Shifting Practices: Materiality and Mortuary Ritual at Early Classic Charco Redondo

Author(s): Michelle Butler

Year: 2017


This paper explores the relationships between the people, objects and practices that created an Early Classic communal mortuary space at the site of Charco Redondo in the lower Río Verde Valley of Oaxaca. The Early Classic follows the collapse of the first Rio Viejo polity, and significant differences in mortuary practices may signify a transformation in how power and authority were constituted. While communal internment continued, burials were generally undisturbed by later internments and individual offerings accompanied most burials as compared to communal caches and limited individual offerings in the Formative. Biodistance analyses also indicate that decedents were clustered according to phenotypic similarities. Entanglements between people, places, objects, and practices that engendered communal obligations and constrained strong social hierarchies in the Formative were being altered in ways that may have promoted individual and familial identities. The abundance of new materials used in mortuary ritual, such as Pachuca obsidian, likely also participated in the renegotiation of power and authority as more visibly hierarchical. The focus on individuals and dynasties is firmly established in the region by the Late Classic, a period that is in part defined by a rejuvenation of the Rio Viejo polity centered on elite rulership.

Cite this Record

Shifting Practices: Materiality and Mortuary Ritual at Early Classic Charco Redondo. Michelle Butler. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431061)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16035