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Las preguntas que cuentan: Ideas and interpretations in Latin American Historical Archaeology

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

The historical archaeology of the former Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the Americas encompasses a diversity of political, intellectual, and methodological approaches. This diversity reflects the unique intellectual traditions Latin America brings to historical archaeology, the ways that differing governmental regimes deal with the historic past of Portuguese and Spanish colonialism throughout the Americas, and the ways that local cultural diversity affect how the historic past is studied, and presented, in Latin America. In this session we will explore approaches taken by both North American and Latin American scholars to research, and interpret, 500 years of Spanish and Portuguese colonialism and its aftermath in the Americas.


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  • Documents (21)

Documents

  • The Archaeology of Conquest: Employing a Trans-conquest Approach to Interpreting Processes of Resistance and Incorporation (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Scotti Norman.

    European countries have undertaken colonialist ventures throughout the Old and New World over the past six centuries. Yet Spanish colonialism in South America is unique as it was significantly structured by local relationships forged through Inka statecraft. The degree of Inka investment and local responses to these interests fundamentally impacted the success of Spanish conversion and governance. In the contiguous regions of Pampachiri/Larcay and Cocharcas, we find complimentary evidence of...

  • At the limits of the colonial world: a brief analysis of missionary springs and water sources (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Tobias Vilhena de Moraes.

    Between the 16th, and 17th. Centuries, in the River Plate Basin, contact between religious Europeans and indigenous ethnic Guranis, was one of the most emblematic moments in the Iberian colonization process of the New World. From the cultural interaction, between a baroque and a neolithic world, small and very active townships appeared, where communities prospered with their own social characteristics today denominated as Jesuitical-Guarani, or more properly, missionary. As witnesses of this...

  • Che Research at the Nexus Between History and Prehistory (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Jacob Sauer.

    Many historical treatments of the Che (also known as Araucanians or Mapuche) of south-central Chile suggest that the Che, as a culture, is the product of Spanish colonial efforts in southern Chile. Based on 16th and 17th Century texts,these investigators argue that Che ethnogenesis occurred after the Spanish arrived in southern Chile in the mid-16th century. Archaeological investigations, in contrast, indicate long-term continuity in the development of cultural patterns and practices that point...

  • Chérrepe in Fragments: Time, Place and Representation in Andeanist Historical Archaeology (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Parker VanValkenburgh.

    One of the core interpretive mechanisms of Andeanist archaeology since the early 20th century has been the use of ethnohistoric and ethnographic sources to add narrative, structural, and processual detail to descriptions of past worlds. However, Andeanist archaeologists have yet to develop a sustained conversation about the role that the interpretations of texts, images, and the spoken word play in the study of archaeological remains, and the direct historical approach remains the dominant mode...

  • Classification Systems with a Plot: Vessel Forms and Ceramic Typologies in the Spanish Atlantic (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Kathryn Ness.

    The majority of current studies of Spanish ceramics rely heavily on a typology based on American excavations and collections. While decades of use and refinement have made this system invaluable for dating sites and recognizing trade patterns in the Americas, its focus on morphology and archaeological ceramic types does little to explain how individuals used and perceived their ceramics. In this paper, I argue that using a vessel-based classification system in addition to existing ceramic...

  • Creativity and Resistance to Slavery in Northern Ecuador: The archeology of the Afro-Andino in the Chota-Mira Valley (17th to 20th century) (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Daniela Balanzategui.

    In 1586, Africans and creoles were relocated from Quito and Cartagena to work in nine Jesuit sugarcane Haciendas in the Chota-Mira Valley of Ecuador, since then known as the ‘Valle Sangriento’. In 1767, with the expulsion of the Jesuits, the enslaved population has grown to around five hundred. They created an Afroandean identity, a process of cultural adaptation, preserving cultural traits, and forming a local community with strong ties to their new homeland. Since then they have faced a...

