December 12, 2009 Lawrence Coben:  "Creating an Empire:  Spectacle, Theatricality, Performance and Power in the Inka State"
Mr. Coben discussed how the Inca utilized ritualized performance, spectacles and theatricality to create, grow and maintain their empire. Performance was one of the most critical elements of the Inca's rapid expansion from a single valley in Peru to a state that included most of Peru and Bolivia and significant portions of Ecuador, Argentina and Chile, all in a period of less than one hundred years. The Inca maximized the time, resources and nature of these performances in areas where warfare or internal strife were greatest. He also discussed the promise and difficulties of an archaeology of performance.
             Lawrence Coben is an archaeologist focused upon the Inca. His most recent work investigates Inca imperial strategy and the archaeology of performance. He was director of a project at the monumental site of Incallajta in Bolivia. With Takeshi Inomata, he co-authored Archaeology of Performance: Theater, Power and Community Altmira Press, 2006, and has authored several articles on the Inca, archaeological site museums, and the role of performance and spectacle in ancient society. He also chairs the Sustainable Preservation Initiative, a joint program of the Cotsen Center for Archaeology at UCLA and the Archaeological Institute of America, which utilizes sustainable local economic development to preserve global heritage around the world.  More on the research of Mr. Coben can be found at and on the Sustainable Preservation Initiative at

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