Retracing Inca Steps

Adventures in Andean Ethnoarchaeology

Dean Arnold takes readers on a journey into the Andes, recounting the adventures of his 1960s research in the village of Quinua, Peru. Arnold’s quest to understand how contemporary pottery production reflected current Quinua society as well as its ancient Inca and pre-Inca past is one of the earliest studies in what later became known as ethnoarchaeology.
This first-person narrative reveals the challenges of living and working in another culture and the many obstacles one can encounter while doing field research. Arnold shares how his feelings of frustration and perceived failure led him to refocus his project, a shift that ultimately led to an entirely new perspective on pottery production in the Andes. Masterfully weaving details about Peru’s geography, ecology, history, prehistory, and culture into his story, he chronicles his change from small-town Midwesterner to a person of much broader vision, newly aware of his North American views and values.
Retracing Inca Steps is an excellent read for the lay person wishing to learn about the environment, prehistory, history, and culture of Peru as well as for students wanting to know more about the joys and rigors of fieldwork.

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Dean E. Arnold is adjunct curator of Latin American anthropology at the Field Museum in Chicago and professor of anthropology emeritus at Wheaton College, where he taught for thirty-nine years. A recipient of the Society for American Archaeology’s Award for Excellence in Ceramic Studies, he has published numerous articles about pottery production and related subjects. His five books include the seminal work Ceramic Theory and Cultural Process (Cambridge University Press, 1985).
Table of Contents:
List of Figures
1. The Adventure of Fieldwork
2. Beginning the Journey: An Aerial Introduction
3. The Challenges of Rural Life
4. Engaging a Changed Research Design
5. Engaging an Andean City
6. Retracing Inca Steps
7. The Navel of the Inca World
8. Nearing My Destination
9. Returning to Cusco
10. Returning to Ayacucho
11. The End of the Journey

Praise and Reviews:“In this carefully constructed narrative, Dean Arnold reviews the primary components of anthropological fieldwork while detailing the challenges and adventures of his foray into the Peruvian Andes as a neophyte graduate student. Told with delightful, illuminating commentary, Arnold’s investigations and lessons learned provide an indispensable aid for any venture into the field and for anyone seeking advice on how to cope with the unfamiliar and the unexpected.”
—Charles C. Kolb, archaeologist and retired senior program officer, National Endowment for the Humanities
“Arnold does a masterful job of weaving the history of a place into its modern context, and of highlighting the Andean way of life through its institutions. Engaging and easy to read.”
—Patrick Ryan Williams, associate curator, professor, and head of anthropology, Negaunee Integrative Research Center, Field Museum