Ritualized memory and landscape at Pueblo Sajama, Bolivia: a study of a sacred landscape and colonial encounter

Date
2016
Authors
Birge, Adam
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Abstract

Near the mountain of Nevado Sajama in the Oruro Department, Bolivia exists a vast 16,000 kilometer network of pre-Hispanic linear pathways that connect villages, chapels, churches, and hilltop altars. Near Pueblo Sajama at the base of Nevado Sajama, a small sample of the Sajama lines is represented in nine pathways that connect chapels with elevated altars. The creation and transformation of these pathways and associated places demonstrate a changing ritual practice that occasionally reused pre-Hispanic materials and places to combine Catholic and Andean sacred elements. Through this negotiation of practice, the local Aymara people were able to mitigate Spanish colonial strategies by incorporating Catholicism into local understandings of the landscape, space, and ritual. In order to examine the nature of this transformation, I combine informal ethnographic data along with material remains found along these pathways. Through these methods, I test a possible model for ritualized landscapes as well as provide a study of the dynamic social nature of landscapes.

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Keywords
Andes, Archaeology, Colonialism, Landscape, Memory, Ritualization
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Department
Anthropology