This international collaborative project for conservation and documentation of a historic Peruvian archaeological collection was supported by a 2005-6 Project Grant from Dumbarton Oaks.
Abstract: The Paracas collections, excavated between 1925 and 1928 by Julio C. Tello, founder of Peruvian archaeology, are both a national symbol and an archaeological incognito, due to lack of access – until recently – to archives conserving excavation data. Recent research initiated in Peru provides new opportunities for international collaboration. This model can be implemented by other museums, to improve the contextual information, conditions and interpretation of existing collections.
Link to Dumbarton Oaks Pre-Columbian Studies Project Grant Report
This project is discussed in the context of the concepts of “museum of empire” and “museum of origin.”
Abstract: Museum collections are built with objects that have been removed from the landscape and social context in which they were made and used. Some museums are clearly “museums of empire,” linked to other practices that extract resources from one place to concentrate them in another, while others, such as site museums and those that preserve community heritage objects, can be considered “museums of origin,” linked to the salvage and conservation of objects found nearby. National museums typically play both roles.
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Paracas Necropolis schema of complex male burial by Ann H. Peters is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
First created in 2007, this diagram has been previously published as © Etno-Arqueología Andina in two articles writen by Ann H. Peters:
2007 La Necrópolis de Wari Kayan. In Hilos del Pasado: El aporte francés al legado de Paracas, edited by Elmo León, pp. 23-32. Nacional de Cultura, Lima.
2009 El cementerio de Paracas Necrópolis: un mapa social complejo. In Mantos para la eternidad. Textiles Paracas del antiguo Perú, Ana Verde Casanova et al., pp. 27-36. Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid.
Identity, Innovation and Textile Exchange Practices at the Paracas Necropolis, 2000 BP.
Abstract: Elayne Zorn’s detailed ethnographic research demonstrated interrelationships between the organization of textile production, exchange relationships within and beyond Andean communities, persistence and innovation in style, and the meanings ascribed to textile-based iconography. We seek to demonstrate that all these issues can – and should – be addressed in the analysis of textile assemblages from documented archaeological contexts in the southern Central Andes, revealing evidence for complex and historically dynamic socio-political relationships. The Paracas Necropolis cemetery, approximately 150BC-AD200, is the largest set of relatively well-preserved and well-recorded burials documenting early complex society on the desert coast of the Central Andes, one of the few regions of the world preserving evidence of textile history and its social contexts. In the Necropolis sectors, conical mortuary bundles constructed around each buried individual incorporate layers of large cotton plain-weaves, fine garments elaborately embroidered in polychrome camelid hair, and regalia created with diverse textile structures, product of one to six or more post-mortem rituals. Based on the physical evidence, we model production processes of the textile artifacts and their use to construct the mortuary bundles, transforming the recently deceased into an ancestral figure. Distinctions in technique and style permit us to construct style groups that can be traced among different burials, to consider the cemetery as the residue of practices that mobilized social networks and changing relationships of power among polities in the surrounding region. While our analysis includes all artifacts in each Paracas Necropolis assemblage, textiles appear consistently as the principal material agent of social significance.
Link to Essay presented at the Textile Society of America 2012 Conference, Digital Commons @ University of Nebraska Lincoln