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Pre-Columbian Symposium

October 4–5, 2024 | Alicia Boswell, Gabriel Prieto, and Lisa Trever, Organizers

Moche Media: Making Meaning across Materials and Communities on the North Coast of Peru

This two-day symposium discusses different media and materials of image-making across communities of practice within the Moche cultural area.

Registration will open in June 2024.

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Since its earliest foundations, Moche archaeology has relied heavily on interpretations of politics, religion, and other aspects of ancient life extrapolated from art and visual culture. Murals, metalworks, textiles, and finely painted and sculpted ceramics have offered tantalizing glimpses of ancient Moche worlds (ca. 300–850 CE). Over the last forty years, a tidal wave of archaeological research has greatly expanded understandings of the social and political dynamics of the north coast of Peru during the first millennium CE. It is now clear that Moche communities forged relationships with other communities, both near and far, which are often evidenced in the visual arts. We observe, however, that recent analytical attention to socio-political organization has not extended to a comparable critical attention to the dynamics of image making.

This symposium considers how ancient makers employed distinct media and materials to create, translate, and inflect forms of art and visual culture with meanings, values, and agencies that varied and/or were shared across space, time, and social settings. Papers address how similar images were invoked in disparate contexts—from funerary vessels to warrior clothing to monumental programs—as well as how individual communities of practice made distinctive choices within the “culture area.” Building on and at times departing from traditional interests in iconography and style within Pre-Columbian studies, this symposium interrogates what we argue are intertwined concepts of intermediality and interregionality.

Recent research has made possible closer scrutiny of site- and valley-specific practices of making across media and within more tightly controlled chronologies. The symposium presenters each draw in their own ways upon new data from fieldwork and collection analyses to critically consider the ancient histories of how images reflected–but also actively participated in–negotiations of social relationships and differences between and within Moche and non-Moche communities of north coastal Peru during the first millennium CE. Although this program is focused on Moche art and archaeology, its guiding questions are designed to produce broader insights for the study of ancient art and society.

Image: Drawing of a fragment of a tapestry band with panels depicting a sacrificial scene and an owl holding a goblet, dated to A.D. 750-850 from Pampa la Cruz, Huanchaco, Moche Valley, Peru. Drawing by Luis Flores de la Oliva with permission from Gabriel Prieto.

Past Topics


Out of the Shadows: The Beginnings of South American Civilization

October 6–7, 2023 | Tom D. Dillehay and Eduardo Neves, Organizers


After ~8500 BP, human groups in parts of South America, especially in the Central Andes and the tropical lowlands began to settle down, domesticate, adopt agriculture, and take many of the steps that we associate with “civilization.” Recent developments in archaeology bring a complex perspective of the early history of permanent agro-maritime villages, farming communities, camelid husbandry, public architecture, art and iconography, and craft production. Between ~7500-5000 BP, these developments resulted in the establishment of new social organizations, elaborate iconographies, public rituals, large-scale monumental structures, proto-urban population centers, and intensive landscape transformations.

The appearance of permanent villages and towns in productive resource zones (e.g., oases coastal valleys of Peru and fertile basins of wider-Amazonia) created new socio-political forms and ideologies that involved conceptual shifts in the way people interacted with their environments, ancestors, and the spiritual world. Early plant domestication/cultivation, independent centers of craft production with art styles disseminating across the Andes to the Pacific coast, monumental and public architecture, as well as large earthen-shell mounds and stone structures attest to multiple dynamic histories of cultural and social innovation that occurred in the northern half of South America.

This symposium questions whether it is still valid to import and replicate the developmental categories "Archaic" or "Formative" to refer to the deep past of South America, or whether new categories based on local contexts and interregional interactions are needed. Participants will discuss key archaeological data and interpretative models to critically explore regional and subcontinental processes of socio-cultural formation.

Beyond Representation: Ancient Indigenous Visual Culture

October 7–8, 2022 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Tamara L. Bray and Carolyn Dean, Symposiarchs


For most of its history, the study of Pre-Columbian art and material culture has been dominated by iconographic approaches, with scholarly efforts geared toward interpreting what is being represented. Iconography implicitly links the meaning of art (taken here in its broad sense) to its subject matter and assumes that the idea of the represented precedes its material enactment and form. The goal of this symposium is to consider what might lie beyond iconological interpretations of things and images by exploring other ways such figures may have operated within pre-Columbian life-worlds, and different ways meaning may have been created and apprehended. In recent years, attention to indigenous ontologies has opened scholarship to non-imagistic aspects of signification and affect. By focusing on non-iconographic approaches to the study of pre-Columbian (re)presentation, this symposium aims to shine light on the ways indigenous artisans not only deployed the non-imagistic, but also how aniconism and iconism were differentially practiced. Symposium participants will reflect upon the following types of questions: What are the consequences of iconography’s dominance in the interpretation of pre-Columbian imagery and art? How has the bias toward mimetic representation potentially obscured other ways things and images signify, embody, manifest, or stabilize? What are the possibilities in forwarding a non-representational approach to visual culture wherein we think about the role of objects or art in “world-making” rather than “world-representing,” as pre-existing fact? How might approaching “representations” not as codes to be cracked but as performative “doings” resulting from ever-changing constellations of actors inform interpretation?

Tenochtitlan: Imperial Ideologies on Display

April 8–9, 2022 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Leonardo López Luján, Barbara E. Mundy, and Elizabeth H. Boone, Symposiarchs


The island city of Tenochtitlan, with the sacred precinct at its ceremonial core, was the largest urban center in the Americas in the fourteenth century. It enjoyed a meteoric rise to power: beginning sometime in the thirteenth century, its leaders transformed it into the political and economic center of an empire and positioned it as the spiritual epicenter of the Mexica world. Even after Mexica rulership was decapitated following the invasion and siege of 1519–1521, the city, rechristened Mexico City, remained an imperial capital.

The commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the fall of Tenochtitlan offers the opportunity to look anew at the reasons for the city’s rapid consolidation and enduring status as an imperial capital. How were interactions between human actors, architectural settings, and ritual programs harnessed to support the political and religious centrality of this urban center? When we extend the examination of these interactions beyond the horizon set by the destruction of Tenochtitlan's ceremonial core in the 1520s, what elements of this imperial system endure? And what, in turn, does this endurance reveal of the system itself?

