Books : reviews

John Wayne Janusek.
Ancient Tiwanaku.
CUP. 2008

Nearly a millennium before the Inca forged a pan-Andean empire in the South American Andes, Tiwanaku emerged as a major center of political, economic, and religious life on the mountainous southern shores of Lake Titicaca. Beginning in AD 500 and for the next five centuries, Tiwanaku influenced vast regions of the Andes and became one of the most important and enduring civilizations of the pre-Colombian Americas. Yet for centuries, the nature and antiquity of Tiwanaku remained a great mystery. Only over the past couple of decades has archaeological research begun to explore in depth the fascinating character of Tiwanaku culture and the way of life of its people.

Ancient Tiwanaku synthesizes a wealth of past and current research on this fascinating high-altitude civilization. In the first major synthesis of the subject in nearly fifteen years, John Wayne Janusck explores Tiwanaku civilization in its geographical and cultural setting, tracing its long rise to power, vast geopolitical influences, and violent collapse. The author frames the study with a novel theoretical approach that emphasizes Tiwanaku’s striking environmental setting in relation to its profound cultural diversity, vibrant daily rituals, and dynamic political history. He concludes that the Andean past sheds important light on current national ideologies and global geopolitics.