April 23, 2020

The Rise and Fall of the Wari Complex of Cerro Baul in Peru

1,400 years ago, Wari colonists arrived in the Moquegua Valley in southern Peru. They occupied high dry land no one had used. They built a regional capital at the site of Cerro Baul, where they built large government structures and erected canals and aqueducts that carried water further than anyone had ever attempted. They carved mountain slopes into agricultural terraces, which captured rain and snowmelt to plots of maize, quinoa, berries to make beer. People moved there to create a large labor force.

Archaeologist Patrick Ryan Williams of the Field Museum calls the Wari strategy “conquest by hydraulic superiority.

Despite the Wari very violent aggression in other areas of Peru, they built a multi-ethnic society of relative peace in the Cerro Baul area for 400 years. Wari, Tiwanaku and local communities lived together from 600-1000 CE. Each culture maintained its own styles of pottery, architecture, temples and burials.

A huge earthquake destroyed the aqueduct system around 900 CE, and its appears the Wari had a hard time getting a work force to fix the damage completely.  And then an extreme drought took place at a time that the aqueduct system was weaker. At 1050, the Cerro Baul structures were abandoned, and in a huge end times feast, rooms were burned, a brewery was destroyed, and smashed drinking vessels were placed on top.

Science Magazine has the detailed report of an international team of archaeologists here;

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