Khonkho Wankane, the focus of this book, dates largely to the Late Formative (ca. AD 50–500) and is located about 30 kilometers south of Lake Titicaca in the altiplano of Bolivia. The author seeks to explain how this particular location became important in the landscape. His explanation is centered on the movements of llama caravans across a much broader landscape that became “entangled” at this particular spot for a variety of climatic, environmental, topological, ritual, and social reasons. Scott Smith identifies three dialectical processes of ritual practice that shaped power relations between residents at the site and drovers passing through the site. These processes defined Khonkho Wankane as an axis mundi, controlled movement through both integration and division, and preserved the secrecy of ritual knowledge (i.e., the content) while revealing that ritual knowledge was one raison d'être for the site.

Smith...

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