Stanish, Charles 1956-

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STANISH, Charles 1956-

PERSONAL: Born 1956. Education: Pennsylvania State University, B.A., 1979; University of Chicago, A.M., 1983, Ph.D., 1985.

ADDRESSES: Offıce—Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of CaliforniaLos Angeles, A210 Fowler Building/Box 951510, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1510. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: University of Illinois, Chicago, adjunct associate professor, 1988-97; University of Chicago, research associate, 1990-97; Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, assistant curator, 1988-92, associate curator and vice-chair, department of anthropology, 1992-95, associate curator and chair, department of anthropology, 1995-97; University of California—Los Angeles, associate professor, 1998-2000, professor of anthropology, 2000—, director, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology; Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Department of Anthropology, Los Angeles, research associate, 2001—. Participant on WGN Radio "Extension 720" panel discussion; academic tour leader for Peru/Machu Picchu archaeology tours; academic tour leader for Mexico/Belize archaeology/natural history tour; consultant for U.S. Customs Service; expert witness in Federal Courts.

MEMBER: American Association for the Ethical Treatment of Burials (founding board member), Chicago Archaeological Society (vice president 1993-94).


(Editor with Don S. Rice and Phillip R. Scarr) Ecology, Settlement, and History in the Osmore Drainage, Peru, B.A.R. (Oxford, England), 1989.

Ancient Andean Political Economy, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1992.

(With Brian S. Bauer) Ritual and Pilgrimage in the Ancient Andes: The Islands of the Sun and the Moon, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 2001.

Ancient Titicaca: The Evolution of Complex Society in Southern Peru and Northern Bolivia, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2003.

(Editor with Brian S. Bauer) Archaeological Research on the Islands of the Sun and Moon, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia: Final Results of the Proyecto Takai Kjarka, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at the University of California—Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA), 2004.

Latin American Antiquity, book review editor, 1992-93. Member of editorial board, Prehistory Press and Latin American Antiquity, 1998—.

SIDELIGHTS: Anthropologist Charles Stanish has specialized in the study of ancient South American civilizations. His area of search is along the shores of Lake Titicaca, the high-altitude lake deep in the Andes mountains bordering both Peru and Bolivia. Stanish believes that one of the primary evidences for the existence of these high-level ancient civilizations— perhaps as old as ancient Sumer, the first civilization in what is now Iraq and thought by most historians to be the first civilization in the world—is the existence of long-distance trade between the Lake Titicaca residents and dwellers in the Amazon basin to the east. "We think that inter-regional trade is one of the key factors in the development of civilization, as we know it," Stanish told National Public Radio interviewer Alex Chadwick, as posted on the radio's Web site. "The more he searches," Chadwick explained, "the more he finds the ancient cultures of the lake to be more complex than previously believed—highly advanced architecture, sophisticated trade and even canal systems that reversed the flow of rivers."

Ritual and Pilgrimage in the Ancient Andes: The Islands of the Sun and the Moon looks at the surviving evidence of religious celebrations before the Inca came to power in the Andes, about a hundred years before the Spanish conquest. "Late prehistoric Andean shrines and oracles continued to be revered into the Colonial era and were documented as centers of paganism by Catholic extirpators of idolatry," wrote Jerry D. Moore in American Anthropologist. The shrines which Stanish and his co-author Brian Bauer concentrate on were "two islands in Lake Titicaca, from which [in Inca cosmology] the Creator Viracocha had caused the sun and moon to emerge after a period of universal night," Moor explained. "Along with Pachacamac and the Qoricancha, the islands of the Sun and Moon were sacred pilgrimage centers in the Inca empire." But, according to Stanish and Bauer, the sacred landscape of the shrines predates the rise of the Inca by many centuries. They may have become important under the Tiwanaku culture, which flourished between about 500 BCE and about 1000 CE—in other words, about four hundred years before the rise of the Inca.

Later Andean rulers took over the sites and transformed them into places for celebrating imperial myth. "The vestiges of empire and state-level involvement cover the shrines," stated Moore. "The Inca controlled access to the islands, covered the sacred rock from which the sun emerged with gold sheet, built storehouses, temples, and quarters for the shrines' attendants." "Sacred sites and symbols are a vital part of the battleground between dominating and dominated cultures," declared Astvaldur Astvaldsson in the Journal of Latin American Studies, "and it is because of the culture-specific meanings inscribed and preserved in them that they become such pivoral spaces to be conquered and transformed so that subordination can be complete." In other words, stated Penelope Dransart in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society, "Bauer and Stanish argue that the Incas manipulated the pilgrimage within a hegemonic ideology."

Stanish examines the evidence for these ancient pre-Incan cultures and looks at their significance in his 2003 study Ancient Titicaca: The Evolution of Complex Society in Southern Peru and Northern Bolivia. The book takes an intense look at the history of the Titicaca area, ranging back to around 2000 BCE. There were two primary cultures on the shores of the late before the rise of the Inca: the Tiwanaku and Pucara. Both civilizations thrived along the shores of the lake and created cultures that rivaled the Inca in wealth and sophistication. By looking at the rise and decline of pre-Incan empires, Stanish makes scholars questions their assumptions about the nature of empires in particular and civilizations in general.



American Anthropologist, March, 2003, Jerry D. Moore, review of Ritual and Pilgrimage in the Ancient Andes: The Islands of the Sun and the Moon, p. 180.

American Antiquity, January, 1994, Timothy K. Earle, review of Ancient Andean Political Economy, p. 174.

Antiquity, June, 1995, Jose Oliver, review of Ancient Andean Political Economy, p. 398.

Journal of Latin American Studies, May, 1993, Penny Dransart, review of Ancient Andean Political Economy, p. 391; November, 2003, Astvaldur Astvaldsson, revew of Ritual and Pilgrimage in the Ancient Andes, p. 897.

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, September, 2003, Penelope Dransart, review of Ritual and Pilgrimage in the Ancient Andes, p. 593.

Latin American Research Review, spring, 1994, David L. Browman, review of Ancient Andean Political Economy, p. 236.


Charles Stanish Web site, (November 19, 2004).

National Public Radio Web site, (November 19, 2004), Alex Chadwick, transcript of interview with Stanish.*

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Stanish, Charles 1956-

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