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Social Memory and the Re-Use of Archaeological Ruins: Preliminary Insights from a Chimú-Inka Elite Gravesite at Samanco, Nepeña Valley, Peru ca. 1470-1534 CE

Author(s): Matthew Helmer

Year: 2017

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Summary

Social memory and ancestor veneration are recurring themes throughout Andean belief systems. Yet, the relationship between ancient Andeans and the archaeological ruins they encountered remains an underexplored research topic. Recent fieldwork at Samanco, an Early Horizon coastal settlement in the Nepeña Valley, shows intriguing mortuary practices of reutilizing site ruins as cemeteries. After an abandonment hiatus over several centuries, Samanco’s ruins of stone enclosures were reutilized as a cemetery for local groups. Eventually, site ruins became a burial ground for high ranking members of society, showcased in a spectacular multi-room grave complex excavated in the heart of Samanco. The grave complex dates to provincial Inka rule during the Late Horizon. I will be presenting the rich material contents of the grave, and preliminary evidence suggesting usage of coastal archaeological ruins as venues of social memory associated with ancestor veneration. I suggest the possibility of ‘deep’ ancestor veneration, linking later coastal populations to apical ancestors through mortuary practices at site ruins. Such practices may have been vital to Late Horizon leadership and coastal identities, after the imposition of the Inkas.


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Social Memory and the Re-Use of Archaeological Ruins: Preliminary Insights from a Chimú-Inka Elite Gravesite at Samanco, Nepeña Valley, Peru ca. 1470-1534 CE. Matthew Helmer. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430517)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16897

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America