An archaeological microhistory of the death and resurrection of a colonized Ande


Apr. 19, 2021, 11:30am to 12:30pm

Office/Remote Location



Dr. Stephen Wernke of Tulane University will be discussing how The General Resettlement of Indians (Reducción General de Indios) in the viceroyalty of Peru was one of the largest forced resettlement programs by a colonial power in world history. Over a million Indigenous Andeans were resettled to compact towns in just a few years during the 1570s. How "reducción" towns were situated and built, how living in them affected daily life in Indigenous communities, and why some were abandoned while others endured remain vexing questions. This talk renders these processes in detail through holistic research centering on a spectacularly-preserved reducción town in the high elevation reaches of the Colca Valley of southern Peru. It traces out the “birth” of the reducción of Santa Cruz de Tuti through forced resettlement, its decline and “death” as it was abandoned in 1843, and its “resurrection” as a new town of similar form was built nearby. Spatial analyses of the settlement and historical demography reveal the processes involved in locating and building the town. Spatial modeling of movement and visual perception inside the town approximates the experience of dwelling in it. The demographic, political, and economic legacies of colonial resettlement here and elsewhere are also explored.



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Department of Anthropology
Liam Frink

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