Nearly forty years after our groundbreaking “The Aztec Templo Mayor” symposium of 1983, this year's symposium features a new generation of international scholars, many of them trained by participants in the 1983 meeting. It draws on ongoing work by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia’s Templo Mayor Project and Urban Archaeology Program, which has established, among other new data, the nucleus of the architectural setting of the ceremonial core. Speakers highlight recent discoveries brought to light by archeological and archival research; discuss excavations of offerings, burials, and skull racks as the physical residue of ephemeral performances; and examine sculptures, manuscripts, ritual objects, and luxury items as indices of artistic production and imperial ideologies. Tracing continuities across time allows us to underscore the features that fostered Tenochtitlan's rapid rise as an imperial center and their utility after the regime change.

Faces of Rulership in the Maya Region

March 26–27, 2021 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Patricia McAnany (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Marilyn Masson (University at Albany, SUNY), Symposiarchs


Kingship has been characterized as one of the most durable forms of human governance. Yet within this form of authoritarian rule, there reside myriad possibilities for the construal of authority, particularly in how rulers relate to history, the cosmos, their constituencies, other rulers or religious authorities, landscape, and resources. This symposium explores the different faces of rulership in the Maya region with an eye to the monumental and enduring fashion in which rulers inscribe their legacies on landscape and how structures of authority were reconstituted, with innovations, through time. Although the symposium emphasizes the Classic period as the apex of a populous and ruler-filled landscape, it also gives attention to forms of rulership that survived or were revived during the Postclassic through Contact periods. Speakers consider crosscutting themes of ruler personae, including sociohistorical identity, mythical charters, adornment, and consumption habits that distanced lords from their subjects. The symposium fosters comparisons and syntheses of the organizational foundations of both northern and southern Maya kingdoms, bridging scholarly approaches that too often are confined to the subregional scale. Speakers consider how northern and southern courts differed in terms of the creation of divine charters and the liberties and constraints of kingly authority. Importantly, this symposium explores the underlying structural properties that explain divergent expressions of power and the relationship between rulers and those who were governed. The evolution and survival of authoritarian regimes is a prescient topic in the world today with direct consequences for future pathways. By focusing on the Pre-Columbian Maya region of the Americas, speakers in this symposium address divergent concepts of authority.


Waves of Influence: Revisiting Coastal Connections between Pre-Columbian Northwest South America and Mesoamerica

October 11–12, 2019 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Christopher S. Beekman and Colin McEwan, Symposiarchs


Since the days of Max Uhle, Marshall Saville, René Verneau, Paul Rivet, and Samuel Lothrop, scholars have drawn attention to archaeological evidence linking the Pacific Coast societies of South America with those of Mexico and Central America. Investigators have pointed to the shared occurrence of shaft tombs, stirrup spout vessels, copper-alloy axe monies and bells, and even hairless dogs. This early trait-list approach presented intriguing data that have attracted periodic attention, but generated few satisfactory explanations. This symposium addresses afresh the evidence for interaction along the contiguous coastal littoral from western Mexico to northern Peru. Participants will consider the history of local and regional waterborne contacts, as well as long distance voyaging, as alternate modes of movement along the coast. How can we recognize the beginnings of open sea navigation in the archaeological record? What is the likelihood of early cultigens including maize, cacao, and chili peppers being transported by sea? How does new ceramic, metallurgical, sculptural, and architectural comparative evidence point to specific geographic locations that were in contact with one another from Formative times onward? And how and why did coastal communication vary over time? Far from following a culture area model, individual centers emerged to form local, regional, and long-distance networks, which structured coastal communication and navigation. We seek to reshape our views of Pre-Columbian societies around dynamic and overlapping social networks that connected, rather than separated, different geographical areas.

Reconsidering the Chavín Phenomenon in the 21st Century

October 5–6, 2018 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Richard L. Burger and Jason Nesbitt, Symposiarchs


Chavín de Huántar has long been considered crucial to understanding the emergence of ancient Andean civilization during the late Initial Period (1100–800 BCE) and Early Horizon (800–400 BCE). The site is perhaps best known as a ceremonial center that consisted of a temple core with monumental platforms, interior galleries, and plaza spaces, as well as finely carved stone sculpture. However, Chavín de Huántar was not a vacant ceremonial center, but also boasted a residential sector that covered an area of more than fifty hectares. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the inhabitants of Chavín de Huántar had access to exotic resources that came from distant sources, indicating that the settlement was enmeshed in a far-flung exchange network encompassing much of the Central Andes.

For these reasons, scholars now believe that the ascendency of Chavín de Huántar was not an isolated phenomenon. During the early first millennium BCE, when Chavín was prospering, the contemporary cultures of the Peruvian coast, highlands, ceja de selva, and tropical forest regions underwent socioeconomic, technological, and religious transformations. The synchronicity of these widespread changes, coupled with intrusive Chavín material culture and iconography at distant centers, suggests that Chavín de Huántar influenced a large region through the expansion of religious ideology and intensified long-distance interaction. The pan-Andean influence of Chavín de Huántar has led some scholars to refer to a “Chavín Horizon” or “Chavín Interaction Sphere,” while others, feeling less certain about its nature, refer to a “Chavín Phenomenon.”

Over the last fifteen years, a surge in archaeological research at Chavín contemporary sites throughout the Andes has generated a wealth of new data that has created opportunities for a critical reassessment of models of interregional interaction during these periods. This symposium seeks to use these investigations to create an updated synthesis of Chavín as a regional phenomenon.

The symposium is organized by Richard Burger (Yale University) and Jason Nesbitt (Tulane University). Symposium contributors include Rebecca Bria, David Chicoine, Ryan Clasby, Lisa DeLeonardis, Jahl Dulanto, Yuichi Matsumoto, Christopher Pool, John Rick, Matthew Sayre, Yuji Seki, Lucy Salazar, and Michelle Young.

