Braeden Dimitroff works on archaeological project in Peru
Anthropology sophomore Braeden Dimitroff spent the summer in Peru working on the Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológico Regional Ancash (PIARA) during the summer of 2011. Braeden reports:
Upon arrival we were whisked away to the small town of Hualcayan (population about 200) in the Callejon de Huaylas located in the region of Ancash. During this project about 25 other students and I assisted Rebecca Bria and her co-director, a local Peruano, Felipe Livora, in the excavation of a ritual area at the nearby site (also called Hualcayan). These ritual mounds and their surrounding associated structures, deemed Perolcoto, are the earliest confirmed sector of Hualcayan, dating to at least as early as the mid-late Formative or “Early Horizon” (900-200 BC) and have possible ties to one of the earliest religious traditions in the Andes, the Kotosh tradition (though not confirmed). Rebecca is writing her dissertation on the site, focusing on the landscape and trying to learn more about how these early religions were associated with the rise of irrigation agriculture, and in what ways the terraces and canals surrounding it might have been involved in their religious ceremonies. Also, because the Callejon de Huaylas is such an understudied area, as is the Formative period in Peru in general, Rebecca would like to have a more extensive picture of this exciting period. Since the occupation of these ritual structures spans several religious and cultural periods, we are able to better interpret the ebb and flow of these incoming and outgoing religious traditions and understand how these once localized religions are influenced once they enter the sphere of the more theocratic religious cults as once isolated areas begin to interact with the surrounding region.