WATER, COPPER, WAK’AS, AND EMPIRE IN THE HIGH-ALTITUDE ATACAMA
7:30 PM, Tuesday, January 19, 2021
via Zoom at your Computer or Smart Phone
How did prehispanic farmers make a living in the hyperarid, high-altitude Atacama Desert and how did their lives and landscapes change under Inka rule? Archaeologists from the University of New Mexico, the University of Chile and the Spanish National Research Council are collaborating to answer these questions for the upper Loa region of northern Chile. In this seemingly marginal landscape, Late Intermediate (ca. AD 1100–1400) communities herded llamas, irrigated terraced slopes with spring-fed canals, and mined copper. When the Inka took over this region in ca. AD 1400, they built roads and administrative centers, intensified copper mining, and expanded irrigation agriculture. An explanation for these changes requires acknowledging, as the Inka and local communities did, the role played by powerful landscape beings (wak’as) in local life and imperial politics. Inka claims to water, land, and labor were reinforced and legitimated through their control and use of copper minerals, a substance essential for offerings to mountain wak’as, the source of water and hence of life in this hyperarid environment.
Frances Hayashida is an archaeologist who studies late prehispanic societies in the Andes. She has worked primarily on the north coast of Peru. With colleagues from Chile and Spain, she currently co-directs an interdisciplinary, collaborative project on late prehispanic land use and the consequences of Inka rule in the high-altitude Atacama Desert. She is a professor of anthropology and the director of the Latin American and Iberian Institute at the University of New Mexico. Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and her PhD from the University of Michigan.
As usual, an email will go out this weekend with the Zoom invitation, our speaker will be UNM Professor Frances Hayashida. The meeting will start at 7:00, to give people more time to trickle in and have some social time, with the business meeting to start at 7:30.
The Albuquerque Archaeological Society is an avocational group that advocates preserving archaeological and other cultural resources by informing members and the public about archaeological and ethnological subjects through our meetings, presentations, newsletter, other electronic media, field trips, volunteer efforts, field surveys, and studies. Membership is only $25 for an individual or family, and it’s free to students with a Student ID or current class schedule. Membership puts you on our mailing list for our monthly newsletter, and gives you access to our field trips, volunteering endeavors, and our seminars. However, our meetings are always free and open to the public, with a guest lecturer and refreshments, great conversation, and the chance to socialize with those who share an interest in archaeology, both professionals and avocational members. Come see what we’re all about! We’d love your company!