Press Release

The Gateway of The Sun
The Gateway of the Sun, Tiwanaku, Bolivia

Pam Kosty
Public Information
(215) 898-4045


PHILADELPHIA, PA, October, 1996 --- New research and fieldwork in the Andean region and in Amazonia will be presented at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20, 1996, when the Museum hosts the 15th annual Northeast Conference on Andean Archaeology and Ethnohistory. Sponsored by the Museum and the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Anthropology, the conference, free and open to the public, will be held in the Museum's Rainey Auditorium.

A complete schedule of the conference, including speakers and paper abstracts, is available on the world wide web from the University of Pennsylvania Museum's address: (click the RESEARCH button and find the conference from there); or directly at http://www.

This year's conference is organized by Dr. Clark L. Erickson, Associate Curator of Andean Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania Museum, and Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania; and Dr. Katherine Moore, Research Associate of the American Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum.

About 90 researchers, scholars from the northeastern United States and from sites in the Andean region (Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Chile), will meet in Philadelphia to share their latest discoveries and newest insights into the archaeology, history, ethnohistory and ethnography of the Andean region of South America.

The beginnings of Andean Civilization, now believed to have been much more complex and much earlier than once assumed, is a major theme to be explored. Key speakers will include:

Thomas and Sheila Pozorski. (University of Texas - Pan American) The Pozorski's have worked for the last 10 years or so on the Casma valley in northern Peru. They are currently mapping and excavating Sechin Alto, one of the largest earthen pyramid sites in the Americas, and part of a huge complex of early monumental sites that they have been investigating.

Richard Burger and Lucy Salazar. (Yale University) This team of archaeologists has worked on the Pacific coast for the last 10 years excavating in the Lurin valley south of Lima, Peru. They are studying the massive "U-shaped" temples of the "Initial Period" (beginnings of Andean civilization) that are common on the coast. They will report on new excavations at the site of Mina Perdida, an important site that predates the rise of the state.

William Isbell and students. This team from SUNY-Binghamton has investigated the important Formative Period and Tiwanaku Period mound of Iwawe on the shores of Lake Titicaca in the Andean Highlands of Bolivia since 1992. These excavations provide important insights into the origins and organization of the pre-Incan Tiwanaku Civilization.

Papers by Michael Malpass et al. (William and Mary), Anita Cook (Catholic University), and Tom Zoubek (SUNY - New Paltz) also relate to reassessing the beginnings of Andean civilization.

Physical anthropology techniques employed in Andean archaeological research can answer important questions about ancient and modern peoples. Several speakers will talk about new approaches to the study of human bones.

Jack Prost and Ellen Steinberg (University of Illinois - Chicago) present new research on the ancient custom of head molding (or cranial deformation) used in prehispanic Peru. They find that similar practices are still in use today throughout the world and these can be used to help interpret the archaeological cases.

Sloan Williams (University of Illinois - Chicago) presents new research on the use of DNA methods applied to ancient populations in Peru. She has worked for a number of years recovering ancient DNA from skeletons and mummies in southern Peru to work out genetic relationships within and between prehispanic communities. She will discuss her recent research on the DNA of modern indigenous peoples in Venezuela to develop models for understanding the prehistoric cases.

Other interesting researchers and topics include:

Gary Urton (Colgate) has conducted recent research (archaeological, historical and ethnographic) on the Andean kipu (quipu), the famous knotted string record keeping device. He has a very different perspective on the use of this technique for state and community record keeping than that traditionally presented.

Theresa Topic (Brescia College) is researching different roles of women and men in prehistory. She is applying this to the Peruvian coastal site of Chan Chan, the capital of the Chimu empire in late Andean prehistory.

Gray Graffam (Trent University - Toronto), who recently made the earliest discovery of bronze metallurgy in the Americas, reports on his recent fieldwork and laboratory work in the Atacama Desert of Chile.

For more information about the conference, call Dr. Clark Erickson at 215/898-2282 or e-mail him at or Dr. Kate Moore at

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is dedicated to the exploration of humankind's history and cultural diversity. The Museum's first archaeological expedition was to the ancient Mesopotamian site of Nippur (in modern day Iraq) in the 1880s; more than 350 subsequent archaeological and anthropological research programs have led to investigations of the peoples and history of all Earth's inhabited continents.

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is located at 33rd and Spruce Streets on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Closed Mondays, holidays and summer Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Museum admission donation is $5 adults; $2.50 senior citizens and students with I.D.; free to Museum members, children under 6, and University of Pennsylvania staff, students and faculty with a PENNcard. Call (215) 898-4000 for general information.

Pam Kosty
Public Information Officer
University of Pennsylvania Museum
Phone: (215) 898-4045
Fax: (215) 898-7891

Home Updated Information Schedule Presenters Hotels/Tranportation Links University Museum UPenn Map of Phila.