Two Individuals, One Urn Burial from La Real, Peru: A Bioarchaeological Investigation of Urn Burial Practices
The site of La Real, located in the southern, near-coastal region of Peru, was an elite burial ground where mortuary contexts reveal Wari imperial influence during the Middle Horizon (600-1000 CE). This study examines the mortuary treatment of two human fetus/neonate skeletons placed inside a decorated, ceramic urn and compares funerary treatment to Wari fetus/neonate burials and others in the Andes to evaluate the geographic reach, chronological depth, and cultural significance of this funerary practice.
To estimate age-at-death, the long bones and basilar occipitals were measured, indicating an age of 30-36 weeks in utero for both individuals. Although we suspect they were twins, thus far no data support or refute that hypothesis. The urn was decorated with Nasca-influenced motifs, and the fetuses/neonates were wrapped in plain, cotton textiles and cotton ropes. Fetus urn burials have also been recovered at Conchopata, a Wari heartland site, and comparisons show some key distinctions. For example, the La Real urn contained a double burial, the fetal/neonate remains were wrapped in textiles, and no other artifacts were found in the urn. These distinctions reflect the importance of local mortuary practices in the face of Wari imperial influence in the region.
Cite this Record
Two Individuals, One Urn Burial from La Real, Peru: A Bioarchaeological Investigation of Urn Burial Practices. Emily Smith, Taylor MacDonald, Tiffiny A. Tung. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443211)
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min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;
Abstract Id(s): 22655