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Geographic origin of sacrificed camelids at Huanchaquito (Chimú period, northern coast of Peru): insight from stable isotopic analysis

Author(s): Elise Dufour ; Nicolas Goepfert ; Gabriel Prieto ; John Verano

Year: 2017

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Summary

Excavations at the Chimú site of Huanchaquito located in the Moche Valley (northern coast of Peru) leaded to the discovery of an exceptional sacrificial deposit of more than 200 domestic camelid skeletons. This finding adds to the many testimonies of the presence of camelids on the Peruvian coast during the pre-Hispanic era. The abundant presence of animals suggests - but does not bring definitive evidence - that breeding took place locally in an unfavorable arid environment. Measurements of stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen and radiogenic isotopes of strontium in archaeological remains are a primary source of information on the life history of past humans and animals. Isotopic analysis was used to address the question of the geographic origin and movements of Huanchaquito animals among the different ecological zones of the Andes. Both organic tissues (bone collagen and hair) and hard tissues (bone apatite and enamel) are well preserved at Huanchaquito. The combined isotopic analysis of these tissues allow for the reconstruction of diachronic life history of camelids. Comparison with isotopic data for other cultures and valleys supports the existence herding practices specific to pre-Hispanic times in northern Peru.


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Geographic origin of sacrificed camelids at Huanchaquito (Chimú period, northern coast of Peru): insight from stable isotopic analysis. Elise Dufour, Nicolas Goepfert, Gabriel Prieto, John Verano. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431635)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
South America


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16724

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