UCL Anthropology


Francisco Vergara

Francisco Vergara

UCL Email: francisco.vergara.15@ucl.ac.uk
Websites: https://ucl.academia.edu/FranciscoVergaraMuruahttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/Francisco_Vergara6
Year of start: 2017
Supervisors: Chris Tilley, Ludovic Coupaye
Subject: Material Culture and Social Anthropology
Fieldsite: Peru

PhD Research

Andean Rhythms. Time, Practices and Identities among Central Andean Mestizos

Located in the Peruvian Central Andes, this research explores how mestizo groups conceptualise, perform and use time. In order to do that, this research analyses the rhythms of dancing and walking among two different troupes of religious and traditional dances, and the rhythms of making among the comuneros from the Rayampata peasant community. Based on twelfth months of ethnographic fieldwork, this research reveals that through a set of concepts such as Hailpa, Cacharpari, Chakiri, Wairi, Arranques, Albas and Estaciones, mestizos produce and embed their practices with a temporal frame and customize two apparently contradictory temporal ontologies: indigenous and western. Doing so allows them to employ time in the process of de-Indianization, but also to produce differences between them. Thus, through the rhythms of practices such as corn beer production, mud brick fabrication, dance contests, cargo fiestas and pilgrimages, mestizo groups negotiate and stamp their own temporality and identity in relation to “Indians” and to other mestizo groups. This research shows that time is actively employed in social life. It argues that distinctions such as cyclical and linear, natural and cultural, traditional or modern are more related with the anthropological denial of coevalness than with the mestizo conceptualizations and uses of it. In general terms, this research establishes a dialogue between Andean history and anthropology, the anthropology of time, the anthropology of techniques and the anthropology of landscape.

Research Interests

  • Rhythms
  • Anthropology of time
  • Anthropology of techniques
  • Anthropology of Landscape
  • Andean anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Rock art research


  • Vergara, F. 2019. The dance of the lines. On the rhythms of making petroglyphs. Journal of Material Culture. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359183519836140. First Published March 5, 2019.
  • Vergara, F and Basile, M. 2018. Rock art and technology. A spatiotemporal proposal from the upper basin of the Limarí River, North central Chile. Troncoso, A., Armstrong, F, and G. Nash (eds) Archaeologies of Rock Art. South American Perspectives. Routledge, London.
  • Vergara, F and Troncoso A. 2016. El Arte de la Paradoja: tecnología, incisiones, superposiciones, y transformaciones en el arte rupestre del Norte Semiárido de Chile. Interseciones en Antropologia 17(2): 227–237.
  • Vergara F, Troncoso, A and Ivanovic, F. 2016. Time and rock art production: Explorations on the material side of petroglyphs in the semiarid north of Chile. Bednarik R et al. (eds) Paleoart and Materiality: The Scientific Study of Rock Art. Oxford: Archaeopress Archaeology, 147–160.
  • Troncoso, A, Vergara, F, Pavlovic, D, González, P, Pino, M, Larach, P, Escudero, A, La Mura, N, Moya, F, Pérez, I, Gutiérrez, R, Pascual, D, Belmar, C, Basile, M, López, P, Dávila, C, Vásquez, M J, and Urzúa, P. 2016.  Dinámica espacial y temporal de las ocupaciones prehispánicas en la cuenca hidrográfica del Río Limarí (30° LAT. S.). Chungará  48(2): 199-224.
  • Vergara, F and Troncoso, A. 2015. Rock Art, Technique and Technology: An exploratory study of Hunther-Gatherer and Agrarian communities in Pre-hispanic Chile (500 to 1450 CE). Rock Art Research 32(1): 31-45. 
  • Moya, F, Armstrong, F, Basile, M, Nash, G, Troncoso, A, and Vergara, F. 2014. On site and Post site Analysis of Pictographs within the San Pedro Viejo de Pichasca Rock Shelter, Limarí Valley, North Central Chile. Proc. Univ. Bristol, 26(2): 171-184.
  • Troncoso, A, Vergara, F, Gonzáles, P, Larach, P, Pino, M, Moya, F, Gutiérrez, R. 2014. Rock Art, Socio-spatial Practices and the construction of Communities in the Semiarid North of Chile. F, Falabella, L. Sanhueza, L. Cornejo, I. Correa (Eds) Distribución espacial en sociedades no aldeanas: del registro arqueológico a la interpretación social. Ediciones monográficas de la Sociedad Chilena de Arqueología. pp. 89-115.
  • Vergara, F. 2013. The Material Side of Aesthetics in Rock Art. Boletín del Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino 18(2): 33-47.
  • Troncoso, A and F. Vergara. 2013. History, Landscape and Social Life: Rock art among hunter-gatherers and farmers in Chile´s semi-arid north. Time and Mind 6(1): 105-112.
  • Vergara, F. 2009. Methodological Postulates to the Technologies of Rock Art Production. Proceedings of the IFRAO World Rock Art Congress.
  • Troncoso, A, Armstrong, F, Vergara, F, Urzúa, P, and Larach, P. 2008. Rock Art in El Encanto Valley (Ovalle, Coquimbo Region): Towards a Re-evaluation of the Site-type of Limarí Style. Boletín del Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino 13 (2): 9-36.

