Identifier

etd-04272011-163508

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Geography and Anthropology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

This thesis examines ancient Andean performances from the early urban site of Caylán (800-10 cal. BCE) on the North-Central coast of Peru, Ancash. Spaces utilized for public events such as feasting, spectacles, and rituals have been a rich source of data for anthropologists looking to understand dynamics of community, power, and ideology. These spaces are also undervalued in terms of their potential multivocal qualities. During the Formative Period (1600-100 BCE), sunken plazas were the focus of a vast array of public activities and performances in ancient Peru. This thesis focuses on Formative Period public spaces as theaters of heightened interactions, and considers the shift from U-shaped temples to enclosure compounds at the end of the Formative. Research was conducted at Caylán in the lower Nepeña Valley, a large archaeological complex interpreted as the center of an emerging urban polity during the first millennium BCE The site epicenter was organized around a series of monumental enclosure compounds, each dominated by an elaborate benched plaza. One of these plazas, Plaza-A, occupied a central place within the settlement’s public landscape. Mapping and excavation operations conducted in 2009 and 2010 yielded spatial and material data to assess the essence of public landscapes as viewed through the use, organization, and perception of Plaza-A. Results indicate a spatially controlled and exclusive plaza environment, which relied on movement and manipulation of the senses to create an extraordinary public experience. Public activities included episodic spectacles involving the December Solstice, music, processions, feasts, and architecture entombment, as well as other social interactions such as craft production. I interpret multivocal usage of Plaza-A, and argue that public interactions maintained heterarchical sub-group identities in a new urban environment. My analyses highlight the role and significance of performance and public space in ancient complex societies.

Date

2011

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Secure the entire work for patent and/or proprietary purposes for a period of one year. Student has submitted appropriate documentation which states: During this period the copyright owner also agrees not to exercise her/his ownership rights, including public use in works, without prior authorization from LSU. At the end of the one year period, either we or LSU may request an automatic extension for one additional year. At the end of the one year secure period (or its extension, if such is requested), the work will be released for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Chicoine, David

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