“Fruit of the Vine, Work of Human Hands": An Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Slavery on the the Jesuit Wine Haciendas of Nasca, Peru
Weaver, Brendan Joseph McKinney
This dissertation combines archaeological and ethnohistorical methods to examine the lived experiences of enslaved African laborers on the wine haciendas of San Joseph de la Nasca and San Francisco Xavier de la Nasca, owned by the Society of Jesus on the southern Peruvian coast in the 17th and 18th centuries. This exploration specifies the local conditions of coercive colonial institutions within an emerging global economy. The study approximates daily praxis and spatio-material conditions of the haciendas drawing on reconnaissance with geophysical survey of the productive and domestic cores of the haciendas, along with test excavations, and augmented with a systematic survey of the annex properties of San Joseph and San Xavier located within the Grande Drainage. Through these data an aesthetic and semiotic approach to power and enslaved praxis within the institution of the hacienda is formulated, probing the dynamic construction of meaning and hierarchy within enslaved communities through both strategic and habitual practices. As in many other parts of the colonial Americas, the African experience in Peru was both generative and conservative of aspects of West and Central African traditions. This dissertation finds that the Nasca Jesuit estates deployed coercive technologies embodying a doctrine of labor as Christian discipline in both the use of hacienda space and material conditions. Excavations reveal the intertwined nature of domestic and agroindustrial activities in the lived experiences of enslaved laborers. These enslaved actors, however, found modes for expression and the building of meaning, as demonstrated in material correlates of slave-made ceramics and foodways, through which signs were evoked referencing aspects of African aesthetic traditions. The research presented offers the first explicit archaeological description and analysis of Afro-Peruvian material culture, contributing to an emerging understanding of enslaved and coerced workers in colonial-era intensive viticultural production, and to a growing body of archaeological research concerning the African diaspora in Latin America.