Houses and the Puzzle of "Public Space" in Ceja de Selva Communities of Northeastern Peru

Author(s): Anna Guengerich

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Beyond the Round House: Spatial Logic and Settlement Organization across the Late Andean Highlands" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Researchers seeking to systematically compare built environments across the late Andean highlands have frequently noted the absence of monumental corporate architecture at hilltop sites. A number of alternative candidates that fulfilled the function of public architecture have therefore been proposed, such as communal tombs and large perimeter walls. In this paper, I explore the question of how social communities were created in built environments that lacked architectural settings capable of accommodating community-wide gatherings. In the context of the ceja de selva of northeastern Peru, I propose that houses—rather than special-purpose structures—were the principal element that fulfilled this function for communities in this region. The large scale and elaborate exteriors of houses brought communities together during the events surrounding the initial construction process, but also as individuals continue to experience their façades as they moved through space on a daily basis. At the same time, the architectural similarities between houses and ceremonial structures reinforced the connection between household groups and spaces of shared value. In sum, these built environments provide a perspective not only on what "public space" meant in the LIP, but also how we conceptualize its relationship to domestic space more generally.

Cite this Record

Houses and the Puzzle of "Public Space" in Ceja de Selva Communities of Northeastern Peru. Anna Guengerich. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451115)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25772