The Bioarchaeological paradigm of human remains decay in the Zapotec mortuary and funerary rituals

Author(s): Ricardo Higelin Ponce De Leon

Year: 2015


Archaeological, iconographic and ethnohistorical sources have been used to examine diverse cultural practices of Zapotec society before European contact. Cultural practices related to violence and warfare, such as captive taking for ritual sacrifice and slave labor, played an important role in Zapotec imperial expansion during the Late Formative through the Classic period. In the Valley of Oaxaca research has been done to understand these cultural practices. Whatever, bioarchaeological data to corroborate these cultural practices, such as intentional cutmarks in the cranium, mandible, cervical vertebrae and ribs, traumas, and other bone lesions, as demonstrated by the carve stones from Monte Albán, are lacking. Thus, this paper is going to provide a series of explanations of why human remains within the Valley of Oaxaca do not show marks from decapitation, acts of violence, or other cultural practices related to the Zapotec imperial expansion. Furthermore, using bioarchaeological approaches to body decomposition and skeletonization, I will address another cultural practice related to body disarticulation in both the mortuary and funerary contexts. This result is going to align the paradigm of how other lines of evidence vary from what has been suggested by from the archaeological, iconographic and ethnohistorical evidence.

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The Bioarchaeological paradigm of human remains decay in the Zapotec mortuary and funerary rituals. Ricardo Higelin Ponce De Leon. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395451)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;