PhD Student, Department of Archaeology, Stanford University
Luis is a PhD student in Archaeology at Stanford University. His interests lay in the intersection between Andean Archaeology, Intangible Cultural Heritage, and Performance Theory. As part of his doctoral dissertation, he is exploring, on the one hand, ritual practices and ceremonialism of the ancient Moche of the North coast of Peru (200 – 800 AD) and on the other, the relationships between contemporary Moche populations, their intangible cultural heritage, and the rhetoric of economic development promulgated by the Peruvian government. Regarding the former, he is directing archaeological excavations at the ceremonial center of Huaca La Capilla – San José de Moro, a Moche temple where large-scale and regional rituals were carried out for the Moche people as a means of ideological legitimization. In relation to the latter, he is conducting ethnographic work at the Lambayeque Valley (situated further north), in order to examine the role that archaeology is now playing as a “catalyzer of development” and how, in this context, contemporary indigenous and mestizo groups are appropriating and using the Moche intangible cultural heritage as a means through which to claim social visibility and political restitution. In a unique context of economic investment made by the Peruvian government for investigation, conservation, and touristic implementation of ancient Moche sites, contemporary Moche groups have been forced to incorporate themselves into the global tourist market through the production of craft goods and new (Western) ways to “display” their Moche identity. Interestingly, long-term archaeological projects, international NGOs, and governmental agencies aiming to promote economic development through the revaluation of Moche intangible cultural heritage and tourism are playing an ambivalent role by leading, in many cases, to the undermining of Moche intangible heritage. By analyzing this reality, Luis aims to contribute to the broad debate on the interplay between cultural heritage and socio-economic development in Latin America.
Luis has a Bachelors degree in Archaeology from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) where he also obtained his Licenciatura (licensing thesis), and a Masters degree in Anthropology from Stanford University. Luis is the Executive Director of the San Jose de Moro Archaeological Program from PUCP and a member of ICOMOS - PERU.