Ethnography

Project team

  • Nick Branch, Senior Lecturer in Palaeoecology, School of Human and Environmental Sciences, University of Reading (01/01/2007 - 26/02/2010) 
  • Francisco Ferreira, PhD student, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway
    University of London (01/01/2007 - 01/01/2010)
  • Millena Frouin, Post doctoral research assistant, Department of Geography,
    Royal Holloway University of London (19/03/2007 - 28/02/2009)
  • Rob Kemp, Professor, Physical Geography, Department of Geography,
    Royal Holloway University of London (01/01/2007 - 26/02/2010)
  • Colin McEwan, Head of the Americas section and curator of Latin American collections, Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, British Museum, London (01/01/2007 - 26/02/2010)
  • Frank Meddens, Honorary Research Associate, Department of Geography,
    Royal Holloway University of London (01/01/2007 - 26/02/2010)
  • Gabriel Ramon, Post-doctoral research assistant, British Museum, London
    (01/04/2008 - 26/02/2010)
  • Cirilo Vivanco, Professor of Archaeology, National University of San Cristóbal of Huamanga, Peru
  • Katie Willis, Reader, Development Geography, Department of Geography,
    Royal Holloway University of London (01/01/2007 - 26/02/2010)

Partners

  • University of Reading
  • Royal Holloway University of London
  • Universidad Nacional de San Cristobal de Huamanga

Supported by

Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council

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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.

Project team members Francisco Ferreira (left) and Gabriel Ramón conduct an interview
  • 1. Project team members Francisco Ferreira (left) and Gabriel Ramón conduct an interview.

  • 2. Group discussions in the Ayacucho region of Peru.

  • 3. Group discussions in the Ayacucho region of Peru.

  • 4. Group discussions in the Ayacucho region of Peru.

1. Project team members Francisco Ferreira (left) and Gabriel Ramón conduct an interview.

 

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

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 1.9MB 

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.