The Offerings of Cerro de la Virgen, Oaxaca, Mexico: Ontological Perspectives on a Unique Assemblage of Ritual Deposits
This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
The recent ontological turn in archaeological research has resulted in a proliferation of theoretical approaches inspired by non-representational and non-anthropocentric scholarship. In relational ontologies such as those of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, objects could possess a life force that allowed them to engage with other animate beings, to animate other entities, and to manifest powerful deities or ancestors. Like humans, some other-than-human entities experienced a life cycle marked by ritual acts, such as birth and death ceremonies, as well as the intake of spiritual sustenance required to maintain their animacy. In this paper, we explore how two categories of other-than-human actors—public buildings and cached objects—became entangled in ways that actively enabled or constrained social life. We focus on offerings excavated from 2013-2016 at the coastal Oaxacan site of Cerro de la Virgen, located in the lower Rio Verde Valley. During the Terminal Formative period, residents placed offerings of ceramic vessels, stone objects, and human bodies into the fill of many of the site’s public buildings. Based on archaeological evidence and statistical analyses, we argue that certain offerings of cached objects and materials were placed to ensoul, sustain, or terminate the structures into which they were placed.
Cite this Record
The Offerings of Cerro de la Virgen, Oaxaca, Mexico: Ontological Perspectives on a Unique Assemblage of Ritual Deposits. Jeffrey Brzezinski, Vanessa Monson, Arthur Joyce, Sarah Barber. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449429)
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min long: -98.679; min lat: 15.496 ; max long: -94.724; max lat: 18.271 ;
Abstract Id(s): 25661