Alicia Gorman

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Santa Barbara, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9597

Approve Date

April 13, 2018

Project Title

Gorman, Alicia J., U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'Religion and Politics from a Household Perspective on the South Coast of Peru,' supervised by Dr. Katharina Schreiber

ALICIA GORMAN, then a graduate student at University of California, Santa Barbara, California, received funding in April 2018 to aid research on ‘Religion and Politics from a Household Perspective on the South Coast of Peru,’ supervised by Dr. Katharina Schreiber. In this project the relationship between religion and social differentiation is explored at Cerro Tortolita (~AD 250-450), located in the Ica Valley on the south coast of Peru. The site consists of a Ceremonial Zone containing religious architecture and a Primary Residential Zone. Religious specialists likely performed rituals, both private and public, in the former area, while a majority of the population lived in the latter. Excavations were undertaken in the Primary Residential Zone in order to compare religious life, power, and authority between the Zones. Religion is viewed as a pervasive part of life, with the ability to actively shape society. The presence of some differences between Zones, in terms of architecture, special commensal events, and religious items, indicates that the primary distinction between religious specialists and commoners lies in the religious authority of the former, rather than other politico-economic distinctions. However, commoners participated in ritual life in public areas of the Ceremonial Zone as well as in their own homes, demonstrating the maintenance of their own sophisticated body of religious knowledge. Religious authority is found to be the primary driver of social differentiation at Cerro Tortolita, and the result of constant negotiation between specialists and commoners.