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Proyecto Arqueológico Taraco

Location: Puno, Peru

June 22, 2014 to July 26, 2014

Session dates: 
Single session

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, June 15, 2014

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



UCLA & Institute for Field Research

Project Director:

Dr. Abigail Levine, UCLA

Project Description

The northern Titicaca area, located in the department of Puno, Peru, is one of the few areas in the world where complex societies independently arose.  The archaeological site of Taraco, located on the edge of the Ramís River in the far northern Basin, was one of a few political and economic centers in the region during the late Middle Formative (ca. CE 1300-500). The importance of this site, together with its long, uninterrupted occupation, makes it an ideal locale to study processes of increasing social and political complexity in detail.  In the 2014 season we will focus on understanding the development of non-domestic, public forms of architecture at Taraco. The relationship between so-called “corporate” architecture and increasing social and political complexity is well established in the northern Basin, and figures prominently in the wider anthropological and archaeological literature.  We will continue our excavation of a sunken court complex situated on the Huayra Mocco Mound (Area I), located across the river from Area A. These excavations will allow us to assess the degree to which Taraco’s political and economic success during the Formative Period was linked to the intensification of civic-ceremonial activities, or with transformations in their forms and organization.

Period(s) of Occupation: Formative Period

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full program

Minimum age: 
18 years old

Experience required: 
No previous experience is required

Room and Board Arrangements

Students will live in comfortable, but modest, field housing in the city of Juliaca, and will be provided with hotel lodging while in Puno.  The site of Taraco is located at 3,840 meters above sea level (ca. 12,500 feet) so a period of adjustment to the altitude will be necessary and mandatory.  Conditions at the field house are basic and hot water is not always guaranteed.  Students will likely sleep on bunk beds or on mattresses on the floor and will share large communal rooms.  Students will have the option to travel to Puno (approximately 50 minutes from the project house) or other nearby locales on Saturday afternoons; in these cases, hotel accommodations will be provided if necessary. Optional excursions can also be arranged (at an additional cost).

All room and board costs are included in tuition (excluding weekend meals)

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Connecticut College
Number of credits offered 8 semester credit units (equivalent to 12 quarter units)


Contact Information
Institute for Field Research
1855 Industrial St. #106
Los Angeles
424 226-6130
Recommended Bibliography: 
Janusek, John Wayne. 2008. Ancient Tiwanaku. Cambridge University Press, New York.
Knappett, Carl. 2005.  "Pottery." In The Handbook of Archaeological Methods, edited by Herbert D. G. Maschner and Christopher Chippindale, pp. 673-714. Alta Mira Press, Lanham, MD.
Levine, Abigail, Charles Stanish, P. Ryan Williams, Cecilia Chávez, and Mark Golitko.
2013  "Trade and Early State Formation in the Northern Titicaca Basin, Peru." Latin American Antiquity
24(3): 289-308.
Moseley, Michael. 2001. The Incas and Their Ancestors. Thames and Hudson, NY, pp. 51-85. Parker Pearson, Michael
Stanish, Charles. 2001.  "The Origin of State Societies in South America." Annual Review of Anthropology. Vol. 30:41-64.
Stanish, Charles. 2003. Ancient Titicaca: The Evolution of Complex Society in Southern Peru and Northern Bolivia. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Stanish, Charles and Abigail Levine. 2011.  "War and Early State Formation in the Northern Titicaca Basin, Peru." Proceedings of the National  Academy of Sciences 108(34): 13901-13906