My new book is out! The Chankas and the Priest: A Tale of Murder and Exile in Highland Peru!

The Chankas and the Priest: A Tale of Murder and Exile in Highland Peru

The Chankas and the Priest: A Tale of Murder and Exile in Highland Peru

How does society deal with a serial killer in its midst? What if the murderer is a Catholic priest living among native villagers in colonial Peru? In The Chankas and the Priest, Sabine Hyland chronicles the horrifying story of Father Juan Bautista de Albadán, a Spanish priest to the Chanka people of Pampachiri in Peru from 1601 to 1611. During his reign of terror over his Andean parish, Albadán was guilty of murder, sexual abuse, sadistic torture, and theft from his parishioners, amassing a personal fortune at their expense. For ten years, he escaped punishment for these crimes by deceiving and outwitting his superiors in the colonial government and church administration.

Drawing on a remarkable collection of documents found in archives in the Americas and Europe, including a rare cache of Albadán’s candid family letters, Hyland reveals what life was like for the Chankas under this corrupt and brutal priest, and how his actions sparked the instability that would characterize Chanka political and social history for the next 123 years. Through this tale, she vividly portrays the colonial church and state of Peru, as well as the history of Chanka ethnicity, the nature of Spanish colonialism, and the changing nature of Chanka politics and kinship from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century.

My latest field season in the Andes!

casta in rainy seasonJust returned from my latest field season in Huarochiri Province, Peru, funded by Nat Geo. Although it was difficult fieldwork, with numerous setbacks, I was able to work in three remote communities who had used khipus well into the 20th century, all previously unknown. I found seven new Inka style patrimonial khipus with a total of over 750 multicoloured khipu cords; also interviewed community members and was granted access to colonial community documents. Many many thanks to my husband Bill, to the people of Huarochiri Province, to Tiffany Tung, Steve Wernke, Abel Travislavinia and the graduate students in Ayacucho, to the museum directors and assistants in the INC Ayacucho, the Archivo Tello and the MNAAHP. Les agradezco a todos!

Nat Geo’s Explorer’s Grant: Hidden Texts of the Andes

My husband, Bill, and I have been awarded a grant from the National Geographic Global Exploration Fund, to document two patrimonial khipus still used by a remote community in the Peruvian Andes. We will travel there this year to study the knotted texts.collata dry