Promoting collaborative research on ideas central to the pressing issues of our time.

The “Reading New Books in the Humanities by Penn State Faculty” Collaborative Colloquium presents “Empires of the Dead: Inca Mummies and the Peruvian Ancestors of American Anthropology”

by Christopher Heaney, Assistant Professor of History

Date: Wednesday, November 29
Location: 102 Ihlseng Cottage
Time: 4:00 – 5:30 p.m EST.

When the Smithsonian’s Hall of Physical Anthropology opened in 1965 it featured 160 Andean skulls affixed to a wall to visualize how the world’s human population had exploded since the birth of Christ.

Through a history of Inca mummies, a pre-Hispanic surgery called trepanation, and Andean crania like these, Empires of the Dead explains how “ancient Peruvians” became the single largest population in the Smithsonian and many other museums in Peru, the Americas, and beyond. It also shows how colonial Andean communities also found ways to keep the dead alive, making “Inca mummies” a symbol of resistance that Spanish American patriots used to introduce Peruvian Independence and science to the world.

RSVP Here for a digital or physical copy of the book and to register for the discussion!