Defining Identity during Revitalization: Taki Onqoy in the Chicha-Soras Valley (Ayacucho, Peru)


Sixteenth-century Spanish evangelization was initially haphazard and varied, producing a patchwork of Andean Catholic converts whose formalized commitment to the new religion (baptisms, marriage rites, funerals) hinged on regional priests. In the 1560s CE, a revitalization movement known as Taki Onqoy (Quechua: “dancing sickness”) fostered a population of highland Andean peoples who preached for the rejection of Spanish traditions, religious beliefs, and practices. This article presents results from the first archaeological study of Taki Onqoy. Ceramic, faunal, and mortuary data suggest that rather than a monolithic body of individuals who denied or rejected Catholicism, Andeans were entangled within the two religious sects.

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I would like to thank my co-editor, Sarah Kennedy, for her help throughout this process, including co-organizing the initial session at the Society for American Anthropology 82nd Annual Meeting in Vancouver, B.C. in 2017 and in her role as co-editor of the issue. Thank you to the session’s discussants, Susan deFrance and Jeffery Quilter for their thoughtful comments. I am grateful for the considerate critical feedback provided by Alan Covey and Alex Menaker, which greatly improved this manuscript. Carla Hernández, Sarah Kennedy, and Sarah Jolly also read versions of this paper and their comments have enriched the final result. Thank you to my adviser, Steven A. Wernke throughout this process. Research at Iglesiachayoq was funded by a Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant and a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship. Final additions and revisions were made possible by a Junior Fellowship in Pre-Columbian Studies at the Harvard University Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection during the 2018-2019 year. Thank you to my co-director, Stephanie Peña del Castillo, and the entire PATO team, including the communities of Chicha, Larcay, and Pampachiri.

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Norman, S.M. Defining Identity during Revitalization: Taki Onqoy in the Chicha-Soras Valley (Ayacucho, Peru). Int J Histor Archaeol 23, 947–979 (2019).

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  • Taki Onqoy
  • Idolatry
  • Chicha-Soras
  • Identity
  • Revitalization