Andean Diaspora constitutes a significant contribution to Andean studies and, more specifically, to the analysis of the origins and evolution of states in the ancient Americas. Using original archaeological data collected over nearly two decades, Goldstein’s main contribution is his exploration of the ways in which Tiwanaku — the earliest state in the circum-Titicaca region — arose, the multiethnic character of this polity, and the role of diaspora colonies in its expansion. In addition, the book is valuable in understanding the processes of state formation in the Andes. In contrast with standard models of the evolution of complex societies, the author proposes that pristine Andean states like Tiwanaku did not evolve as highly centralized political structures. Instead, the distribution of power was organized horizontally through the intervention of kin-based corporate groups (ayllus).

In chapter 1, the author summarizes mainstream theories explaining...

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