Based on more than a decade of research on the Taraco Peninsula, Titicaca Basin, Bolivia, we discuss the role of memory, tradition and ancestral participation from the earliest settled communities to the founding and influence of the Tiwanaku order. We examine the shifting role of social memory
vis-à-vispublic ceremonies, pottery and food production. While the earlier phases give a sense of familial community and the construction of place through ancestor veneration, the later phases suggest stronger lineage commemoration, with families acting as gravitational forces in the burgeoning political developments. Our diachronic study on the Taraco Peninsula tracks these practices illustrating the movement along a discursive–non-discursive continuum, with some practices brought to the surface and politicized.