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Rejection and Reinvention: a diachronic perspective on ritual and collapse in the south central Andes

Author(s): Nicola Sharratt

Year: 2017

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Scholarship on Tiwanaku (AD 600-1000) emphasizes the ceremonial nature of its capital city and the role of ritual practice in incorporating diverse groups as the state’s influence expanded across the south central Andes. Although debate continues about its cause, recent research indicates that the Tiwanaku state’s political collapse played out over several centuries. In this paper, I draw on data spanning that period of fragmentation to take a diachronic perspective on the ways in which ritual, which had been so tightly intertwined with state politics and elite authority, was impacted following collapse. Examining both community ceremonial activity and funerary rites I propose that, during the height of the Tiwanaku state, ritual practice played an important role in the shifting socio-political landscape brought about by collapse. In the short term (AD 1000-1250), many Tiwanaku rituals were maintained but subtle shifts in funerary rites and the resituating of collective ceremonies reveal how populations confronted intra and inter community tensions. I then examine the longer term rituals (post AD 1250), and explore why Tiwanaku collective ceremonial practice ultimately disappeared from the archaeological record, but elements of funerary ritual endured.

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Rejection and Reinvention: a diachronic perspective on ritual and collapse in the south central Andes. Nicola Sharratt. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429647)


andes Collapse tiwanaku

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): 15215

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