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The Chimú Empire

  • Jerry D. Moore
  • Carol J. Mackey

The Chimú Empire was one of the largest pre-Hispanic New World states, dominating much of the north coast of Peru between ca. AD 900 to 1470 when conquered by the rival Inca Empire. The Chimú capital, Chan Chan, was established between AD 900–1000 on a flat plain near the Pacific Ocean, some seven kilometers north of the Moche River. By the fifteenth century Chan Chan had developed into one of the largest urban settlements in the pre-Hispanic Americas and the Chimú state had evolved into one of the most powerful polities in Andean prehistory.

This intriguing legend of dynastic foundation and expansion has been revised and modified by over five decades of archaeological research, which has explored the complexities of statecraft, social order, worldview and religion in the Kingdom of Chimor. The Chan Chan-Moche Valley Project (1969–1974) was a pivotal investigation, as its members developed an influential model of Chimú social organization and imperial administration that was derived from the study of architecture, settlement patterns, and associated artifacts from Chan Chan and other sites in the Chimú heartland of the Moche, Chicama, and Virú valleys (see, inter alia, Moseley and Cordy-Collins 1990; Moseley and Day 1982; Moseley and Mackey 1973, 1974). Subsequent investigations have expanded these understandings with new research at Chimú provincial centers and smaller settlements, as well as investigations into the peripheries of the kingdom of Chimor. In the following discussion we summarize patterns of imperial expansion and incorporation, first considering Chan Chan and the Chimú heartland and then examining the northern and southern expansions of the Chimú state. We then discuss Chimú worldview, religion, and social order, and conclude with a discussion of the disruptions and continuities on the north coast after the Inca conquest of Chimor.

Keywords

North Coast Archaeological Investigation Craft Production Mortuary Practice Northern Dynasty 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerry D. Moore
    • 1
  • Carol J. Mackey
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyCalifornia State UniversityDominguez HillsUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyCalifornia State UniversityNorthridgeUSA

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