible. It will be widely welcomed by scholars and students of South American archaeology and history, and by those curious to know more about a civilization that for thirteen centuries was largely forgotten.
" It is doubly welcome because Garth Bawden, himself a Moche specialist, has done a masterful job of condensing and interpreting the great number of scholarly publications on the Moche into a book which will serve the interested public, students at various levels of study, and specialists alike." Jeffrey Quilter, Pre-Columbian Studies, Dumbarton Oaks
Part I: The Moche World:.
1. Introduction: Encountering the Moche.
2. The Andean Natural World as Culture.
3. Life and Work in Moche Society.
4. Symbols of Power.
5. Rituals of Power.
Part II: History of the Moche:.
6. The Moche Historical Tradition.
7. The Emergence of Moche Society.
8. Moche Florescent.
9. Collapse and Reconstitution in the Late Moche Period.
10. End and Beginning: The Passing of the Moche Era.
11. Postscript: The Moche Legacy.