Inca Archaeology
Archaeology of Performance
Incallajta & Carabaya

Larry Coben is the founder and Executive Director of the Sustainable Preservation Initiative (“SPI”).  SPI  seeks to preserve the world's cultural heritage by providing sustainable economic opportunities to poor communities where endangered archaeological sites are located. SPI believes the best way to preserve cultural heritage is creating or supporting locally-owned businesses whose success is tied to that preservation. SPI's grants provide a TWO for the price of ONE benefit: they create transformative economic opportunities for the local residents while saving archaeological sites for future generations to study and enjoy.

Here is a video of Larry describing the SPI paradigm and its success.

Larry has started and run numerous public and private energy companies and has been very active in national energy policy.  He sits on the boards of NRG Energy and Rurelec PLC.  He serves on the Dept. of Homeland Security's Sustainability and Efficiency Task Force.  He writes an energy and cultural heritage blog for the Huffington Post.  More information on Larry can be found at the blog or here.

Larry's archaeological research is below and on the other pages.


My present research interests include the Inka empire, which rapidly expanded through South America during the 15th and 16th centuries, and the archaeology of ancient performance. I am also interested in the relationship among belief, ideology and economic behavior-the behavioral economics of premodern peoples, as well as how complex societies, states and empires attract followers and grow.

I directed a multidisciplinary project at the monumental Inka site of Inkallakta (Incallacta, Incallajta or Inkallajta, see photo left), located near Cochabamba, Bolivia. This joint project of the University of Pennsylvania and the Universidad Mayor de San Simon, explored the nature of the expansion and the cosmological and ideological underpinnings of the Inka empire, and the role of performance, theatricality and spectacle therein. More information on this project can be found by clicking the Incallajta & Carabaya page of this website. I have also examined these themes at other locations.

This emerging field of the archaeology of performance, which studies the role of theatricality and spectacle in ancient societies, is a central focus of my work. I am co-editor, with Dr. Takeshi Inomata of the University of Arizona, of a volume entitled "Archaeology of Performance: Theater, Power and Community", recently released by Altamira Press . The volume will examine the nature and political implications of theatrical and ceremonial performance at public events in these societies, and features contributions by several eminent archaeologists.  For more on this subject click Archaeology of Performance

I utilize digital reconstructions and virtual reality to assist in this study of performance.  This is a digital reconstruction of Incallajta's monumental core (near left) and that core as it looks today (far left)

At left is a reconstruction the interior of the site's largest structure, the kallanka.  The kallanka as it appears today can be seen on the Incallajta & Carabaya page of this website.

A reconstruction of the site of Incallajta and its topography.

My Archaeology of Performance volume is available!!!  Click here for details.

If you have comments about the site or questions, or would like to be on my mailing list, please fill in the form below.

If you are looking for brother Harlan's bestsellers, congratulations on reading this far!  Click  Click this link to read more about the Sustainable Preservation Initiative. And if you want to read about America's energy future, click here to go to my Huffington Post Energy blog.