Collaborative Research: A Bioarchaeological and Biogeochemical Approach to Understanding the Intersection Social Identities and Local Biologies in the

Project: Research project

Project Details


DRAFT Summary This project fills this gap in studies of ancient Andean childhood through a bioarchaeological and biogeochemical study of Middle Horizon Tiwanakuaffiliated settlements in the Lake Titicaca Basin Tiwanaku heartland and the Moquegua Valley hinterland of southern Peru (ca. 500-1100 AD) (Figure 1). Here, we approach Tiwanaku childhoods through the lens of local biologies (Lock, 1993), which include culturally specific beliefs and local physical, social and cultural environments, and how they are embodied in children throughout the Tiwanaku realm. We will generate bioarchaeological and biogeochemical data to address questions regarding the complex constructions of social identities, including age identities and concepts of childhood (Table 1). For example, how and when do different social identities form in the Tiwanaku polity, and what are the relationships between age identities and other social identities? How do local biologies affect the formation and maintenance of social identities? How was childhood constructed for individuals within the Tiwanaku polity? The intellectual merit of this project involves 1) new theoretical approaches to the development of social identities and cultural constructions of childhood in the archaeological record, 2) contributions to our understanding of Andean prehistory, and 3) methodological advances in bioarchaeological reconstructions of social age and biogeochemical approaches to paleodiet and paleomobility. In addition, the broader impacts of this project include 1) contributions to understanding the complexities of social and biological constructions of childhood, 2) the education and research infrastructure in North and South America, and 3) the creation of a more diverse scientific community.
Effective start/end date7/1/136/30/16


  • NSF-ENG: Division of Biological & Critical Systems (BCS): $144,572.00


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