Teotihuacan: The World beyond the City

October 6–7, 2017 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Barbara Arroyo, Kenneth Hirth, and David Carballo, Symposiarchs

Teotihuacan was a city of major importance in the Pre-Columbian Americas. It was one of only two cities in the New World ever to have a resident population of over one hundred thousand people, and it grew in size to cover an area similar to its Old World contemporary, imperial Rome. As a result, it has been the subject of various symposia and publications on the origin of state systems, urbanism, religion, art, and long-distance relations. One of the most significant aspects of Teotihuacan is the distance over which its influence extended.

In this symposium, we wish to move beyond the boundaries of the city to synthesize current thinking about relationships with areas both close to the city and at much greater distances. Teotihuacan appears to have influenced social, political, and economic relationships from central Mexico to as far away as the Maya lowlands. Until the Aztecs, no other center in Mesoamerican prehistory had the amount of measurable influence over other societies as did Teotihuacan.

What did it mean to be Teotihuacano within the context of a cosmopolitan city and expansionistic state? How can we best evaluate archaeological and iconographic data to understand the nature of Teotihuacan’s contacts with other regions of Classic-period Mesoamerica and their changes through time? This symposium will be the first attempt to evaluate models of Teotihuacan’s internal organization and external interactions in light of recent data. The goal of the symposium is to develop a platform for conceptualizing regional interactions in Classic-period Mesoamerica that can guide the development of future research questions at Teotihuacan and elsewhere.

The symposium is organized by Barbara Arroyo (Instituto de Antropología e Historia de Guatemala), Kenneth Hirth (Pennsylvania State University), and David Carballo (Boston University). Symposium contributors include Marcello Canuto, Barbara Fash, William Fash, Claudia Garcia de Lauriers, Gary Feinman, Diana Magaloni, Deborah Nichols, Megan O’Neil, Patricia Plunket, Matthew Robb, Michael Smith, Wes Stoner, Nawa Sugiyama, Maria Teresa Uriarte, Gabriela Uruñuela, and Marc Zender.

Sacred Matter: Animism and Authority in Pre-Columbian America

October 7–8, 2016 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Steven Kosiba, John Janusek, and Thomas Cummins, Symposiarchs

Please note that due to renovations of the Dumbarton Oaks Museum, this symposium will be held off-site at the Naval Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20004.

Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the annual Pre-Columbian symposium, to be held off-site at the Naval Heritage Center in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 7, and Saturday, October 8, 2016. The symposium, organized by Steve Kosiba, John Janusek, and Thomas Cummins, will run for two full days beginning Friday morning and concluding late Saturday afternoon.

The symposium examines animism in Pre-Columbian America, focusing on how objects and places played central social roles in practices that expressed and sanctified political authority in the Andes, Amazon, and Mesoamerica. Throughout these regions, Pre-Columbian people staked claims to their authority when they animated matter by giving life to grandiose buildings, speaking with deified boulders, and killing valued objects. Likewise, things and places often animated people by demanding labor, care, and nourishment. In these practices of animation, things were cast as active subjects, agents of political change, and representatives of communities. People were positioned according to specific social roles and stations: workers, worshippers, revolutionaries, tribute payers, or authorities. Such practices manifested political visions of social order by defining relationships between people, things, and the environment.

With this theme, the symposium addresses theoretical issues of interest to a broad range of scholars, including anthropologists, historians, and philosophers. In recent years, such scholars have come to see things and places as active components of social life. But, similar to early anthropological theories of animism or more recent new materialist accounts, these scholars often prioritize how things and places index broader cultural frameworks rather than focusing on the contexts and practices in which matter may come to life to realize political goals. Participants in this symposium argue that the actions of things and places, and the authority that they may constitute, rely on situated practices. This interdisciplinary group of scholars will present a range of perspectives (archaeological, art historical, ethnohistorical, and linguistic) to shed light on how Pre-Columbian social authority was claimed and sanctified in practices of transformation and transubstantiation—that is, practices that birthed, converted, or destroyed certain objects and places, as well as the social and natural order from which these things were said to emerge.

This symposium is organized by Steve Kosiba (University of Minnesota), John Janusek (Vanderbilt University), and Thomas Cummins (Harvard University). Symposium speakers include Beth Conklin (Vanderbilt University), Marco Curatola (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú), Carlos Fausto (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro), Santiago Giraldo (Global Heritage Fund—Colombia), Byron Hamann (Ohio State University), Scott Hutson (University of Kentucky), Arthur Joyce (University of Colorado), Patricia McAnany (University of North Carolina), Bruce Mannheim (University of Michigan), Johannes Neurath (Museo Nacional de Antropología/INAH, Posgrado en Estudios), and Mary Weismantel (Northwestern University). Catherine Allen (George Washington University) will provide concluding remarks.

Smoke, Flames, and the Human Body in Mesoamerican Ritual Practice

October 9–10, 2015 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Vera Tiesler and Andrew Scherer, Symposiarchs

Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the annual Pre-Columbian symposium, to be held in the Music Room of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 9, and Saturday, October 10, 2015. The symposium, organized by Vera Tiesler and Andrew Scherer, will run for two full days, beginning Friday morning and concluding late Saturday afternoon.

Epitomizing the radiating sun and perpetuating the cycles of life and time, fire was and continues to be a central force in the Mesoamerican cosmos. In the Mesoamerican worldview, heat and flames are animate forces and signify strength and vitality; the most powerful of individuals are embodied with immense heat. Moreover, fire is transformative; it is both a means to destroy and to transport offerings to otherworldly places. The importance of heat and flames is evident in a spectrum of ritual practices, ranging from the use of sweat baths to the burning of offerings, especially copal.

In Pre-Columbian times, human bodies were among the most valuable resources heated or consumed by fire. The collection of papers in this symposium revolves around the body and represents a diversity of approaches to the uses and multilayered meanings of fire in ancient, historic, and modern Mesoamerica, including archaeology, bioarchaeology, epigraphy, iconography, ethnohistory, and ethnography.

The symposium is organized by Vera Tiesler (Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán) and Andrew Scherer (Brown University). Symposium speakers include Ximena Chávez (Tulane University/Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia), Oswaldo Chinchilla (Yale University), John Chuchiak (Missouri State University), Danièle Dehouve (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense), William Duncan (East Tennessee State University), Markus Eberl (Vanderbilt University), Christophe Helmke (University of Copenhagen), Stephen Houston (Brown University), Jesper Nielsen (University of Copenhagen), Guilhem Olivier (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Joel Palka (University of Illinois, Chicago), Grégory Pereira (French National Centre for Scientific Research), Pedro Pitarch (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Prudence Rice (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale), and Gabrielle Vail (New College of Florida). John Verano (Tulane University) will provide concluding remarks.

