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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Beyond "trophy heads" An etic typology for heads in the pre-Columbian Andes
by Mierisch, Kristofer R., M.A., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2013, 81; 1543619
Abstract (Summary)

The archaeological and ethnohistoric records suggest that the human head held special significance(s) as both symbol and object through space and time in the pre-Columbian Andes. A review of the literature reveals the absence of a set of definitions capable of clearly and efficiently describing the phenomenon. Instead, the various contexts and portrayals of heads are often referred to as “trophy heads” or trophy or head “taking”, even when a “trophy” function is considered unlikely. An etic typology of several head forms is proposed to bring clarity to the subject. The typology consists of the terms Disembodied Head, Burial Head, Transformed Head, Severed Head, and Abstract Head, and addresses physical remains as well as iconography. An etic typology of several forms allows for transparent discussion of Andean heads without relying on a vestigial interpretative label that minimizes variability.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Isbell, William H.
Commitee: Bernbeck, Reinhard
School: State University of New York at Binghamton
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: MAI 52/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: Andes, Huari, Nasca, Peru, Trophy heads
Publication Number: 1543619
ISBN: 978-1-303-31009-6
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