Visually Linking the Ritual and the Quotidian at Tiwanaku, AD 500-1100

Author(s): Jonah Augustine

Year: 2017


In this paper, I examine ceramic vessels, primarily serving wares, from the site of Tiwanaku, the preeminent city in the Central Andes between AD 500 and 1100, in order to examine the political effects of visual media in the ancient Andes. The paper’s empirical focal point is a comparison of ceramics recovered from the monumental core and from a residential sector at Tiwanaku. My analysis is based on both attribute and iconographic data I collected during fieldwork that sought to examine the relationship between the media that were consumed at various locations within Tiwanaku. I found that there was a significant amount of shared iconography depicted on materials excavated within Tiwanaku’s monumental core and on materials from the residential complex of Mollo Kontu. Based on this evidence, I argue that these ceramic vessels provided visual links between the large-scale public rituals in the vicinity of the site’s monuments and the small-scale rituals and meals of people living outside of the monumental core. These links, in turn, had a political effect on the residents of the city, as they served as reminders of those rituals in which peoples’ social statuses and obligations to the broader community were most vividly manifested.

Cite this Record

Visually Linking the Ritual and the Quotidian at Tiwanaku, AD 500-1100. Jonah Augustine. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430413)

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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): 16116