Processions in the Ancient Americas: Approaches and Perspectives

October 10–11, 2014 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Susan Toby Evans and Stella Nair, Symposiarchs

Abstracts Speaker Biographies

Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the annual Pre-Columbian symposium, to be held in the Music Room of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 10 and Saturday, October 11, 2014. The symposium, organized by Susan Toby Evans and Stella Nair, will run for two full days beginning on Friday morning and concluding late Saturday afternoon.

Throughout the Americas ritual life took place outdoors and connected with the spiritual energy of the natural landscape through the design of the built environment. This symposium will investigate how processions can be studied through the identification, definition, and ritual use of space in Mesoamerica and South America. We will emphasize the beliefs and behaviors guiding the movement of participants in ceremonial processions, which are well known from pre-Columbian art and history. Cross-culturally, both state and local festivals involved people in carefully choreographed sequences of dances and ritual processions, moving through and around plazas in the barrios and out onto sacbes and causeways. In the course of these processions, the celebrants were cued by the combination of the built environment and the vistas beyond. We will explore some of the ways in which ritual behavior was shaped and directed by different approaches and perspectives.

The symposium opens with three Andean processional ritual studies. We share the rhythms and meanings of ceremonies held today as described and filmed by Zoila Mendoza (University of California, Davis). Turning to the line art on Moche vessels, we hear Juliet Wiersema’s (University of Texas, San Antonio) study of processions depicted there. Stella Nair (University of California, Los Angeles) analyzes Inca plazas and surrounding architecture to discern processional patterns.

On Friday afternoon, a common theme is water worship. Susan Toby Evans (Penn State University) sees Teotihuacan’s massive scope for processions in the context of its hydrology and belief system. At Kaminaljuyu, recent research by Barbara Arroyo (Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala City) and Lucia Henderson (Metropolitan Museum of Art) reveals extensive water management systems and a corpus of sculpture in processional postures. Marco Curatola (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú) and Jean-Pierre Protzen (University of California at Berkeley) will discuss the oracular cults developing around Lake Titicaca in Inca times.

On Saturday morning, we see processions of nobles and warriors sculpted into reliefs at Tula, and Elizabeth Jimenez and Robert Cobean (both, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico) interpret new evidence. Traci Ardren (University of Miami) discusses the processional uses of the Maya world’s longest sacbe, between Yaxuna and Cobá. Johanna Broda (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) explains how the Aztecs used the sacred geography of the Basin of Mexico to orient ritual performance. The afternoon session opens with the evolution of processional behavior in Chiapas during the Formative period, by Tim Sullivan (University of Pittsburgh). Peruvian pilgrimages and processions of the Paracas and Nazca cultures are discussed by Charles Stanish (University of California, Los Angeles) and Henry Tantaleán (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos). Finally, John Janusek (Vanderbilt University) looks at how processional behavior changed over time in the Lake Titicaca Basin, and will examine ancient Mesoamerican and Andean rituals as sacred performances in their built and natural environments.

Making Value, Making Meaning: Techné in the Pre-Columbian World

October 11–12, 2013 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Cathy L. Costin, Symposiarch

Program Abstracts

Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the annual Pre-Columbian symposium, to be held in the Music Room of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 11 and Saturday, October 12, 2013. Please note that the symposium will be two full days: coffee and registration will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, and the conference will conclude Saturday evening.

Techné was the Ancient Greek goddess of skilled crafting and artisanship; for the ancient philosophers, techné was a form of knowledge that entailed not mechanical crafting, but rather crafting with skill, intent and profound understanding of the relationship between process and product/outcome. This form of practical knowledge of how to create things included not just ceramic vessels, or tunics, or jewelry, but also the knowledge of how to create government, social relationships, and other essential elements of social life. Thus, the concept of techné is a powerful one for understanding the role of objects in social life and the how the processes and circumstances of their creation helps to generate social, political, and spiritual power.

This symposium brings together both young and well-established scholars, all of whom are making new contributions to the study of ancient artisans and craftsmanship through the exploration of how artisan identity, access to and deployment of esoteric knowledge, and the technology and organization of production factor into the creation of symbolically and politically charged goods. Some of the participants were asked to consider the raw materials and associated understandings of different materials, and how material becomes medium. We know that in the ancient Americas jade, shell, gold, silver, stone, and other materials are closely bound up with ideas about value, be they about efficacy, kinship and other social relations, or moral beliefs. Others analyze the processes of production, and how the ways in which objects were created imbued social, political, and symbolic significance. Questions they consider include: How was esoteric knowledge employed in the creation of works? And why were certain processes favored over other, possibly more efficient methodologies? Third, some participants seek to understand the identities and roles of artisans in the Pre-Columbian world. Who were the artists and how were they organized? What was their relationship to specific social and political entities? What was the relationship between artisan identity and the meaning and value of the goods they produced?

The symposium is organized with Cathy L. Costin (California State University Northridge). Symposium speakers include Claudia Brittenham (University of Chicago), Michael Callaghan (Southern Methodist University), Lisa DeLeonardis (Johns Hopkins University), Laura Filloy Nadal (Museo Nacional de Antropología, México), Christina Halperin (Princeton University), Stephen Houston (Brown University), John Janusek (Vanderbilt University), Diana Magaloni Kerpel (Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Blanca Maldonado (El Colegio de Michoacán A.C.), Jerry Moore (California State University Dominguez Hills), Carlos Rengifo Chunga (University of East Anglia), Alessandra Russo (Columbia University), Lisa Trever (University of California, Berkeley), Carolina María Vílchez Carrasco (Proyecto Qhapaq Ñan, Ministerio de Cultura, Perú), Patrick Ryan Williams (The Field Museum, Chicago), and Colleen Zori (University of California, Los Angeles).

