Andean Indigenous Bodies: Methodological Approaches to Past Perceptions of the Body


This is an abstract from the "From Individual Bodies to Bodies of Social Theory: Exploring Ontologies of the Americas" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Any attempt to understand indigenous anatomy and perceptions of the body from an emic perspective in the Andes is a challenging endeavor, beginning with basic definitions that differ substantially from Western traditions. Furthermore, definitions changed across space and time throughout Andean prehistory, making it difficult to discuss the topic in a unified, monolithic manner. In the Andes, there are a variety of ontological data on this subject. These are based on ethnohistorical, linguistic, ethnographic, materiality and phenomenological studies that provide insights into an emic view of the Andean worldview, including perceptions of the body. In this paper, we present bioarchaeological case studies from different parts of the Andes as well as a study of Quechua terminology that illustrate the unique view and treatment of the "body" in this part of the world. In addition, we provide methodological recommendations in osteological research that need to be followed in an effort to provide a more nuanced interpretation of past worldviews anchored in the body.

Cite this Record

Andean Indigenous Bodies: Methodological Approaches to Past Perceptions of the Body. Maria Lozada, Danielle Kurin, Enmanuel Gomez, Maria Lozada. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450588)


Body Indigenous Other

Geographic Keywords
South America: Andes

Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25521