In the coastal lowlands of northern Peru, the Moche archaeological culture flourished from about A.D. 100 to 800. Moche culture is known for its vividly painted and realistically modeled ceramics. A new volume in the award-winning Peabody Museum Collection Series presents a refreshing analysis of Moche works from the magnificent collection at Harvard's Peabody Museum
. In the richly illustrated The Moche of Ancient Peru: Media and Messages, archaeologist Jeffrey Quilter gives readers a thorough introduction to this fascinating culture and explores current thinking about Moche politics, history, society, religion, and art.
The Peabody's collection became a means for Quilter to investigate how the Moche used various media, particularly ceramics, to convey messages about their lives and beliefs. In The Moche of Ancient Peru, Quilter provides a critical examination of many commonly held interpretations of Moche artifacts and their imagery and casts new light on the traditional arts of Peru. In the process, he raises important questions about art production and its role in ancient and modern cultures.
Aimed at the general reader and the specialist alike, The Moche of Ancient Peru is the first extensive analysis of the Peabody's collection of Moche ceramics. Peruvian archaeologist Luis Jaime Castillo calls Quilter's book "a brilliant introduction to some of the most fascinating archaeological investigations currently being undertaken in the New World."
Jeffrey Quilter is Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Peabody Museum. He has been working with Peruvian archaeologists at the El Brujo Archaeological Complex in the Chicama Valley since 2002. Currently he directs a multidisciplinary study of a 16th-17th century colonial town and church complex, Sta. Magdalena de Cao, Viejo, at El Brujo.
Quilter's Magdalena de Cao excavation made headlines in fall 2010. He and colleagues published an article in American Anthropologist about the traces of a lost language discovered on a 400 year-old letter.
Quilter has published on a number of topics in archaeology as well as edited numerous volumes. His monographs are Life and Death at Paloma, Society and Mortuary Practices in a Preceramic Peruvian Village. (1989, University of Iowa Press); Cobble Circles and Standing Stones: Archaeology at the Rivas Site, Costa Rica. (2004, University of Iowa Pres); and Treasures of the Andes (2005, Duncan Baird).