The Measure and Meaning of Time in the Americas

October 5–6, 2012 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Anthony Aveni, Symposiarch

Program Abstracts

Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the annual Pre-Columbian symposium, to be held in the Music Room of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 5 and Saturday, October 6, 2012. Please note that the symposium will be two full days: sessions will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, and conclude Saturday evening.

Regardless of what our senses might tell us, in the Western worldview time is regarded as a thing apart, the mere measure of duration, a metric quantity that is continuous, homogeneous, and unchangeable. But like so many concepts we engage in the study of other cultures, time can possess a variety of essences and meanings. This symposium brings together a group of scholars from diverse disciplines and interdisciplines to engage in a dialog regarding the multitude of expressions and understandings of temporal existence in the Mesoamerican and Andean worlds. We deal with questions such as: Are the differences we recognize between history and myth transferable to these cultures? How does one comprehend time in relation to the transcendent? How is time manifested in ritual as well as in the land/skyscape in which it is practiced? How is time expressed in text and imagery? What is the relation between time and number? And what do we know about how indigenous ways of dealing with time changed, especially following the sudden contact with the Spanish invader? An added dimension to the symposium is concerned with comparing time’s meaning not only with that in Western tradition but also in other world cultures.

The symposium is organized with Anthony Aveni (Colgate University). Symposium speakers include Alfredo López Austin (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), William Barnes (University of St. Thomas, Minnesota), Harvey Bricker (Tulane University), Victoria Bricker (Tulane University), Linda Brown (George Washington University), Jahl Dulanto (DePauw University), Markus Eberl (Vanderbilt University), Richard Landes (Boston University), John Monaghan (University of Illinois at Chicago), Stella Nair (University of California, Riverside), Juan Ossio (Universidad Pontificia Católica del Peru), and Tristan Platt (University of St. Andrews).

Conflict, Conquest, and the Performance of War in Pre-Columbian America

October 14–15, 2011 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Andrew Scherer and John Verano, Symposiarchs

Program Abstracts

The presence of violent conflict and warfare is widely acknowledged throughout the Pre-Columbian Americas. A perusal of the recent literature on Pre-Columbian warfare reveals that much of the work is regionally focused or primarily concerned with the evolution of violent conflict from formative to increasingly complex societies. Lacking, however, is a dialogue on Pre-Columbian warfare that recognizes the striking parallels in certain practices—captive taking, human sacrifice, warfare as statecraft, violence as ritual—that occur across the hemisphere. Researchers across the Americas have marshaled the same new methodological advances—such as bioarchaeology, settlement archaeology, and GIS analysis—to tackle the problem of violent conflict, yet may not be taking advantage of the insights gained from similar studies in other parts of Latin America. This symposium will take advantage of these new trends in research by bringing together a diverse group of scholars with similar interests in understanding warfare in the Pre-Columbian past.

Merchants, Trade, and Exchange in the Pre-Columbian World

October 8–9, 2010 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Kenneth G. Hirth, Symposiarch

Program Abstracts

Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the annual Pre-Columbian Symposium, to be held in the Music Room of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 8 and Saturday, October 9, 2010. Please note that the symposium will be two full days this year; sessions will begin at 9 am on Friday, and conclude Saturday evening.

Comparison of economic systems in the Pre-Hispanic world provides a number of startling contrasts. In Mesoamerica, the rise of civilization and state level society is characterized by thriving interregional trade and the development of one of the world’s most complex market systems. In the Andes, the situation appears markedly different, with the political economy more important than the commercial economy in organizing both production and distribution systems. This symposium will examine the structure, scale, and complexity of economic systems in the Pre-Hispanic world, with a particular focus on the central highlands of Mexico, the Maya lowlands, and the central Andes.

Presenters will examine dimensions of ancient economy, including artisans who produced goods as part of their livelihood, merchants (and other individuals) who exchanged and moved a wide range of goods over space, and the trade and distribution networks through which goods were exchanged, bought, and sold.


Past Presented: A Symposium on the History of Archaeological Illustration

October 9–10, 2009 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Joanne Pillsbury, Symposiarch

Speakers of the 2009 Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium

Program Abstracts Publication

The goal of this symposium is the study and discussion of the visual presentation of archaeological data from the beginnings of the field to the present day. Often considered neutral representations, this gathering seeks to analyze and contextualize the visual culture of archaeological illustration. What is the intellectual history of the field? How did early archaeological illustrations cleave or depart from scientific illustration in other fields? What was the relationship between the archaeological artists and prevailing currents in the fine arts? How have representations—such as aerial photography—shaped the direction of archaeological field research (and vice-versa)? How did certain graphic conventions begin, and why have some remained so central to the field?

Many scholars speak of the “accuracy” of drawings, maps and models, implying a greater faithfulness to “truth,” yet how and in what ways are these images culturally informed by the interests and trends of their own times? How do these presentations of data and reconstructions shape our perceptions? Finally, the symposium will also look at contemporary 3D models and the future of archaeological illustration. What is the heuristic value of contemporary presentations (i.e., “beyond illustration”)? This symposium will bring together scholars working on specific critical histories of representations as well as broader approaches to the understanding of visual conceptualizations.

Scripts, Signs, and Notational Systems in Pre-Columbian America

October 11–12, 2008 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth Boone and Gary Urton, Symposiarchs

Program Abstracts

Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the annual Pre-Columbian Symposium will be held this year in the Music Room of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. Organized with Elizabeth Boone and Gary Urton, the symposium will focus on record-keeping in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and the Andean region. Sessions will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, 11 October, and conclude on Sunday afternoon.

Long before Europeans came to the American shores, groups or classes of people charged with record-keeping in Mesoamerica and the Andes developed graphic and visual-tactile systems to record and pass on information concerning their understanding of the world they experienced. Indeed the Americas-along with Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China-was one of only four locales where writing developed independently. This conference is not concerned with identifying, defining, or separating out "writing" from other signing and communication systems within Pre-Columbian societies. Rather, the gathering is intended to gain critical and comparative insights into the types of sign, script, and notational systems devised by indigenous Americans for the purposes of recording and conveying knowledge and information. To these ends, speakers will address the relevant cultural categories of writing, recording, and notational systems; the intellectual and technical practices these systems comprised; how and for what purposes recording systems were employed (i.e., their relevance and social context within their respective societies); and the signing and recording strategies by which information was stored and communicated.