  • Cuales cuentos cuentan? Opportunities to question the semioses of historicity in Historical Archaeology through investigation of the Andean past (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Zachary Chase.

    The combination of Colonial Spanish preoccupations with establishing written, historical records, and late prehispanic and colonial Andean practices of codifying and communicating the past through means other than writing proper permits interrogation of the very semiotic and epistemological notions involved in constructing and reconstructing the archaeological and historical past. This paper addresses the conference and session themes by investigating different forms, content, meanings, and...

  • Cultivated Historical Landscapes: Theoretical Aspect for the Archaeology of Andean Colonial Gardens and Fields (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Fernando Astudillo.

    Colonial landscapes are the materialization of conquest. Ornamental gardens and agricultural fields are some of its most evident manifestations. These small-scale landscapes are the physical representations of the triumph over nature. They were created and conceptualized to replicate the sociopolitical and socioeconomic structures of the political centres. The physical aspects of the cultivated fields are then visual representations of imposed sociopolitical structures and concomitant class...

  • Cuáles son las preguntas que cuentan en la arqueología histórica? Respuestas de El Salvador (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT William R. Fowler.

    Reflexionando sobre 25 años de experiencia y dos proyectos arqueológicos principales dirigidos a sitios de la época colonial temprana de El Salvador, pretendo ofrecer una caracterización de una arqueología histórica que se preocupa por “las preguntas que cuentan.” El Proyecto Arqueológico Izalco (1988-1993) consistió de un reconocimiento regional y excavaciones en los sitios coloniales de Tacuscalco y Caluco. El enfoque teórico era de economía política. El Proyecto Arqueológico Ciudad Vieja...

  • An Exercise in Epistemic Disobedience: Implementing De-colonial Methods at the Site of Portobelo, Panamá (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Marguerite De Loney.

    It has been argued by many post-colonial theorists that in order to understand identity formation processes within repressive contexts, both in an historically colonial moment and a contemporary post-colonial one, we must locate and critically analyze those formative years in colonial history that gave rise to modern cultural forms, and have simultaneously shaped our perception of those forms, internally and externally. However, we must not only critique empire, but think beyond it, to a...

  • Is there uniquely Andean postcolonial theory, and is it relevant for historical archaeologists? (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Ross Jamieson.

    As postcolonial theory has permeated historical archaeology, it could be said that it has become more and more watered down from its South Asian routes. Historians recognize scholars such as Jorge Basadre and José Carlos Mariátegui as having given voice to a uniquely Andean form of postcolonial inquiry. Does this have relevance for the practice of historical archaeology in the Andes? Or for historical archaeology more broadly?

  • Keeping in touch: tombs in the urban space of Swahili towns, East Africa (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Ross Jamieson.

    This paper aims to examine the spatial distribution and role of the so-called pillar tombs, commonly encountered in the stone town sites of Swahili coast. The Swahili coastal towns thrived as major trading centres in the region of littoral East Africa in the historical period of the 8th to the 17th century AD. Since the earliest archaeological research on the coast, the specific form and monumental nature of the pillar tombs made them a prominent object of study and the first feature of the...

  • La reducción de San Ignacio Mini : Ideología, espacio y arquitectura en la Provincia Jesuítica del Paraguay (Brasil y Argentina, 1610 ‘ 1767) (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Marcelo Acosta.

    Hasta el momento diferentes investigadores han tratado de explicar el concepto de reducción puesta en práctica por los jesuitas al establecer las misiones en Sudamérica. Los jesuitas trataron de reducir la movilidad guaraní que vivían en la región del rio Paranapanema. Al principio, el concepto de reducción fue aplicado como una tentativa de control espacial de las poblaciones locales concentrándolos en una misión. Usando el análisis de la organización interna de las misiones de San Ignacio...

  • Late colonial Andean revolts and rebellions: A view from the archaeology of labor and identity (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Di Hu.

