Edward Swenson

Edward Swenson

Edward Swenson, Ph.D. (University of Chicago, 2004)
Associate Professor, St. George Campus; Director, Archaeology Centre

(416) 946-5186
Office: AP 504

Research Keywords: Andes, archaeological method and theory, ritual, religion and ideology, power and violence, emergence of complex society, pre-industrial city, landscape history and place-making

Research Region: Ancient Andes, Mesoamerica, Khmer civilization

Website: http://www.archaeology.utoronto.ca/director-edward-swenson.html

Research Bio

Dr. Swenson has been engaged in archaeological field research in the Jequetepeque Valley of northern Peru since 1997, and he is currently directing excavations of the large urban complex of Cañoncillo (Proyecto Jatanca-Huaca Colorada) located on the south side of the valley.  A central objective of the research is to interpret how long-term processes of urbanization (400 BC-AD 800) were constituted by the everyday practices, identity politics, and religious values of Late Formative and Moche communities.  Field investigations are designed to gauge how transformations in the construction of public architecture differently correlated with changes in ritual activity, economic production, consumption habits, and the configuration and experience of domestic space.  Analysis of the historical interrelationships of different regimes of practice, as ultimately mediated by the built environment, will permit interpretation of the cultural particulars of urban power relations in the Jequetepeque region.  Therefore, our research intends to make contributions to understanding the pre-industrial city, violence and subject formation, the archaeology of ritual and monumental architecture, and the politics of landscape and social memory. The Jatanca-Huaca Colorada Project has involved the participation of a number of undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Toronto, and other institutions in Canada, Peru, and the United States.


2015  Swenson, Edward R. The Archaeology of Ritual, Annual Review of Archaeology 44: 329-345.

2015  Swenson, Edward R. and John Warner. Landscapes of Mimesis and Convergence in the Southern Jequetepeque Valley, Peru, Cambridge Archaeological Journal Available on CJO 2015 doi:10.1017/S0959774315000165

2015    Swenson, Edward R. The Materialities of Place Making in the Ancient Andes: a Critical Appraisal of the Ontological Turn in Archaeological Interpretation, Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 22(3): 677-712.

2015    Swenson, Edward R. Archaeological Approaches to Sacred Landscapes and Rituals of Place-Making. In The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices, and Politics. Edited by Stanley D. Brunn, pp. 477-502. New York: Springer.

2014   Swenson, Edward R.  Chinchorro Mortuary Ritual and the Thesis Against ‘Hunter-Gatherer’ Religions. In The Chinchorro Culture: A Comparative Perspective. The Archaeology of the Earliest Human Mummification. Edited by Nuria Sanz, Bernando T. Arriaza, and Vivien G. Standen, pp. 153-176. Arica, Chile: UNESCO World Heritage Publication and the Unisersidad de Tarapacá.

2014    Swenson, Edward R.  Los Fundamentos Cosmológicos de las Interraciones Moche Sierra durante el Horizonte Medio en Jequetepque. In Justin Jennings and Luis Jaime Castillo (Eds) Los Rostros de Wari:Perspectivas Interregionales sobre el Horizonte Medio. Lima: Fondo Editorial Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Boletín de Arqueología PUCP 16(2012): 79-104

2014          Swenson, Edward R.  The Materialities of Place-Making in the Ancient Andes: A Critical Appraisal of the Ontological Turn in Archaeological Interpretation.  Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.

2013         Swenson, Edward R.  Dramas of the Dialectic: Sacrifice and Power in Ancient Polities.  In Roderick Campbell (Ed) Violence and Civilization. Joukowsky Institute Publication 4, pp. 28-60.  Oxford: Oxbow Press.

2013         Swenson, Edward R.  Interpreting the Political Landscape of Early State Religions. In Michael Lambek and Janice Boddy (Eds)  A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion, pp. 471-488.  London: Wiley-Blackwell.

2012        Swenson, Edward R. Warfare, Gender, and Sacrifice in Jequetepeque Peru.  Latin American Antiquity 23(2): 167-193.

2012        Swenson, Edward R.  Moche Ceremonial Architecture as Third Space: The Politics of Place Making in Ancient Peru.  Journal of Social Archaeology 12(1): 3-28.

2012        Swenson, Edward R. and John Warner Crucibles of Power: Forging Copper and Forging Subjects at the Moche Ceremonial Center of Huaca Colorada, Peru.  Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 31(3): 314-333.

2011       Swenson, Edward R.  Stagecraft and the Politics of Spectacle in Ancient Peru.  Cambridge Archaeological Journal 21(2): 283-313.

2011       Swenson, Edward R. Feminine Powers, Ritual Warfare, and the Sacrificial Foundations of Contested Authority in Late Moche Jequetepeque, Peru. In Shawn Morton and Don Butler (Eds)  It’s Good to be King: The Archaeology of Power and Authority Proceedings of the 41st (2008). Annual Chacmool Archaeological Conference, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Calgary: University of Calgary Press, pp. 145-156.

2011       Swenson, Edward R.  Architectural Renovation as Ritual Process in Late Intermediate Period Jequetepeque.  In Colleen Zori and Illana Johnson (Eds)  Advances in North Coast Archaeology: State and Empire in the Jequetepeque Valley.  Oxford: British Archaeological Reports International Series, 2310, pp. 129-148.

2010       Swenson, Edward R.  Emotions Reified: Lessons from an Archaeology of Ritual.  Archaeological Dialogues 17(2): 176-185.

2010       Swenson, Edward R.  Revelation and Resolution: Anthropologies of Religion, Cognition, and Power.  Reviews in Anthropology 39: 173-200.

2009       Dillehay, Tom, Alan L. Kolata, and Edward Swenson  Paisajes Culturales en el Valle del Jequetepeque: Los Yacimientos Arqueológicos.  Ediciones Sian, Trujillo and Lima Peru.

2008      Swenson, Edward R.  The ‘Disjunctive Approach’ to the Archaeological Analysis of Ritual Politics. In Lars Fogelin (Ed)  Religion in the Material World.  Carbondale IL: Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University, pp. 237-261.

2008      Swenson, Edward R.  San Ildefonso and the Popularization of Moche Ideology in the Jequetepeque Valley.  In Luis Jaime Castillo, Hélène Bernier, Gregory Lockard, and Julio Rucabado (Eds) Arqueología Mochica: Nuevos Enfoques. Lima: Fondo Editorial Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, pp. 411-432.

2008      Swenson, Edward R.  Festines competitivos, pluralismo religioso y poder descentralizado en el periodo Moche Tardío.  Revista del Museo de la Universidad Nacional de Trujillo (Agosto): 235-260.

2007       Swenson, Edward R.  Local Ideological Strategies and the Politics of Ritual Space in the Chimú Empire.  Archaeological Dialogues 14(1): 61-90. 29 pages.

2007       Swenson Edward R.  Adaptive Strategies or Ideological Innovations?  Interpreting Sociopolitical Developments in the Jequetepeque Valley of Peru During the Late Moche Period.  Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 26(2): 1-30.

2006       Swenson, Edward R.  Competitive Feasting, Religious Pluralism, and Decentralized Power in the Late Moche Period.  In William H. Isbell and Helaine Silverman (Eds) Andean Archaeology III: North and South.  New York: Springer, pp. 112-142.

2003       Swenson, Edward R.  Cities of Violence: Sacrifice, Power, and Urbanization in the Andes.  Journal of Social Archaeology 3(2): 256-296.

Graduate Students

Aleksa Alaica

Kyle Shaw-Müller