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An Archaeological Perspective on the Andean Concept of Camaquen: Thinking Through Late Pre-Columbian Ofrendas and Huacas

  • Tamara L. Bray (a1)


Ethnohistoric sources suggest that the indigenous inhabitants of Andean South America saw both people and things as animated or enlivened by a common vital force (camaquen). In approaching the subject of camaquen archaeologically, I attempt to place objects and their materiality at the analytical centre, rather than the normally privileged ethnohistoric or ethnographic data, in order to see what new insights into the nature of Pre-Columbian ontologies might be gained from ‘thinking through things’. In this, I follow recent theories premised on the idea that the traditional segregation of concepts and things may hinder understanding of alternative worlds. The study focuses specifically on the arrangements, relationality and referentiality between and among objects found in sacred and offering contexts dating to the Inca period.


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Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
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