The Wari Empire was a political formation that emerged around AD 500 in the central and northern highlands of Peru.
Empire or not?
It is debated if the phenomenon can be termed an empire and some archaeologists such as Ruth Shady have suggested that Wari was not an empire, but rather a loose economic network of Wari centres. However, many other scholars, including William Isbell, Katherine Schreiber and Luis Lumbreras, have strongly argued for the centralised nature of the Huari polity.
While Huari probably had significant organizational and administrative power, it remains unclear what the origins of its political and artistic forms were – emerging evidence suggests that rather than being the result of Tiwanaku traits diffusing north, the Wari and Tiwanaku ideological formations may be traceable to previous developments at Pukara, an Early Intermediate Period culture to the north of Lake Titicaca. The polity seems to have survived until ca. AD 1100, when it collapsed probably as a result of both environmental change and internal socio-political stresses.