Research on a Dog Burial from Rio Muerto, Peru


This poster presentation examines the place of the dog in the ancient Andean society of Tiwanaku. The mummified remains of a small dog were recovered from a domestic context at the Rio Muerto site, located in the Osmore River drainage of far southern Peru. Although dog burials in Peru are not unusual, they appear mostly in high-status contexts in art and in mortuary practice. Offerings of young camelids and dogs have been found buried beneath floors and entryways of houses at Rio Muerto M43 and at other Tiwanaku sites in the Moquegua colony. A 2014 SAA paper provided an initial overview of the history of canids in pre-contact Peru as it relates to this individual burial, offering preliminary information from the archaeological and ethnographic records to suggest possible avenues of study focused on the ancient dogs of Peru. The isotopic study of the individual presented here will examine strontium signatures and carbon values to glean information relating to possible place of origin and dietary practices to further the hypothesis that dogs in ancient Peru were symbols of social rank and status.

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Cite this Record

Research on a Dog Burial from Rio Muerto, Peru. Ellen Lofaro, Michael Wylde, Susan deFrance, Paul Goldstein. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397462)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;