SURCLA (Sydney University Research Community for Latin America) seminar | Mortuary practices and colonial encounters in Southern Peru
Mortuary practices and colonial encounters in Southern Peru
Dr Jacob Bongers (Boston University)
Thursday 12 October 2023, 5-6:30pm AEDT (Sydney time)
In-person: SLC Common Room 536, Brennan MacCallum Building A18, University of Sydney
Online: Join via Zoom
How do interactions between empires and Indigenous communities change ritualized behavior and produce new relationships of power? This talk explores the relationship between local mortuary practice and the Inca (15th century) and European (16th century) colonialism in the Chincha Valley on Peru’s South Coast. I employ various methods ranging from survey and excavation to drone photography and Bayesian statistical modelling to study a landscape of over 500 graves. Transformations in tomb use and post-mortem manipulation of the dead coincided with Inca and European incursion, demonstrating mortuary practice as a strategy for reshaping the socio-political landscape and living through colonial rule. My research reveals the agency and adaptability of Chincha communities during one of the most turbulent periods in Peruvian history. It widens the scope of colonialism studies to include a mortuary perspective on the dynamics between empires and local peoples.
About the speaker
Dr Jacob L Bongers is a Society of Fellows Postdoctoral Scholar in the Archaeology Program at Boston University. He holds a PhD in archaeology from the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. Bongers employs multidisciplinary methodologies built around archaeological science and digital archaeology to investigate how Indigenous communities confront social and environmental change. His doctoral research examined how groups configured ritualised behaviours in response to imperial conquest in southern Peru. He has conducted fieldwork in Portugal, Chile, Ethiopia, Oman, and Peru.
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