The pre-Hispanic archaeological site of Kuelap in Chachapoyas, Peru, is representative of the variation in mortuary practices observed throughout the Chachapoya region. The goal of this study was to analyze the human skeletal remains excavated in the center of the Circular Platform between residential structures at Kuelap by creating an inventory of the remains (n=2,573) and determine the minimum number of individuals originally interred in the mortuary context. This study observed a total of 171 femora, 159 humeri, 74 calcanei, 110 ilium bones, 86 temporal bones, and 74 maxillae. Results show that this mortuary context was an ossuary of secondarily, commingled remains of at least 75 individuals and it is a previously undescribed type of tomb at Kuelap. There were significant statistical differences between the expected adult MNI (n=47) and the actual MNI counts of the ilium and cranial bones. Based on its location and the large number of individuals, I argue that this secondary ossuary had special ritual meaning to the people at Kuelap. This research is anthropologically significant because Kuelap is a major archaeological site and the variability of mortuary practices demonstrates the complex ways that people in the past treated the dead.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Tran, Vu, "Determining the Minimum Number of Individuals and Significance of the Kuelap Ossuary in Chachapoyas, Peru" (2014). HIM 1990-2015. 1651.