Collections: Ancient Andean

Beyond California, by far the most important archaeological collection from the New World is the 9,500 ancient Peruvian objects gathered by Max Uhle between 1899 and 1905. The noted German archaeologist was the first to identify the Nasca style of pottery and to develop chronological sequences for the region. A great part of his collection comes from documented excavations, with many intact tomb groups, supplemented by objects purchased from local dealers. Most date from the Early Intermediate Period (200 BC–500 AD) on to the Late Horizon (1430–1534 AD), ended by the Spanish conquest. Given the nature of preservation, ceramics are the main object-type represented, but there also are important specimens of textiles, metals, stone, wood, and other organic materials.

While Uhle’s collections form the great bulk of the holdings from this area, smaller but significant collections were contributed by professor John Rowe and his students (such as Dorothy Menzel, Larry Dawson, and Jane Dwyer) as part of their continuing project to extend Uhle’s research. For example, starting with Kroeber’s work during the 1920s, and followed by Rowe’s teaching, generations of scholars have used the Uhle collection to formulate the basic chronological seriation of Nasca pottery that has now become the accepted framework for the entire field.


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