Postmortem Human Body Manipulation in the Mid-Chincha Valley, Peru


This paper investigates postmortem human body manipulation associated with above-ground and semi-subterranean tombs known as chullpas, which date from the Late Intermediate Period (A.D. 1000-1476) to the Late Horizon (A.D. 1476-1532) in the mid-Chincha Valley, Peru. Mortuary processes involve groups interacting with the dead to negotiate sociopolitical relationships. Groups commonly manipulated human corpses as part of mortuary processes performed cross-culturally. In the Andes, groups culturally transformed biologically dead bodies into socially viable artifacts. Fieldwork performed in the mid-Chincha Valley reveals a large number of chullpas, many of which exhibit evidence of intentional manipulation of human remains including bones with red pigment and reed posts put through vertebrae. Recent analyses of red pigment and over 40 samples of reeds with vertebrae yield new insights into late prehispanic funerary practices and relationships between the living and the dead in the mid-Chincha Valley. Here, we present these data and characterize postmortem human body manipulation performed in this key coastal valley. These funerary practices suggest dynamic, protracted interactions between the living and the dead that played significant roles in the construction of space, place, and sociopolitical relationships during late prehispanic times in this coastal valley.

Cite this Record

Postmortem Human Body Manipulation in the Mid-Chincha Valley, Peru. Jacob Bongers, Brittany Jackson, Susanna Seidensticker, Terrah Jones, Colleen O'Shea. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403090)

Spatial Coverage

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