Living on the Dead in the Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca

Author(s): Jeffrey Blomster

Year: 2015


In exploring the bioarchaeology of ancient Oaxaca, an important component is the social context of human burials. This paper explores the placement of four burials, containing seven individuals, associated with the same Yucuita phase (500-300 BCE) household at Etlatongo, Oaxaca. This household appears to have been located in the same space for several generations, shifting slightly both horizontally and vertically through time. These burials are associated with the first occupation of this household, and they represent a variety of burial positions, including extended and seated, as well as placements, from features dug below the house to those placed directly on the house floor. Exploring the placements of these burials, it is possible to reconstruct the sequence in which they were interred. I argue that the parallel burials placed on the house floor belonged to the founders of this household. Upon their death and interment, the house was terminated and occupation shifted. Prior to this space being filled in, however, a shaft was built that provided access, both physical and spiritual, to one of the burials. Successive generations lived on their ancestors, who played an important foundational role in establishing this household.

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Cite this Record

Living on the Dead in the Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca. Jeffrey Blomster. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395459)


Spatial Coverage

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