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Upcoming Scholarly Event

Pre-Columbian Tertulia
Upcoming Scholarly Event

Wari Mosaic Mirror. Dumbarton Oaks, Pre-Columbian Collection. PC.B.432

Theorizing the Wari Collapse

Katharina Schreiber (University of California at Santa Barbara)

Thursday, April 18, 2:00 pm

To register please contact Emily Jacobs.

The Wari Empire of the Central Andes collapsed sometime near the end of the first millennium AD. The Wari collapse was not merely the fall of a political regime; it entailed widespread demographic collapse as well. This was one of the most profound events to affect the Pre-Columbian Central Andes, yet the reasons for it are yet unknown. Of one thing we can be sure: this was undoubtedly a complex process involving multiple causal factors. This presentation explores our current state of knowledge and the various lines of evidence available that document the events that occurred, and their timing.

It considers factors commonly assumed to have contributed to the demise of the empire (e.g., environmental change), and presents several that have not yet been considered. Ultimately, this presentation seeks to open new windows into this issue that can provide new lines of evidence, and eventually (one hopes) a viable solution.

Katharina Schreiber will be in residence at Dumbarton Oaks as a Visiting Scholar from April 9 until May 8, 2013.

Katharina Schreiber is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she has taught since 1985, and served two terms as Department Chair. She received her PhD from Binghamton University, and has also taught at the University of Connecticut and the University of Arizona. She began her field research in the central highlands of Peru in 1974, and has dedicated a large portion of her investigations to the pre-Inca Wari Empire.

Professor Schreiber is the author of the 1992 book, Wari Imperialism in Middle Horizon Peru, as well as numerous scholarly articles and book chapters. Since the late 1980s she has worked extensively in the Nasca region of the south coast of Peru, and is the co-author of two books on the ancient hydraulic works there: Irrigation and Society in the Peruvian Desert (2003) and Aguas en el desierto [Waters in the desert] (2006). She has also conducted investigations in the Cuzco region and at Machu Picchu on Inca archaeoastronomy, and has published several articles on Inca culture. Her fieldwork has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society. She has been the editor of the journals Latin American Antiquity, published by the Society for American Archaeology, and Ñawpa Pacha: Journal of Andean Archaeology, published by the Institute of Andean Studies. She has recently completed a three-year investigation of Wari imperial sites in the upper Nasca region.

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