Stories of landscape mythology have endured in the Peruvian Andes because many prehistoric rituals are still practised today. In order to explore and understand how contemporary inhabitants of high-altitude areas of Peru relate to their deities, ancestors and their environment, interviews and group discussions were undertaken with local people who live around or near sacred sites such as ushnus.
From this valuable resource it is possible to gain an understanding of the relationships between traditional and modern farming methods and ritual beliefs, as well as the role of sacred places. This ethnographic material adds important context to interpretations of ancient sites and structures made through archaeology, landscape analysis and geoarchaeology.
Interviews were carried out in the high-altitude areas of Ayacucho in August 2008. Those interviewed were asked a set series of questions and answered in both Spanish and Quechua (one of the native languages of the Andes).
Transcript of interviews - in Spanish pdf (1.92mb)
Ethnographic study report pdf (157kb)
What is Ethnography?
Ethnography aims to gather information on human societies and cultures, both historical and contemporary. It examines how a certain people developed and what helped to shape them up to any particular point in time.
This is often done through observation of particular customs, interviews with indigenous populations and examination of artefacts.