Public Research Lecture | Empire and Ancestors: Changing Andean Ritual Practice during the Late Prehispanic and Early Colonial Period

5th December 2022, 18:00-19:30
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Date: Monday 5th December 2022
Time: 18:00 – 19:30
Location: Conference Hall, Europa Point Campus

We are delighted to be welcoming Graduating PhD student and archaeologist, Elisa Benozzi, to deliver a lecture on her PhD research.

About the Lecture

Elisa’s PhD research addressed the impact of Inka and Spanish colonisation on the organisation of local sacred landscapes and the ancestor cults in two disparate regions of the Andes, the Huari province, Ancash, Peru, and the Tacuil-La Hoyada Valley, Salta, Argentina.

The comparisons between these two areas have enabled the identification of differences and similarities between these wider regions, which reflect the ongoing and changing relationship between the people and their land and ancestors. Furthermore, this archaeological cross-comparison of two large areas drove and widened the scope of research questions such as:- Did Inka expansion affect the native relationship with their sacred landscape? How do the archaeological remains show Inka attempts to control the sacred landscape? Is it possible to determine whether Andean cult practices survived the Spanish conquest?

Additional info:

To understand the modalities and reasons for the changes that occurred in these two areas, the two conquests, the Inka and the Spanish, were interpreted as two moments of transition and rupture. These moments offered the key to understanding the alterations that occurred in the relationship between the local populations, their sacred landscapes and their ancestor worship.

The data comparison from the two areas showed that during the Inka conquest, there was an insertion of what were typical elements of the imperial presence in both, such as the presence of the Qhapaq Ñan (Inka Road) and the introduction of architectural elements and objects typical of the Inka culture. In some cases, it was possible to identify this Inka presence within funeral contexts. It was also noted how, in both areas, certain elements of the sacred landscape had been inkanized, while others were purposefully marginalized. In contrast, during the Spanish conquest, a number of landscape elements in the Tacuil-La Hoyada Valley became symbols of resistance to conquest during the various wars of insurgency; while in the Huari region they went through a process of partial assimilation into the new Spanish social and religious organization.

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