The Place of Sculpture in Mesoamerica’s Preclassic Transition: Context, Use, and Meaning

October 5–7, 2007 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, John Clark, Julia Guernsey, and Barbara Arroyo, Symposiarchs

Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the annual Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, The Place of Sculpture in Mesoamerica's Preclassic Transition: Context, Use, and Meaning will be held this year at the Casa Santo Domingo in La Antigua, Guatemala. Organized with John Clark, Julia Guernsey, and Barbara Arroyo, the symposium will focus on sculpture from the middle and late Preclassic periods in Mesoamerica.

Astronomers, Scribes, and Priests: Intellectual Interchange between the Northern Maya Lowlands and Highland Mexico in the Late Postclassic Period

October 6–7, 2006 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Gabrielle Vail and Christine Hernández, Symposiarchs


Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the annual Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, organized with Gabrielle Vail and Christine Hernández. The symposium will address the intellectual world behind the creation of two remarkable manuscripts from Late Postclassic Mesoamerica: the Madrid Codex, a Maya manuscript, and the Borgia Codex, from the Central Mexican highlands. As the main building at Dumbarton Oaks is undergoing renovations, this symposium will be held at the Library of Congress. We are grateful to the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress for joining us in the organization and sponsorship of this gathering. We are also indebted to the Rare Book Division and the Jay I. Kislak Collection of this institution for their assistance.

Sessions will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday, 6 October, and conclude on Saturday at 5 p.m. A diverse group of scholars will present papers on Late Postclassic interaction in Mesoamerica from the perspectives of archaeology, anthropology, art history, epigraphy, and linguistics. Recent research in these fields has provided a wealth of new data, allowing micro- as well as macro-analyses of currents and interactions between the Maya and highland Mexican culture areas.

The Art of Urbanism: How Mesoamerican Cities Represented Themselves in Architecture and Imagery

October 7–8, 2005 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, William L. Fash and Leonardo López Luján, Symposiarchs

The thorough investigation of the ecological contexts and environmental opportunities of urban centers throughout Mesoamerica now permits us to address the question of how ancient Mesoamerican cities defined themselves and reflected upon their “place,” through their built environment. This year's Dumbarton Oaks symposium, taking place at Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico City, will explore how each city represented itself in architectural, iconographic, and cosmological terms. The participants will be asked to examine how a particular kingdom's public monuments were fashioned to reflect its geographic space, its patron gods and mythology, and how it sought to “center” the Mesoamerican world through its architectural monuments and fine arts. How did each community “leverage” its environment and build upon its cultural and historical roots? How did its monuments signal its participation in larger Mesoamerican-wide exchanges of people, goods and religious ideas? The answers are reflected in the built environment, the pictorial imagery, and the sumptuary goods that each city's inhabitants used to define their own identity and distinguish it from that of their contemporary competitors and ancient archetypes. We seek to explore this theme across time and space, from the beginnings of complex society to its most complex and powerful expression in the great capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan.

Participants and Papers

  • Ann Cyphers, “San Lorenzo and the Origins of Urban Art in Mesoamerica”
  • David Grove, “Olmec Mountains, Olmec Myths”
  • Joyce Marcus, “Monte Alban’s Image of Itself”
  • Beatriz de la Fuente, “The Teotihuacan World-view as Expressed in Murals and Portable Art”
  • Gabriela Uruñuela y Patricia Plunkett, “Cholula, Art and Architecture of an Archetypal City”
  • Josefa Iglesias and Andres Ciudad Ruiz, “Variability and Constants in Classic Maya Urbanism”
  • Barbara W. Fash and William Fash, “Watery Places and Water Management in Maya Art and Architecture”
  • Rex Koontz, “Self-Representation of Tajin, Veracruz”
  • Robert Cobean, “Tula Chico and Tula Grande in Art and Architecture”
  • William L. Ringle, “Chichen Itza and the Feathered Serpent Cult”
  • Leonardo López Luján and Alfredo Lopez Austin, “Los tenochcas en Tula y Tula en Tenochtitlan”
  • Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, “The Configuration of the Sacred Center of Mexico Tenochtitlan”
  • Discussant: David Carrasco

New Perspectives on Moche Political Organization

August 6–8, 2004 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Jeffrey Quilter, Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, and Andrés Alvarez Calderón Larco, Symposiarchs


We are pleased to announce that the 2004 Dumbarton Oaks Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, “New Perspectives on Moche Political Organization,” will be presented in conjunction with the Catholic University of Peru and the Larco Herrera Museum.

Please note that there are significant changes to our usual symposium format and registration. The expanded program will take place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 6–8, at the Larco Herrera Museum in Lima, Peru.

Classic Veracruz: Cultural Currents in the Ancient Gulf Lowlands

October 11–12, 2003 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Philip Arnold Ⅲ, Christopher Pool, and Richard Diehl, Symposiarchs

Classic Period Veracruz reveals cultural traditions rich in artwork, writing systems, and far-flung political relationships. Despite these impressive achievements, archaeological treatments of Classic-Period Mesoamerica continue to relegate ancient Veracruz to the Mesoamerican cultural periphery, overshadowed by highland Mexico, Oaxaca, and the lowland Maya. Thus the contributions of ancient Veracruz to the cultural achievements of Mesoamerica's Classic Period have been consistently overlooked.

This symposium highlights Classic Period Veracruz and our understanding of the cultural currents that shaped it. Three over-arching themes chart the ebb and flow of the ancient Gulf Lowlands and place the region in its broader Mesoamerican context. Polity and Economy explores how the forces of governmental interaction, emulation, and resistance contoured the cultural landscape. Papers in this section consider how intra- and interregional influence was absorbed and/or deflected as part of local elite strategies across Veracruz. The Architecture and Settlement, session addresses settlement configurations along two scales. One set of papers takes a site-centered approach that investigates the role of formal architecture in communicating power relations while the second adopts a regional perspective that explores how settlement layouts either grafted onto existing political geographies or rejected them through an imposed redundancy. Iconography and Epigraphy, the final session, considers how texts and other forms of representation contoured the cultural terrain of Classic Period Veracruz. Discussions range from iconography and early writing to built environments as expressions of ideology. Taken together, these three sections encourage scholars to reconsider the cultural landscape of the ancient Gulf lowlands by highlighting how social, political, and ideological practices interacted with the physical environment to shape the diversity within Classic Period Veracruz cultures.

