The purpose of this research is to analyze intentional cranial modification at the site of Túcume located in Peru. Intentional cranial modification is the permanent alteration of the infant cranium through the use of apparatuses that will alter the shape of the skull resulting in lifelong implications. This analysis serves to answer three research questions through testing the hypotheses in regards to the variation among individuals, the sex-based differences in the population, and how cranial modification patterns differentiate normal burials from sacrificed individuals at Túcume. The data include a total of 480 individuals with 375 crania observable. It was found that 26% of individuals with crania were modified. A sex-based pattern was identified since 47% of females were modified while only 18% of males were modified. There were 99 sacrificed individuals with only 6% of them being also modified. The data indicates that there was not a statistically significant difference in the modifications between the sacrificed and non-sacrificed individuals. There is also not enough evidence to indicate that the sacrificed individuals were from other locations. The individuals that were sacrificed were most likely from Túcume. In regards to classification type, it was found that fronto-occipital vault modification was the most prevalent at 56% regardless of sex or age. Fronto-occipital and lambdoidal modifications were more frequently performed on females while occipital was more frequent among males. From the data, this indicates that this was not a common practice at Túcume. There was enough variation in the types of modification that suggests it was not a universal practice. The practice of head shaping in past societies is an important aspect because it holds social implications. It is clear that this thesis provides important insight into Túcume’s past and contains important information in regards to sex-based patterns of head shaping as a marker of group identity.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Toyne, J. Marla


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences





Access Status

Open Access

Release Date