Event—Public Programming

MesoAmerican Spolia: Churches, Households, and Broken Sculpture in a Colonial Mexican Village

In colonial Mexican religious architecture, fragments of prehispanic sculpture are commonly found incorporated into the facades of Catholic churches. These have often been interpreted as akin to “spolia” seen in European architecture from antiquity through the early modern period, and often understood to symbolize the victory of Christianity over earlier “pagan” religions. In this talk, however, Jamie Forde presents archaeological evidence from a colonial indigenous household in Oaxaca to suggest that, in Mexico, native peoples may have embedded fragments of earlier sculpture in churches and other buildings for very different reasons.