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PCSNY October Lecture

October 15, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

The following lecture will take place at 6 pm on Thursday, October 15th in the Lecture Hall of the Institute of Fine Arts, 1 East 78th Street at Fifth Avenue. A reception with wine and cheese will follow in the Loeb Room. RSVP to info@pcsny.org


Amanda Gannaway

Lecturer in Discipline, Dept. of Art History & Archaeology, Columbia University

“Wendell Bennett and the Search for Middle Chimu”

In the spring of 1936 American archaeologist Wendell Bennett spent roughly eight weeks in the Lambayeque Valley during an eight-month expedition to the north coast of Peru. During this time Bennett, working under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History, undertook the first large-scale scientific excavations in the region and in turn produced the earliest significant collection of archaeologically recovered ceramics from the area. Bennett’s project contributed to ongoing efforts to develop a more complete chronology for the pre-Columbian north coast of Peru and also factored heavily in a related academic debate regarding the existence of a hypothetical category of north coast material culture called Middle Chimu. The search for objects that fit the provisional definition of Middle Chimu was a process that largely took place within the context of ceramic seriations produced throughout the 1920s, 30s and 40s and culminated in the identification of what are now known as Lambayeque style artifacts. This episode in the history of the archaeology of the north coast was symptomatic of longstanding and in some ways still lingering confusion between the Lambayeque and Chimú styles.

Using object-based and archival research alongside the analysis of a published account of the expedition, this talk will reconsider the implications of Bennett’s historically important but relatively understudied excavation results for our current understanding of Lambayeque and Chimú ceramics, particularly in light of the major advancements that have taken place in recent decades in the archaeology of the Lambayeque region. The objects Bennett excavated as well as sketches of those objects from the field will be featured prominently in this discussion.


October 15, 2015
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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NYU Institute of Fine Arts
1 E. 78th St.
New York, NY 10075 United States
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