The placement of the dead is important for considering social memory, a source of collective knowledge and experiences that shapes social group identity. Mortuary placement is one form of ritual action that communities undertake to remember the dead. This allows anthropologists to ask questions about how humans engaged socially with each other and the landscape. This thesis utilizes an innovative methodological approach combining geographic information systems (GIS) and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis to investigate mortuary variation and social identity within the Late Intermediate Period site (A.D. 800 – 1535) Kuelap in the northern Peruvian Andes. Spatial, demographic, and isotopic data are both examined to better understand mortuary behavior. Researchers utilizing these methods typically examine environmental variation or human mobility on a large scale. This project's case study involves examining 440 individuals by grouping burials by mortuary types, age-at-death, and osteological sex. Spatial autocorrelation results indicate significant spatial clustering for age-at-death, mortuary types, and carbon stable isotopes. Hotspot analyses suggests significant clustering for all variables. Statistical tests indicate significant differences in carbon stable isotopes and no significant differences for nitrogen stable isotopes. The results suggest that the mortuary landscape at Kuelap is primarily shaped by social memory practices regarding the deceased and was likely not attached to specific ideas regarding age and sex identities. This research successfully utilizes a novel methodological approach to provide a deeper understanding of Chachapoya mortuary practices.
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Toyne, J. Marla
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Haynes, Hannah, "Utilizing Geographic Information Systems to Explore the Mortuary Landscape at Kuelap, Peru" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1215.