Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Kevin J. Vaughn

Committee Member 1

Harold K. Cooper

Committee Member 2

Ian Lindsay


The goal of this thesis is to investigate a single textile assemblage from on site is homogeneously produced. In order to evaluate this, I looked at a sample of textiles and cordage recovered at the site of Hualcayán in the north-central highlands of Peru (ca. 1-1000 CE). Through a technical attribute analysis of metric traits I evaluate the degree of variability present in the overall sample. Making use of a "community of practice" approach, in which a group of individuals are engaged in participatory learning and share a common enterprise, I argue that homogeneous textiles represent a uniformity of practice. Indeed, it is through imitation and the passing on a non-discursive knowledge that certain community wide practices are reproduced. As a result, I hypothesize that a single community of weavers would produce relatively homogenous textiles, which would materialize in the form of a technologically uniform textile assemblage. Ultimately, I interpret such shared practices as connected to a specific type of group identity related to what it means to be a weaver in that particular setting. However, the results from Hualcayán demonstrate variability in cotton yarns, which I interpret as suggestive of interregional interaction between Hualcayán and coastal communities. Despite, this camelid yarns and overall weaving techniques are relatively uniform, which I argue points to a community of practice with regard to weaving and spinning camelid yarn.