Pre-Columbian Society of Washington DC

The Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C. (PCSWDC), is an educational organization dedicated to furthering knowledge and understanding of the peoples of the Americas before the time of Columbus. Founded in 1993, the Society provides a forum for the exchange of information regarding these pre-Columbian cultures between academic professionals and interested members of the public.

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The Sican City: Urban Organization on the North Coast of Peru by Gabriela Cervantes, PhD candidate, University of Pittsburgh.

This meeting will be held at the Charles Sumner School, 17th & M Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.

The meeting starts with refreshments at 6:45 pm and the lecture begins at 7:15 pm.

Cities that are capitals of large states provide unique information on the sociopolitical political organization and the nature of power and rulership, as they are home to a society’s leaders and central institutions. A capital city may be dominated by a centralized single governing institution, or may contain several, suggesting a more segmented form of rulership. This presentation will discuss recent work showing that the capital of the Sican State (800-1375 AD) on the North Coast of Peru presents a dispersed urban pattern with several nuclei. The city has a monumental core for political-religious activities and a dispersed urban pattern with several public and residential architecture complexes. 

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Gabriela Cervantes is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh and a Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks. She is a Peruvian Archaeologist with a BA and a Licenciatura from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru. Her research focuses on ancient cities and urban layout, as well as the daily life of city residents and their social and economic organization. Her investigation takes place in the Pre-Columbian city of Sican, Peru where she conducted archaeological survey and mapping of the monumental and domestic architecture of the city. The urban layout resembles a garden city previously studied in the Maya area and in Southeast Asia, but never found in South America. Her research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. She has been engaged in public outreach, as a committee member of an online journal and translating three archaeology books from English to Spanish.

Earlier Event: March 2
Later Event: May 4

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