    Historians of the late colonial Andes focus on this time period as a watershed for innovations in identity, resistance, and economics that famously culminated in the great Andean rebellions of the 1780s. Strangely, there has been little investigation of the role that material culture played in such transitions. This paper will briefly review some of the archaeological and historical evidence from an important textile workshop, Pomacocha, in highland Peru. Such evidence suggests that changes in...

  • Maya-Spanish Entanglement in Petén, Guatemala (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Timothy Pugh. Prudence Rice.

    Cultural contact and colonialism produce novel, hybrid material assemblages that embody and document situations rife with cultural entanglement and complex power relations. The Maya of Petén, Guatemala were free from Spanish control, but in distant contact with the Spaniards from 1525 until their conquest in 1697. After the conquest, the Spaniards resettled populations into congregaciones to govern and convert them. Contact and colonialism resulted in some replication of Spanish artifacts and...

  • No questions for the Blacks: Accounting for the languor of Afro-Panamanian Historical Archaeology (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Felipe Gaitan-Ammann. Marguerite DeLoney.

    The archaeology of slavery is, undoubtedly, one of the strongest and most dynamic pillars of North American historical archaeology. African-American archaeology, in particular, has played a central part in the understanding and memorializing the multiple dimensions of the racially-based oppression upon which European colonial projects were constructed in the New World. While the contribution of enslaved Africans and free Blacks to the formation of Latin American societies has been amply...

  • Pastwatch: The Roots of Historical Capitalism in the New World (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Craig A. Hanson.

    Historical archaeology may be defined as the Latin-script-aided archaeology of the past 500 years. The direct historical approach of New World archaeologists has its analogical sources in this period. Its beginning coincided with the emergence of a capitalist political economy, the Renaissance and European New World colonization. Wallerstein modeled the process by which a capitalist world-system incorporated indigenous cultural geographies and Frank hypothesized a precocious world-systems model...

  • Sampling in Archaeology and History: the Case of Colonizers in Mexico City (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Enrique Rodríguez-Alegría.

    The combination of historical texts and archaeological data is challenging, in part because we use different strategies for interpreting incommensurable data. In this paper I bring insights from literary criticism to show that historical data tend to be interpreted as a substitution of the part for the whole: a document or a few documents can be expanded to represent broad aspects of colonial society, often reaching beyond the limitations of the documents themselves. I evaluate the problems...

  • Toward an Archaeology of the African Diaspora in Peru: The Jesuit Wine Estates of Nasca (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Brendan Weaver.

    During Peru’s colonial period free and enslaved African descended peoples made up a significant portion of the coastal population, living and working among indigenous, mestizo, and European peoples. Yet these populations have been underrepresented in archaeology or rendered invisible by methodologies and questions which have not directly engaged the diaspora. This paper discusses advances from the 2012/2013 field season of the Haciendas of Nasca Archaeological Project, the first such project in...

  • Urban Archaeology and Historical Archaeology in the cities, a controversy still present in Latin America (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Daniel Schavelzon.

    Historical archeology emerged during the 80& 180;s on the cities, not on the field. It was a path opposite to the U.S. that began excavating historic sites. The difference between those who wanted to do urban archeology and not archaeology of historic sites, that means to dig “sites” in the old sense of the uniqueness of place, was urban archeology conceived as diggings in places separated in time (of excavation) of a single surface of ground covered by the city at different times.Traditional...

  • Why Chocolate? An Historical Archaeology of Chocolate Producers and Consumers, Fifteenth to Eighteenth Century (2014)
    Citation DOCUMENT Kathryn Sampeck.

    Much archaeological and historical attention has been devoted to chocolate consumers. This paper presents the archaeology of producers of not just cacao beans, the tree seed used to make chocolate, but the probable region of origin of the term and recipe for chocolate specifically. The Izalcos region of today’s western El Salvador is a case study of the colonial crucible of the mutually discursive forces of rapid depopulation, intense pressures for hyperproduction, colonist reaping of fantastic,...

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America