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The Pottery Figurines of Pre-Columbian Peru

Volume I: The figurines of the North Coast

Alexandra Morgan
Publication Year:
439pp. Illustrated throughout with figures, maps, plans, tables, drawings and photographs
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


Pre-Columbian pottery figurines from Peru occur in astonishingly large numbers in museum and private collections. However in the published literature they generally occupy a place of 'also ran'. The reason for this may be that—because of their scarcity in controlled excavations—their potential importance has been undervalued. The main purpose of this work therefore has been to fill this gap in the archaeological record by presenting a Corpus of Peruvian pottery figurines. This volume analyses material from the north coast of Peru and two subsequent volumes are planned to cover the central coast and the southern coast. For each geographic area the figurine groups are presented in chronological order. The periods covered are: The Preceramic Period; The Formative Period (subdivided into: The Lower or Early Formative, also known as Initial Period, The Middle Formative, incorporating the Early Horizon, The Epiformative, straddling Lumbreras's Upper Formative and the beginning of the Early Intermediate Period); The Early Intermediate Period; The Middle Horizon; The Late Intermediate Period; The Late Horizon or Inca Period. Each figurine is listed on a Table, containing all the relevant data (collection, site provenance, sex, measurements, surface colour, manufacturing technique, special features and reference to publications) and illustrated on a Plate. The analytical part lists the group characteristics and discusses special features, links with other groups, context, geographic distribution and chronology of each group or sub-group. Additional data are presented in four Appendices: Appendix 1: Gives details about specific museum collections (acquisition of figurines, reliability of given provenances, etc.). Appendix 2: Describes some of the sites, with the location of successive excavations, dating of features etc. Appendix 3: Lists and briefly describes all the recorded gravelots containing figurines. Appendix 4: Quotes references to idols found in the chroniclers.