John W. Rick

Associate Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Stanford University

The Origins of Authority in Ancient Chavín de Huántar, Perú    



Authority is a concept intrinsic to our organizations and leadership, yet it was not present as a pervasive feature of human society until recent millenia.  Strong patterns of permanent authority emerge in the Peruvian Andes between 2000 BC and year 0.  I use my 30 years of archaeological research at Chavín de Huántar to show how ritual actions, artifacts, and architecture were creatively employed to create confidence in emergent leaders around 1000 BC.  Religion for a limited time was the primary means of socio-political change, generating innovation in technologies that naturalized authoritarian society.

John W. Rick is Associate Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and the Archaeology Center at Stanford University, specializing in Latin American archaeology, with doctorate from the University of Michigan.  He directs comprehensive fieldwork at Chavín de Huántar, a 3000-yr-old monumental World Heritage site in the highlands of Peru. His interests concentrate on how early religious cults strategized the beginnings of political authority in the Andes.