Scotti Norman - The Archaeology of Conquest and Conversion
I am an anthropological archaeologist working in the highlands of central Peru, and I study a revitalization movement known as Taki Onqoy, which is Quechua for “dancing sickness.” Taki Onqoy was developed during the 1560s, as a response to the Spanish conquest and subsequent evangelization project which began in 1532. During Taki Onqoy, local Andean peoples actively rejected conversion to Catholocism and other aspects of Spanish culture in favor of a return to worshipping their local deities. They were possessed by these local deities, who prompted Taki Onqoy practitioners to drink and dance heavily for days in a trancelike state.
I study the archaeology of Taki Onqoy, meaning that I look for the material remains of the associated practices through excavation at archaeological sites. One of the great myths of archaeology is that we often find whole pots or entire objects–this is completely untrue! However, in this picture, we did recover an entire pot, and I was pretty happy about it.
I have worked at over thirty archaeological sites, and each time I learn something new about past and present cultures and interpretation of the past. Fieldwork is not glamorous–I often live in places where we have no bathrooms or running water. But, the feeling of discovering something no one has seen for hundreds of years is an absolute high, and it is an immense privilege to be able to write the history of small events, towns, or peoples in the past.
Read more about my research on my Academic.edu page.