Archaeologist presents findings that parallel different civilizations in Peru

Wynne Davis

Archaeologist Steve Bourget presented findings on campus Saturday from his work in northern Peru and said different civilizations can be connected based on the designs found in medallions and ceramics.

Bourget said he and his team spent a lot of their time at Huaca el Pueblo, where they found a lot of similarities in artifacts to those of the old lord of Sipan, which were uncovered at another site.

“We were blessed enough to find the tomb of a high-ranking individual and we excavated this in 2008,” Bourget said. “The tomb was extremely rich. It took us four years of restoration to restore everything in the tomb.”

Inside the tomb, Bourget said his team found a collection of 11 diadems and 10 crowns, along with ceramic beads and other pottery. According to Bourget, the two individuals in the tombs could have known each other, but there is no evidence of that. Bourget said these two would have lived during the same generation, which could possibly be why they had similar styles.

During this time in Peru, Bourget said he found more information and ties between Huaca el Pueblo and another site, Dos Cabezas. Bourget said the sites provided insight to the calendar systems used by the people.

“During earlier time … they built their calendar right in front of the Huaca and then during the middle when things change — there was a new political administration at Dos Cabezas — this guy decided to build a bigger temple 600 meters from the site and there make a very impressive calendar.”

Bourget said the civilization could have operated under a lunisolar calendar, marking the date by both the phase of the moon and the solstices.

Ellie Brady, a local who attended Bourget’s lecture, said she was interested in how many calendars each civilization had and how they spread the information about the calendars to others.

“All the math that’s involved with archaeology was really cool … and the digging that you have to do,” Brady said.

Maline Werness-Rude, UT alum and a former student of Bourget’s, attended the lecture and said she really enjoyed hearing about the alignments between the different sites.

“I think that he’s fairly convincing so far on the setup of the calendar structure … then also showing the exact parallels between the alignments I thought was really demonstrative of parallels in social structure,” Werness-Rude said.