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Towards a situated ontology of bodies and landscapes in the archaeology of the southern Andes (first millennium AD northwest Argentina)

Author(s): Andres Laguens ; Benjamin Alberti

Year: 2016

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Summary

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, neither are they perceived as animated; they simply are, fundamentally, animated. More precisely, “subjectivity” is a condition of being and relating as much as its’ result.

Starting from that premise, we take dwelling as a profoundly relational activity where human and non-human bodies participate actively. Recognizing the theoretical mutuality of the concepts of body and landscape in archaeology, we explore what happens to ‘landscape’ when we start from an alternative ontology of bodies. To that end, we explore why La Candelaria peoples existed in two different environments (yungas and semiarid valleys) in the first millennium AD. We argue that perceiving and experiencing a landscape does not exist as such; rather people experience “social” relationships with other beings that inhabit and, indeed, constitute the world.


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Towards a situated ontology of bodies and landscapes in the archaeology of the southern Andes (first millennium AD northwest Argentina). Andres Laguens, Benjamin Alberti. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402941)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
South America


Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

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