En Niño, Catastrophism, and Culture Change in Ancient America

October 12–13, 2002 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Daniel H. Sandweiss and Jeffrey Quilter, Symposiarchs

In the last three decades, two trends have run counter to each other in the study of the past. On one vector is the increasing ability of scientists to examine the occurrences and durations of environmental changes. On another track, the pendulum of social science theory has swung to the far reaches of social constructivism in explanations of culture and social change. This symposium proposes to use the El Niño phenomenon—one of the best studied agents of drastic environmental change—as a means by which to explore larger theoretical issues of how we understand and explain past cultures and their transformations.

The symposium will be organized in three parts. Part Ⅰ will present current knowledge of El Niño events with special attention to their effects in Peru and adjacent portions of Ecuador and Chile. Papers will include correlation of El Niño episodes with established and revised cultural chronologies and dynamics of Peruvian prehistoric cultures. Part Ⅱ will continue this discussion, entering into questions of the relationships between El Niño and known or assumed specific culture changes such as the collapse of the Moche culture and the rise of the expansionist Huari empire. Issues of culture change or readjustment in more distant regions, such as Mesoamerica and the U.S. Southwest, may also be included in this section. In addition, we will explore how change in art styles may reflect the disruptions caused by environmental and social traumas. In Part Ⅲ larger issues of culture theory will be explored, including the value of catastrophism as an explanatory model and agency theories of culture change. The search for a synthesis that resolves the contradictory trends of our understandings of the devastating impacts of cataclysm environmental events with our appreciation of the ability of humans to create and alter their social worlds will be a chief goal of this meeting.

A Pre-Columbian World: Searching for a Unitary Vision of Ancient America

October 6–7, 2001 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Mary Ellen Miller and Jeffrey Quilter, Symposiarchs

Forty years ago, a group of Americanist scholars published a volume of collected essays by some of the most eminent scholars of the day (K. Lothrop et al.,Essays in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961). Contributors included Junius Bird, A. Rex González, George Kubler, Samuel Lothrop, Betty Meggers and Clifford Evans, Tatiana Proskouriakoff, G. Reichel-Dolmatoff, John Rowe, Matthew Stirling, Doris Stone, J. E. S. Thompson, and Gordon Willey. Articles ranged from “Notes on Plumbate Vessels . . .” to “Horizon Styles in the Tropical Forest . . .” At the time, Maya glyphs were mostly mute; radiocarbon dating was new and of uncertain value; and archaeological taxonomic systems were proposed and debated. In the far distance, the faint sounds of the drumbeats of New Archaeology could be heard.

In the four decades since then, archaeology and art history have grown in the numbers of their practitioners and diversified in the subject matters they cover. Scholarship has lurched through Processualism to Post-Modernism and grappled with issues of appropriation of the past and cultural heritage. Once trained as generalists in fields where almost any investigation resulted in new discoveries, younger scholars have become increasingly specialized in their geographical, temporal, and theoretical perspectives.

Quo Vadis Pre-Columbian Studies? This symposium will approach the issue of how the different disciplines that study the Pre-Columbian past have been shaped by national boundaries, other fields of study, and their own historical trajectories. It will examine issues of behavioral and ideological patterning in the ancient New World by looking at case studies from areas sometimes considered peripheral to Nuclear America—Southern Central America, the Midcontinental United States, and the Southwest. Issues of temporal change and continuities in art and symbol systems also will be explored. Through these specific topics, larger issues of where the study of Ancient America is now situated and what directions it may or should take in the future will be addressed: to what degree can we or should we attempt to define a Pre-Columbian World System?

Saturday Morning: Introduction & Theoretical Grounding

  • Jeffrey Quilter (Dumbarton Oaks), “New World Order”
  • Elizabeth Boone (Tulane University), “The Defining Sample: How We Pursue the Pre-Columbian Past”
  • Simon Martin (Institute of Archaeology, London University), “Word, Sign, and Symbol in Understanding the Pre-Columbian World”

Saturday Afternoon: Issues and Regions

  • Mary Helms (UNC, Greensboro), “Glimpses of a Common Cosmos? A Brief Look South and North from Panama”
  • Warren DeBoer (CUNY, Queens), "Little Big Horn on the Scioto: Hopewell and Orbits of Interaction in the New World”
  • Robert Hall (University of Illinois, Chicago), “Exploring the Mississippian Big Bang”
  • Polly Schaafsma (Museum of New Mexico) and Karl Taube (University of California, Riverside), “Bringing the Rain: An Ideology of Rain Making in the Pueblo Southwest and Mesoamerica”

Sunday Morning: Inscribing and Marking a Past & Present

  • Tom Dillehay (University of Kentucky) and Ramiro Matos (National Museum of the American Indian), “Stylistic Variation and Meaning in Pre-Columbian Andean Imagery: The Fusion of Art, Architecture, and Landscape”
  • Anna Blume (Fashion Institute of Technology, NY), “Animal Transformations: The Mixing of Maya and European Belief and Fantasy”
  • Mary Miller (Yale University), “The Ideological Edifices of a Pre-Columbian World”

Pilgrimage and Ritual Landscape in America

October 7–8, 2000 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, John B. Carlson, Symposiarch

Ancient Americans ordered the natural world on cosmological principles. Mountains and springs, plains and rivers, were points and channels of sacred power from historical events and timeless sacred forces. Geographical features were inscribed by human hands to mark their sacredness while temples and shrines replicated holy mountains, caves, and water sources. Throughout the New World natural and constructed places commonly became centers of pilgrimage in patterns often maintained to the present. This symposium will explore sacred landscapes and pilgrimage in the New World, drawing upon a few of the many examples available. The perspective will be multidisciplinary, cross-cultural, and will examine wider issues for understanding these issues beyond the New World. The lifetime work of two innovative, influential scholars will be acknowledged in this symposium. As active researchers, Doris Heyden, Investigador Nacional and Anthropologist and Ethnohistorian at the Direccion de Etnologia y Antropologia Social—Instituto Nacional de Antropologia y Historia, Mexico, and Evon Z. Vogt, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Harvard University will take a participatory role in the symposium.

