Touring ancient times: The present and presented past in contemporary Peru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Peru offers important perspectives for understanding the presence of the past, particularly as expressed on various landscapes of national and local identity, social and political power, and economic development. As Peru's archaeological past is converted into a vast tourist project, contradictory, negotiated, and contested relationships are played out in a constantly changing drama, with ruins, indigenous people, ordinary city residents, foreign tourists, the Peruvian government, and the private sector as the actors. Concerned with how representations of the past are created and received differently by various groups in Peru, particularly in Cusco and Nazca, I show the importance of concentrating attention on the local context in which the pragmatics and poetics of archaeological tourism are orchestrated, demonstrating the insufficiency of studies focused exclusively on the role of nationalism/nationalist discourse in contemporary constructions of the past.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-902
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002


  • Archaeological heritage
  • Authenticity
  • Identity
  • Peru
  • Tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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