Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationWayne State U.
Grant numberGr. 9227
Approve DateApril 8, 2016
Project TitleBray, Dr. Tamara L., Wayne State U., Detroit, MI - To aid research on 'Copacabana and the Imperial Inca State: Topography and Temporality of a Sacred Place'
The modest town of Copacabana has been a pilgrimage destination and a site of extraordinary reverence from Formative times to the present. Situated on the Bolivian side of a rugged peninsula at the south end of Lake Titicaca, Copacabana–together with the Islands of the Sun and Moon–formerly comprised one the most sacred ceremonial complexes in the Inca Empire. While the islands have received at least some archaeological attention over the past century, Copacabana proper has been little studied, likely due to the fact of its continuous occupation from the Colonial period onward. The proposed project will focus on the central religious precinct of Copacabana with the principal concern being the nature of Inca engagement with this powerful locale as evidenced through spatial and material patterns and practices. We will begin our investigations with a geophysical survey of the area known as Intinqala, a municipally-owned space within the town proper containing numerous, carved stone outcrops of Inca affiliation, and proceed from there with mapping and test excavations. Working from the idea that significant places are continuously made and re-made through the agency of ‘doings’–be such doings spoken, performed, or materialized–we ultimately hope to address whether the imperial approach to making and engaging the sacred in the particular context of Copacabana differed significantly from earlier forms of engagement and doings at this site. At a broader level, we anticipate that the proposed study will provide insights into the ways in which topographies of the sacred are constructed; how attachments to place are formed and transformed over time; and how power, place, and identity are materially and mutually constituted.