Estefanía Vidal Montero
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationChicago, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9564
Approve DateOctober 11, 2017
Project TitleVidal Montero, Estefania P., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Transformative Architectures: An Archaeology of Building Practices in the Atacama Desert during the Formative Period,' supervised by Dr. Francois Richard
ESTEFANIA P. VIDAL MONTERO, then a graduate student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in October 2017 to aid research on ‘Transformative Architectures: An Archaeology of Building Practices in the Atacama Desert during the Formative Period,’ supervised by Dr. Francois Richard. The dissertation investigates the process of village formation through a detailed investigation of building practices in the valley of Guatacondo, located in the hyper-arid core of the Atacama Desert. The project uses different types of architectural data to address two sets of questions: 1) What were the building materials and techniques used during the Formative Period (ca. 2800’1000 BP)? And 2) What role did the creation and use of new material technologies have in shaping daily life, social practices, and the political organization of these communities? The study of the implementation of architectural projects in the valley suggests that there were significant differences in building techniques operating simultaneously, indicating an intimate, creative, and expansive relationship with mud as a material that also extended to other innovative technologies, like pottery. The technical heterogeneity detected so far speaks to forms of labor and knowledge that may have functioned in non-specialized, non-hierarchical ways, where groups gathered seasonally to create spaces to live and work together. The data and analysis generated by this research has provided relevant insight into everyday practices of building and dwelling, integrating prehistoric technologies to current discussion about the importance of material objects in the constitution of collective life.