Presentations & Conferences

  • 2018. The dance of the lines. On the rhythms of making petroglyphs. IFRAO World Rock Art Congress. Valcamonica, Italy.
  • 2013. Technology, time and social life in Rock Art. XVIII National Congress of Argentinian Archaeology.
  • 2013. Encounters, Spaces and Rocks. A genealogy of public spaces without architecture in the central north of Chile.
  • 2012. The Multi-dimensionality of a visual language: the case of Diaguita’s Masks (Semiarid North of Chile). Jornadas de estudios Andinos 2012.
  • 2012. Prehispanic occupations in the Limarí River Basin. XIX National Congress of Chilean Archaeology. 
  • 2012. Hunter-Gatherer with pottery in the Semiarid north of Chile.  XIX National Congress of Chilean Archaeology.
  • 2012. Rock Art as Technology. XIX National Congress of Chilean Archaeology
  • 2012. Aesthetics Codes in the Production of Rock Art. Internacional Congress of Archaeology and Rock Art. 25 years SIARB. 
  • 2011. Rock Art, Technology and Society. Technological Choices in the Production of Mask Designs From North- Central Chile. XVI World Congress UISPP, XVI Congress SAB.
  • 2011. Rock Art and Technology: A Methodological Proposal. XVI World Congress UISPP, XVI Congress SAB.
  • 2010. Rock Art and Technology. VIII International Symposium of Rock Art. San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina.  
  • 2009. Methodological postulates for a Technological approach to Rock Art Production. XIV Global Rock Art Congress IFRAO.

Teaching Experience

  • 2011. Teaching assistant Material Culture and Technology. Universidad Internacional SEK
  • 2011. Teaching assistant Chilean Semiarid Prehistory. Universidad Internacional SEK

Education History

  • MA in Materials, Anthropology and Design. University College of London, UK. Dissertation title: The technology of rock art. Exploring bodies, materials, rhythms and spatial interactions. Distinction
  • BA in Archaeology. Universidad Internacional SEK, Santiago, Chile. Dissertation title: Technological characterization of the petroglyphs in Los Mellizos archaeological site. Upper basin of the Illapel Valley.

Honours, Awards & Funding

  • 2017-2021. CONICYT – Becas Chile Scholarship for Ph.D. Studies.
  • 2011-2014. Research Project FONDECYT N°1110125. Rock art in the Limarí basin (IV Region): Production, Consumption, Socio-spatial Practices and Social Reproduction.
  • 2010-2011. Research Project FONDART N°10916-9. The Late Period in the Coast of the Petorca Province.