Saturday Morning: Archaeology of Pilgrimage Perspectives and the Andes

  • Clive Ruggles (University of Leicester), “Landscape Archaeology and the Archaeology of Pilgrimage: A View from Across the Atlantic”
  • Sabine MacCormack (University of Michigan), “Miracles, Prophecy, and Holy Places: Pilgrimage in Early Modern Spain and Peru”
  • Helaine Silverman (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), “Pilgrimage and Sacred Landscapes in Ancient Nasca Society”
  • Johan Reinhard (National Geographic Society & Field Museum of Natural History), “Sacred Mountains, Human Sacrifices, and Pilgrimages Among the Inca”

Saturday Afternoon: Mesoamerica: the Maya Region and the American Southwest

  • Evon Vogt (Professor Emeritus, Harvard University), “Micro-pilgrimages to the Mountain and Waterhole Shrines in the Tzotzil-Maya Community of Zinacantan”
  • Barbara Tedlock (State University of New York, Buffalo), “Momostenango, 'Town of Shrines': The Archaeological Implications of A Living Maya Calendrical Pilgrimage Center”
  • Andrea Stone (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) and James Brady (California State University, Los Angeles), “The Road to Xibalba: Regional Pilgrimage Caves in the Maya Area”
  • William Fash and David Stuart (both Harvard University), “Sacbes, Sacred Mountains, and Ceremonial Circuits in the Copan Valley”
  • Stephen Lekson and Gretchen Jordan (both University of Colorado, Boulder), “Pilgrimage and Political Procession in the Ancient Southwest”

Sunday Morning: Mesoamerica: Oaxaca and the Mexican Altiplano

  • John Pohl (Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA) and Javier Urcid (Brandeis University), “Sacred Caves and Migration Sagas: Postclassic Pilgrimage, Alliance, and Exchange Networks of Southern Mexico”
  • Michael Lind (Independent Scholar, Santa Ana Unified School District), “Cholula: A Sacred City and Pilgrimage Center in the Valley of Puebla, Mexico”
  • Richard Townsend (Art Institute of Chicago), “Pilgrimage and Renewal at the Hill of Tetzcotzingo”
  • John B. Carlson (Center for Archaeoastronomy & University of Maryland, College Park), “La Malinche and San Miguel: Pilgrimage and Sacrifice to the Mountains of Sustenance in the Mexican Altiplano”

Gold and Power in Ancient Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia

October 9–10, 1999 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Jeffrey Quilter and John Hoopes, Symposiarchs

Ancient Palaces of the New World: Form, Function, and Meaning

October 10–11, 1998 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Susan T. Evans and Joanne Pillsbury, Symposiarchs

Variations in the Expression of Inka Power

October 18–19, 1997 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Ramiro Matos, Craig Morris, and Richard Burger, Symposiarchs

Recovering Gender in Pre-Hispanic America

October 12–13, 1996 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Cecilia Klein, Symposiarch

Archaeology of Formative Ecuador

October 7–8, 1995 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Richard Burger and J. Scott Raymond, Symposiarchs

Function and Meaning in Classic Maya Architecture

October 8–9, 1994 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Stephen Houston, Symposiarch

Social Identity, Ceremony, and Cosmology in Pre-Classic Mesoamerica

October 9–10, 1993 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, David Grove and Rosemary Joyce, Symposiarchs

Native Traditions in the Post-Conquest World

October 2–3, 1992 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth Boone and Tom Cummins, Symposiarchs

Tombs for the Living: Andean Mortuary Practices

October 12–13, 1991 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Tom Dillehay, Symposiarch

Collecting the Pre-Columbian Past

October 6–7, 1990 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth Boone, Symposiarch


On the Eve of the Collapse: Ancient Maya Societies in the Eighth Century, A.D.

October 7–8, 1989 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Jeremy Sabloff and John Henderson, Symposiarchs

Art, Polity, and the City of Teotihuacan

October 8–9, 1988 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Janet Berlo, Symposiarch

Wealth and Hierarchy in the Intermediate Area

October 10–11, 1987 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Frederick Lange, Symposiarch

Latin American Horizons

October 11–12, 1986 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Don Rice, Symposiarch

The Northern Dynasties: Kingship and Statecraft in Chimor

October 12–13, 1985 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Maria Rostworoski and Michael Moseley, Symposiarchs

The Southeastern Classic Maya Zone

October 6–7, 1984 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Gordon Willey, Symposiarch

The Aztec Templo Mayor

October 8–9, 1983 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, George Kubler and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, Symposiarchs

Early Ceremonial Architecture in the Andes

October 8–9, 1982 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Christopher Donnan, Symposiarch

Painted Architecture and Polychrome Monumental Sculpture in Mesoamerica

October 10–11, 1981 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Donald Robertson and Elizabeth Boone, Symposiarchs

Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Mesoamerican Highland-Lowland Interaction

October 18–19, 1980 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Arthur Miller, Symposiarch


Ritual Sacrifice in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica

October 13–14, 1979 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Organizer

Falsifications and Misreconstructions of Pre-Columbian Art

October 14–15, 1978 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer

Art and Iconography of Late Post-Classic Central Mexico

October 22–23, 1977 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer, in collaboration with Elizabeth H. Boone

Mesoamerican Sites and World Views

October 16–17, 1976 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer

Pre-Columbian Metallurgy of South America

October 18–19, 1975 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer

The Sea in the Pre-Columbian World

October 26–27, 1974 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer

Death and the Afterlife in Pre-Columbian America

October 27–28, 1973 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer

The Junius B. Bird Conference on Pre-Columbian Textiles

May 19–20, 1973 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, given jointly with the Textile Museum, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer, in collaboration with Ann Pollard Rowe and Anne-Louise Schaffer

Mesoamerican Writing Systems

October 30–31, 1971 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer

The Cult of the Feline: A Conference in Pre-Columbian Iconography

October 31–November 1, 1970 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer


Conference on Chavín

October 26–27, 1968 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer

Conference on the Olmec

October 28–29, 1967 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer