Material Perspectives on Canal Ceremonialism at Chavín de Huántar

Author(s): Nicholas Brown

Year: 2015


This work presents an interpretive revaluation of canal ceremonialism at the Andean Formative civic-ceremonial center of Chavín de Huántar. Focusing on a set of spaces within the subterranean stone-lined waterway "Canal 2," excavated in 2012 in an "Esplanade" area flanking the site’s monumental core, this study explores the excavation hypothesis that canals acted as stages for the ritual-sacrificial deposition of artifacts. Through an analysis of stratigraphic and material patterning within these spaces, six distinct zones of canal deposition were identified. With the characterization of and comparison between each zone, prehistoric depositional activity was assessed and tested against theories of sacrificial deposition. Although contexts identified by excavators as "ritual" proved materially distinct from those occurring outside of canal contexts, it is concluded that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate claims of sacrificial deposition occurring prehistorically within Canal 2. The classification of depositional zones as "ritual" in the context Canal 2 is suggested to be ineffective for such a structure that appears to have possessed spatially and temporally diverse functionality as reflected in its architectural and depositional history.

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Cite this Record

Material Perspectives on Canal Ceremonialism at Chavín de Huántar. Nicholas Brown. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397981)

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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 ;