Fighting Back at Yellow Jack

Author(s): Haagen Klaus; Connie Ericksen

Year: 2015


Since the beginning of the twentieth century, burial status has been a subject of archaeological investigation. Tainter (1978), Saxe (1970), Hertz (1907), and Pearson (1999) have contributed to our understanding of what status means in various cultural contexts and how it may be interpreted from archaeological contexts. This paper is an application of the burial status theme applied to burials recorded in late-colonial Peru. In 1868 burial records note the advent of yellow fever. Monthly mortality counts escalated to 7400% that of pre-fever months. Burial status is indicated as entierro mayor or entierro menor, translated to mean "high" or "low" burial, and following Ramos (2010), designated a range of mortuary details. Beyond the cost of high burial compared to low, there were also differences in the number and rank of persons in the funeral, the size and prominence of the cross, length of mass, and burial locale. This paper investigates the demographics of the deaths and the predicted change in burial status due to greater strain on families and community. The concept of status adds a new specificity to the prevailing question of mortuary performance: who merited "high" burial and how would escalated mortality rates influence this performance feature?

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Cite this Record

Fighting Back at Yellow Jack. Connie Ericksen, Haagen Klaus. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397678)

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Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

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