Mortuary practices, commingled remains, gis, chachapoya
Diversity of Chachapoya mortuary practices is not well understood archaeologically, even though the region has received some attention for the monumental constructions and visually striking mortuary complexes located high on open cliff faces. This may be due to the difficult accessibility and often poor state of preservation consistent with many Chachapoya mortuary and occupation sites. This thesis reconstructs mortuary practices at La Petaca in the Chachapoyas region of Peru, applying paleodemographic and GIS methodological approaches to facilitate and improve the bioarchaeological study of commingled skeletal remains in an open, disturbed communal funerary context. Research focused on SUP CF-01, a natural cave context utilized as a group burial. The sample of human remains retrieved from SUP CF-01 (n= 8182) estimated an MNI of 43 adults and 12 juveniles, including a range of demographic categories. By employing a total station to record the cave structure, and a GIS to analyze the deposit of commingled remains, this thesis was able to measure the distances between paired elements and to explore possible post-depositional practices that could have created this commingled and disturbed deposit. This bioarchaeological analysis incorporating demographic and spatial analysis indicated that this collective burial was a primary context, and most likely a result of a gradual accumulation of complete bodies and movement of later skeletonized elements to make room for successive burials. When compared to other mortuary contexts at this complex, including a comparative secondary cave context and over 120 constructed mausoleums, it appears that all community members were included in the mortuary practices at this complex.
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Toyne, J. Marla
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Epstein, Lori, "A Spatial Analysis of Chachapoya Mortuary Practices at La Petaca, Chachapoyas, Peru" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1341.