Archaeological illustration in the Andes (1850-1890)

2017-12-05T16:04:23Z (GMT) by Joanne Pillsbury

Abstract In broad terms, European publications on the Andes allow one to trace a historical trajectory over the course of four centuries, from a system of representation that is intimately tethered – and subsidiary – to the written word, to one where the images become the raison d’être of publication. This trajectory mirrors the field of archaeology itself, from its origins in an antiquarian tradition dominated by philological concerns in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, to the nineteenth century, when evidence becomes less about words, and more about pictures. This paper focuses on the peak of this trajectory: archaeological atlases created between 1850 and 1890, particularly the work of Wilhelm Reiss and Alphons Stübel and their three-volume publication, “The necropolis of Ancon in Peru”. The present study analyzes the role of archaeological illustration in illuminating, disseminating, and understanding a pre-Inca past in the nineteenth century, and ultimately how images shape the construction of knowledge.