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The Creation of Colonial Sacred Space and Landscapes around Nevado Sajama, Bolivia

Author(s): Adam Birge

Year: 2016

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Around the mountain of Sajama in western Bolivia exists a network of pre-Hispanic linear pathways that connect villages, chapels, churches, and hilltop altars. These pathways were primarily used in the Colonial era (1532-1825) but are still used by the local Aymara people for fiestas and rituals. The creation and transformation of this space demonstrates a changing ritual practice that occasionally reused pre-Hispanic places to combine Catholic and Andean sacred elements. Through this negotiation of practice, the local Aymara people were able to integrate Spanish colonial strategies into local understandings of the landscape, space, and ritual. In order to examine the nature of this transformation, I combine informal ethnographic data concerning the modern-day use of these pathways along with the material remains of rituals around nine pathways, five chapels, and thirteen altars located primarily around the pueblo of Sajama.

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The Creation of Colonial Sacred Space and Landscapes around Nevado Sajama, Bolivia. Adam Birge. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404969)


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