The Formative site of Chiripa, Bolivia, is located on the shores of
Lake Titicaca. The lake is surrounded by extensive reed beds, and crop
land and pastures slope upwards to gentle hillsides
overshadowed by magnificent, snow-capped peaks. The site has a complex history as a
ritual and ceremonial center whose significance has long been known to archaeologists.Now, our task is to understand the organization and pattern of the daily life that must have surrounded the building and maintainence of these impressive mounds and plazas. Our work in the past five years has centered on collecting bones of llamas and fish, and charred seeds, tubers and wood from hearths and dumps. Archaeologists first start with the world of the present when we attempt to reconstruct the prehistoric ecology of a site.As we gather more insights in the history of change in the region, we must learn to "see" aspects of the landscape that are no longer present, and to stop "seeing" things that would not have been present 5000 years ago. Similarly, we must learn to see new aspects of the archaeology of the site and its deposits to "see" the fishing and herding people who once built this religious center
Katherine Moore received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in
1989, for work on the prehistory of hunting and herding in Peru.
She worked out the archaeological record of the
domestication of the llama and alpaca at the site of Panaulauca, in Junin Peru. Since that time, she has gone on to work at the Formative site of Chiripa, on the shore of Late Titicaca in Bolivia. Her research interests in cultural ecology most often involve the analysis of animal bones from
archaeological sites, but she also studies prehistoric food webs using chemical analysis of human and animal bone She has worked in North America and Central Asia as well as South America, and has analysed material from Europe, Africa, and Mexico. As a schoolgirl in northern Delaware, she first visited the University Museum in 1967, and now is currently a Research
Associate in the Museum's American section and adjunct associate professor in the Department of Anthropology.
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