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Death in the Bolivian High Plateau

Burials and Tiwanaku Society

Antti Korpisaari


The Bolivian high plateau, situated between the two Andean cordilleras, at an altitude of c. 3800–4000 metres above sea level. The Tiwanaku State (Tiwanaku IV and V, c. AD 500– 1150) – the heartland of which was situated in the southern Lake Titicaca Basin – was one of the most important pre-Inca civilisations of the South Central Andes. Since the late 1950s – and especially since the mid- 1980s – understanding of the Tiwanaku culture has increased rapidly. However, no systematic study of Tiwanaku burialpractices – combining older and newer archaeological data with information from historical and ethnographic sources – has been available. This study fills this gap and furthers advances the general understanding of the Tiwanaku culture.