Department Seminar Series, "Death, Empire, and Resistance on Peru’s South Coast", a talk by Jacob L. Bongers (Boston University)


Thursday, October 20, 2022, 3:00pm to 4:30pm


Tozzer 203, or via Zoom

cemetery in Chincha Valley, Peru


"Death, Empire, and Resistance on Peru’s South Coast"

a talk by Jacob L. Bongers

(Boston University)


ABSTRACT     How do interactions between empires and Indigenous communities change ritualized behavior and produce new relationships of power? This talk explores the relationship between local mortuary practice and the Inca (15th century) and European (16th century) conquests of the Chincha Valley on Peru’s South Coast. I employ various methods ranging from survey and excavation to drone photography and Bayesian statistical modelling to study a landscape of over 500 graves. Transformations in tomb use and post-mortem manipulation of the dead coincided with Inca and European incursion, demonstrating mortuary practice as a means of reshaping the socio-political landscape and resisting imperial control. My research reveals the agency and adaptability of Chincha communities during one of the most turbulent periods in Peruvian history. It widens the scope of imperialism studies to include a mortuary perspective on the dynamics between empires and local peoples.

BIO     Dr. Jacob L. Bongers is a Society of Fellows Postdoctoral Scholar in the Archaeology Program at Boston University. He holds a Ph.D. in archaeology from the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. Bongers employs multidisciplinary methodologies built around archaeological science and digital archaeology to investigate how Indigenous communities confront social and environmental change. His doctoral research examined how groups configured ritualized behaviors to deal with imperial conquest in southern Peru. His current research explores how Indigenous communities in highland and coastal Peru mitigate climatic hazards and conflict in everyday life. Prior to joining BU, Bongers served as a Senior Research Associate in the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UK). He has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Portugal, Chile, Ethiopia, Oman, and Peru.

Location: Tozzer 203

45 minute talk

20 minute Q&A

Start: 3:00 p.m.

If you cannot join in-person, please email prior to October 20, 2022 to request the link to Zoom if you did not receive through mailing list. Click on hyperlink at top right of webpage to subscribe to Harvard Archaeology Seminar Series.