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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”