Andean Ontologies: New Perspectives from Archaeology, Ethnohistory and Bioarchaeology

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

The goal of this symposium is to reflect and discuss the ways in which the Andean worldview contributes to the humanities and social sciences. The main objective is to analyze deeply imbedded Andean concepts such as pacha, runa, camaq, huaca, minka, ayni, ayllu, hannan, hurin, etc through archaeological, ethnohistorical and bioarchaeological lenses. By doing this, we intend to identify aspects of the indigenous view point, most likely hybrid perceptions, and thus offer emic interpretations of the Andean world. By no means do we hope to reproduce immutable and common definitions of these concepts but rather offer interpretations that complement pre-existing Western perceptions.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-11 of 11)

  • Documents (11)

  • Analogist Ontology at Chavín de Huantár (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Matthew Sayre. Nicco La Mattina.

    The ontological turn in Anthropology has revealed new possibilities for considering the relationships between humans, material things, and “other-than-human persons,” as well as reassessing the Western notion of a nature/culture dichotomy. One site where these insights have begun to be applied is Chavín de Huantár in Peru. The iconography of the site is well known for its mixed human/animal hybrids, a style that prompted John Rowe to consider the art figuratively as visual kennings, with certain...

  • Andean Ontologies: An Introduction to the Substance (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Henry Tantaleán.

    In the last decade a number of studies have been published focusing on the way Andean peoples both in the past and present, describe and define their world and its relational elements. These ontologies are derived from anthropology, ethnohistory and ethnography. Most of them intend to reconstruct the worldview of these social groups with different results. In this paper I summarize the main trends related to ontologies developed for Andean societies, especially those used to explain pre-Hispanic...

  • The Head as the Seat of the Soul: A Medium for Spiritual Reciprocity in the Early Andes (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mary Glowacki.

    There are many visual representations spanning the different time periods of the ancient Andes, and corroborated by historic accounts, that point to man’s spiritual essence as residing in the head, and more specifically, head hair. These examples suggest that this power was transferable and maintained the reciprocal balance between men, and the earthly and supernatural realm. This presentation briefly discusses the human head and hair in Andean belief as a conduit for the flow of spiritual power...

  • Indigenous Anatomies (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Maria Lozada.

    Bioarchaeological research in the Andes has shed important light on Andean lifestyles in the past. From identifying diseases such as tuberculosis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, to analyzing migrations, dietary patterns and interpersonal violence, bioarchaeology has demonstrated a unique capacity to evaluate certain categories of human behavior not accessible through other forms of analysis. For the purposes of interpreting the past, bioarchaeologists broadly view the body as a complex...

  • Intersubjectivity in Inka Visual Culture (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Carolyn Dean.

    The Inka of western South America, who reached the height of their power in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, identified certain rocks as sharing many characteristics with human beings. Such rocks were sentient and some of them had the ability to speak and move. Some rocks were said to eat and drink the foods and liquids humans eat and drink, dress in human clothing, and speak Runasimi, the language spoken by the Inka. The Inka, in recognizing the sentience of certain rocks, practiced...

  • Ontological foundations of Inka archaeology (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Bruce Mannheim.

    The “ontological turn” ties several core anthropological questions about cultural variability in human interaction with the world, all of which can best be summarized by Sapir’s dictum—from the 1920s— that “the worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached.” Drawing on evidence—ethnographic, grammatical, cognitive, material, and visual—from the central Andes (principally from Southern Quechua and their Inka ancestors), I...

  • Ontologías Corpóreas: Transfiguración, ancestralización y "muerte" en el mundo Moche (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Luis Muro. Elsa Tomasto Cagigao.

    En las últimas cuatro décadas decenas de tumbas de élite Moche (200-900 AD) han sido descubiertas a lo largo de la costa norte del Perú, develado importante información sobre la vida física, la identidad y el status de los antiguos Moche. Sin embargo, y paradójicamente, la gran cantidad de datos recuperados contrasta con los pocos intentos de teorizar cómo el cuerpo pudo haber sido construido y conceptualizado por esta sociedad. Integrando la fenomenología de Merleau-Ponty y el perspectivismo...

  • Partnering with Pots: The Work of Materials in the Imperial Inca Project (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Tamara Bray.

    New understandings of matter and materiality are being driven by recent theoretical developments in the realm of science, particularly physics and ecology. These evolving orientations are, in turn, contributing to new philosophical thinking on the nature of being and reality. The trickle-down effects of these developments are, in part, responsible for what has been termed “the ontological turn,” a trend that is clearly visible in recent archaeological discourse. The new materialist ontology, in...

  • Putting the Body in its Place: The Intersection of Spatial and Corporal Ontologies at the Late Moche Site of Huaca Colorada, Peru (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Giles Spence-Morrow. Edward Swenson. Aleksa Alaica.

    The Late Moche ceremonial center of Huaca Colorada (AD 650-850) was distinguished by cycles of ritualized architectural renovation that coincided with human and animal foundation sacrifices. Detailed architectonic analysis of the construction sequence of the ceremonial core in relation to the sacrificial burials incorporated into the structure itself provides interesting insights on Moche ontologies of embodiment, space, and social change. The data strongly suggest that Moche perceived...

  • Reconstructing Andean pasts: archaeology, biology, or ethnohistory? All of the above, please. (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Zachary Chase. Zach Chase.

    Over the last several decades Andean archaeology of the late prehispanic through early Spanish colonial periods has grown to the point that critical reassessments of ethnohistorical materials and the anthropological models constructed from them are not only possible but necessary. Taking as a premise that language and material culture are primary transmissions of cultural life through time, this presentation summarizes recent archaeological research in Cuzco, Huamachuco, Pachacamac, and...

  • Towards a situated ontology of bodies and landscapes in the archaeology of the southern Andes (first millennium AD northwest Argentina) (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Andres Laguens. Benjamin Alberti.

    Past ontologies of Andean worlds have been reconstructed in relation to archaeological landscapes, objects, and contexts. Relational and animated worlds build on Andean concepts such as Apu, wa’ka, and Pacha, as well as Amazonian theories. In our case, we work with Amazonian perspectivism as a broad-based Amerindian ontology to analyze a case from Andean northwest Argentina. Perspectivism provides us with a radically different ontological premise for the world: things do not need to be animated,...