Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Nicola Sharratt

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Glover

Third Advisor

Bethany Turner-Livermore


The development and expansion of political states is often accompanied by specialized craft production and long-distance trade networks. One of the earliest states in Andean South America was Tiwanaku, a polity that developed near the shores of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, and dominated the south central Andes during a period called the Middle Horizon (AD 500-1000). In this paper, I report compositional data derived from laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma- mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) analyses of Tiwanaku pottery sherds from a number of sites across the region. I then draw on these data to examine a) whether pottery production was a centralized activity and b) the circulation of ceramic vessels around the Tiwanaku realm.