Che Research at the Nexus Between History and Prehistory

Author(s): Jacob Sauer

Year: 2014


Many historical treatments of the Che (also known as Araucanians or Mapuche) of south-central Chile suggest that the Che, as a culture, is the product of Spanish colonial efforts in southern Chile. Based on 16th and 17th Century texts,these investigators argue that Che ethnogenesis occurred after the Spanish arrived in southern Chile in the mid-16th century. Archaeological investigations, in contrast, indicate long-term continuity in the development of cultural patterns and practices that point to Che actors successfully avoiding much of the hybridized and/or syncretized culture that affected most indigenous societies in the Americas. This paper presents some of the archaeological and historical data regarding Che development, arguing that the ability of the Che to maintain cultural autonomy is based in pre-Hispanic social structures that were affected, but not drastically changed, by Spanish incursion. The Che provide an important example of long-term cultural resilience, as well the need for archaeology and history to work together in a more critical, as well as complementary, fashion.

Cite this Record

Che Research at the Nexus Between History and Prehistory. Jacob Sauer. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436858)

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-33,07