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Dr Darryl Wilkinson

Dr Darryl Wilkinson

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Downing Site

Cambridge CB2 3ER


I received my initial training in archaeology from Oxford, and went on to do my PhD at Columbia University, graduating in 2013. After the completion of my doctoral work, I was a fellow of the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University as part of the “Objects and Environments” interdisciplinary seminar. Following that, I spent 2 years as an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of the ‘Religion and Secularism’ research seminar.

Research Interests

My fieldwork is based in Peru, especially in the ecologically transitional zones between the Andean highlands and Amazonia, focusing on the later pre-colonial period (AD 1000-1532).

I have a two primary areas of research:

1) The Material Culture of Anarchism. My current excavation project deals with a group of prehistoric highland communities that fled into the forested lowlands of Upper Amazonia in order to avoid incorporation into the nascent Inca Empire. Several themes are central to this work, including the ways in which people seek to modify their material world in order to suppress hierarchical social tendencies, and how certain ecological frontier zones can provide refuges from state formation, and thus spaces for the establishment of more egalitarian societies.

2) The Archaeology of Religion. A further area of interest lies in the relationships between ancient Andean societies and the various nonhuman persons that resided in the landscape—particularly rock outcrops and mountains, who were treated as living and sentient beings by the Incas and other Andean peoples. My research on this topic has primarily involved archaeological landscape survey, supported by an

examination of relevant historical documents from the early colonial era. Of particular concern are the ways in which theoretical categories such as “animism” have been used to understand indigenous religious traditions, especially in prehistoric contexts.

I direct the Amaybamba Archaeological Project (Peru) and I am also a co-director of the Gorge Project (New Mexico, US).

Key Publications

Wilkinson, Darryl. (forthcoming) The influence of Amazonia on state formation in the ancient Andes. Antiquity.

Wilkinson, Darryl. (2017) Is there such a thing as animism? Journal of the American Academy of Religion 85(2): 289-311.

Wilkinson, Darryl. (2013) The Emperor’s New Body: Personhood, Ontology and the Inka Sovereign. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 23(3): 417-432.

Wilkinson, Darryl. (2011) The Apartheid of Antiquity. World Archaeology 43(1): 26-39.