Perishable Disparity: Mortuary treatment in Baja California Sur

Author(s): Theresa Schober

Year: 2015


Missionary and explorer accounts document status differences in adornment, possession of ceremonial items, and body proportions in the marine foraging populations of the Cape Region, Baja California Sur, Mexico. The antecedent and concurrent Las Palmas Culture (ca. A.D. 1200 to 1700) was originally defined by William Massey based on excavation of small exclusive-use mortuary caves. Each cave held one or two primary interments and several secondary bundle burials representing both sexes and all ages. Skeletal elements in bundle burials were typically painted with ochre before being bound in sewn palm fiber mats or less frequently, animal hides. Both burial types have produced a diversity of largely perishable grave offerings, particularly in child burials and adult primary interments. Other mortuary programs occur in some coastal sites with interments directly in sand dunes with more frequent association of utilitarian objects. Previous research has demonstrated mortuary patterning does not correlate with differential access to food resources based on stable isotope analysis of bone collagen and apatite carbonate. Formal disposal areas with excellent preservation of burial items, in conjunction with bone chemistry data permit an investigation of differing interpretations of social identity and equality when perishable objects are included and removed from analysis.

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Perishable Disparity: Mortuary treatment in Baja California Sur. Theresa Schober. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398384)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;