“A wonderful book. We learn about a wide range of Andean worldviews, which the authors present through the lens of the ontological turn. Rich with detail and nuance, this volume offers past and present ways of living in the Andean cultural world.”—Christine A. Hastorf, coauthor of Heads of State: Icons, Power, and Politics in the Ancient and Modern Andes
“Combining detailed archaeological case studies with penetrating theoretical essays, this well-edited collection is a major contribution to understanding the worlds created and inhabited by people in the Andes.”—Jerry D. Moore, author of Cultural Landscapes in the Ancient Andes: Archaeologies of Place
Andean Ontologies: New Archaeological Perspectives is a fascinating interdisciplinary investigation of how ancient Andean people understood their world and the nature of being. Exploring pre-Hispanic ideas of time, space, and the human body, these essays highlight a range of beliefs across the region’s different cultures, emphasizing the relational aspects of identity in Andean worldviews. Studies included here show that Andeans physically interacted with their pasts through recurring ceremonies in their ritual calendar and that Andean bodies were believed to be changeable entities with the ability to interact with nonhuman and spiritual worlds. A survey of rock art describes Andeans’ changing relationships with places and things over time. Archaeological and ethnographic evidence reveals head hair was believed to be a conduit for the flow of spiritual power, and bioarchaeological remains offer evidence of Andean perceptions of age and wellness.
This volume breaks new ground by bringing together an array of renowned specialists including anthropologists, bioarchaeologists, historians, linguists, ethnohistorians, and art historians to evaluate ancient Amerindian ideologies through different interpretive lenses. Many are local researchers from South American countries such as Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina, and this volume makes their work available to North American readers for the first time. Their essays are highly contextualized according to the territories and time periods studied. Instead of taking an external, outside-in approach, they prioritize internal and localized views that incorporate insights from today’s indigenous societies. This cutting-edge collection demonstrates the value of a multifaceted, holistic, inside-out approach to studying the pre-Columbian world.
María Cecilia Lozada, research associate in anthropology at the University of Chicago, is coeditor of Archaeological Human Remains: Legacies of Imperialism, Communism and Colonialism. Henry Tantaleán, professor in archaeology at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos and associate director of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Culture and the Environment at the University of South Florida, is the author of Peruvian Archaeology: A Critical History.