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Pre-Hispanic Beer in Coastal Peru: Technology and Social Context of Prehistoric Production

Jerry D. Moore
American Anthropologist
New Series, Vol. 91, No. 3 (Sep., 1989), pp. 682-695
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/680873
Page Count: 14
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Pre-Hispanic Beer in Coastal Peru: Technology and Social Context of Prehistoric Production
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Abstract

The native Andean beer, chicha, played a variety of roles in pre-Hispanic Peruvian societies. Commonly made from maize, chicha was both the everyday beverage and an essential element in ritual and social interactions. Most important, political leaders had to reward corvée labor groups with chicha and food as part of the "hospitable repayment" lords were obligated to provide their subjects. The article describes an archeological investigation of chicha production in a non-elite residential sector at Manchan, the Chimu Empire's (A.D. 900-1470) regional center in the Casma Valley of the Peruvian North Coast. Two issues are considered: the technical process and the social context of chicha-making. In both cases, ethnohistoric and ethnographic data are used to develop archeological correlates for different aspects of the technology and social context of chicha-making. The archeological data indicate that (1) the equipment for chicha-making was generally available, (2) different households episodically produced large quantities of chicha, and (3) this production took place within a self-sufficient household and without extensive state involvement by the Chimu Empire.

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