Uniformity, Variability, and Genres in Tiwanaku Ceramic Iconography, A.D. 500-1100

Friday, September 18, 2020
4 pm | Online

Dr. Jonah Augustine

Honorary Fellow

Abstract: Tiwanaku, located in western Bolivia, was among the largest cities in the Americas during the Middle Horizon (c. AD 500 to 1100) and the capital of an eponymous Andean state. During the consolidation of Tiwanaku, people began to produce a variety of novel ceramic forms that were decorated with elaborate, polychrome iconography. These materials were ubiquitous throughout the Tiwanaku city and state. Archaeologists today find them in a variety of contexts, ranging from offerings left on the steps of pyramids to household trash heaps. What types of images were depicted upon these key media? What forms of archaeological analysis are available to evaluate and compare iconographic conventions between social spaces at Tiwanaku? Importantly, how do the characteristics of the forms and iconography of Tiwanaku ceramics reflect their variable social roles and political significances within Tiwanaku? This talk will address these questions, presenting the results of an analysis of polychrome ceramics from Tiwanaku.