Natalia Lozada Mendieta

Ancient Pots and Potters and Communities of Practice in the Átures Rapids (Middle Orinoco River, Venezuela)

My thesis is part of the Leverhulme-funded Cotúa Island-Orinoco Reflexive Archaeology Project and aims to elucidate the history of the diverse pre-colonial period pottery-making communities that occupied the Átures Rapids region of the Middle Orinoco River. This area was inhabited by multi-ethnic-linguistic groups in pre-Columbian times (2400 BC- AD 1600) and would have served as a centre of trade linking the Orinocan Western Llanos with the Guyanas. For my thesis I will be conducting a techno-stylistic analysis of the ceramics of the region in order to i) help establish an archaeological sequence for this little known area; and ii) to elucidate the changing historical relationships that local ceramic complexes and their producers/users (communities) had with each other and with the broader region of the Orinoco Basin, Guyana, and other parts of the Amazonian lowlands. Drawing upon theories of identity and practice (i.e., communities and constellations of practice), I will seek to assess the role and elucidate the meanings that pottery —its technology, style, aesthetics and function— had in embodying, expressing, transmitting and negotiating individual as well as communal identities. Other research questions to be addressed include: How communities and constellations of practice (potters and pottery) in the region operated/networked in pre-colonial times? What was the role and meaning of the ceramic technological styles in expressing and negotiating identity through time and space? What causal explanations can be offered to account for temporal changes in ceramic identity configurations and relationships in the study region? And, were the multi-ethnic-linguistic and centre of trade characteristics of Átures noted in the 16th century AD by Eruopean observers, induced by colonial imposition or did they emerge from pre-colonial roots?

Funding organisation


 Educational background

  • MA, Anthropology with emphasis in Archaeology and Biological Anthropology, Universidad de Los Andes, 2013
  • BA, Anthropology, Universidad de Los Andes, 2011. Graduated Magna Cum Laude
  • MINOR BA, Art History, Universidad de Los Andes, 2011

Lozada Mendieta, Natalia (2014). “Aportes recientes a la discusión sobre las ocupaciones prehispánicas en el Caribe colombiano: la cerámica de los sitios de San Isidro y Cacaramoa (Sabanagrande, Atlántico)”. Proceeding of the 25th International Congress for Caribbean Archeology. San Juan de Puerto Rico: IACA-AIAC congress. Pp.297-321.

Lozada Mendieta, Natalia (2014). “Indios entre las almas benditas del purgatorio: estudio de lienzos de ánimas neogranadinos del siglo XVII en Cundinamarca”. In: Zalamea, Patricia (comp.) El patrimonio artístico de Cundinamarca: casos y reflexiones. Bogotá: Universidad de Los Andes-Gobernación de Cundinamarca. Pp. 88-105.

Lozada Mendieta, Natalia (2013). “De minerales y grupos étnicos prehispánicos: aportes de la geología a los estudios arqueológicos en San Isidro y Cacaramoa (Atlántico, Colombia)”. Revista Hipótesis 16: 76-85. ISSN 1962-729X.

Lozada Mendieta, Natalia (2012). La Incorporación del Indígena en el Purgatorio cristiano: estudio de los lienzos de ánimas de la Nueva Granada de los siglos XVI y XVII. Bogotá, Uniandes-Documentos CESO. ISSN 2323-0061. Available at:

Lozada Mendieta, Natalia y González Galvis, Juan Camilo (2012). “La Ilusión del Hermano: Expedición a las mitografías antropológica y literaria del Yurupary”. Antípoda-Revista de Antropología y Arqueología, 15: 245-270. ISSN 1900-5407.

Lozada Mendieta, Natalia (2012). "De cóndores e indígenas: especies amenazadas en el Cocuy". Boletin OPCA-Observatorio de Patrimonio Cultural y Arqueológico. 4: 25-29. ISSN 2256-3199.

Conferences and Symposia

V Conference “Experiences and advances on research training”. Universidad Autónoma de Colombia (FUAC), Bogotá (Colombia). 31 October, 2013. Lecturer.

25th International Congress of Caribbean Archaeology IACA. San Juan (Puerto Rico). 15-20 July, 2013. Lecturer.

VI Colombian Archaeology Congress, Universidad del Magdalena, Santa Marta (Colombia). 26-29 October, 2010. Assistant.

13th Colombian Anthropology Congress, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá (Colombia). September 30- October 3, 2009. Assistant.

  • Figurine Jar, Amazon state, Venezuela
  • La Culebra flanged bowl
  • La Culebra site ceramics, Venezuela

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