Mapping Lines and Lives at the Sajama Lines, Bolivia: A Model for Ritualized Landscapes

Author(s): Adam Birge

Year: 2017


Ritual trails and geoglyphs in the Andes date back as far as 400 BC and are perhaps best represented in the Nasca lines and the ceques of Cusco. In western Bolivia, the Sajama lines are a network of ritual trails that cover an estimated 22,000 square kilometers and connect pucaras, chullpas, villages, and chapels. Although this ritualized landscape was heavily modified during the Colonial (1532-1820) and Republican (1821-1952) eras, these pathways had prehistoric use by the local Carangas. These lines may have facilitated social and ritual behaviors but also allowed for negotiation of Spanish and Inca colonization. Understanding these pathways and their features and artifacts allows for inferences to be made about the creation and change of social, political, and ritual life. In this paper, I present a model for investigating the material remains of the Sajama lines that would allow it to be comparable to other ritualized landscapes. This model was based off of a pilot project in 2015 where I identified and surveyed a group of nine ritual pathways around the mountain of Nevado Sajama. This model will be applied to a larger sample of the Sajama lines in future fieldwork.

Cite this Record

Mapping Lines and Lives at the Sajama Lines, Bolivia: A Model for Ritualized Landscapes. Adam Birge. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429012)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


andes landscapes Ritual

Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16961