Animals for the Ancestors: Comparing Animal Use in Funerary Rites at Ancient Hualcayán, Peru (AD 1–1000)


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

This poster presents recent analysis of faunal materials from three distinct funerary structures at Hualcayán, Ancash, Peru, in order to assess differences in taphonomic environments and funerary practices through interred faunal remains. This study compares species representation, bone modifications, and fragmentation from Early Intermediate Period and Middle Horizon communal and commingled tombs. The contexts examined represent three different ways of treating the dead between AD 1-1000 and include a semi-subterranean tomb and its associated patio, an above ground burial structure (chullpa), and a modified cave (machay). 5,223 fragments of animal bone were identified and examined for modifications and treatments. Of the fragments examined, 66 showed evidence of modifications such as cut marks, burning, and shaping into tools and ornaments, including imported spondylus shell and processed felid remains. Artiodactyla, specifically llama and alpaca, was the predominant domesticated taxon, particularly in the subterranean tomb. In the more exposed chullpa and the machay tomb environments, there was greater evidence for wild species, some intrusive but others intentionally interred based on the presence of modifications and cut marks. While this may be a result of the open tomb environment, evidence of modifications may also suggest an increased concern for wild fauna and imported materials.

Cite this Record

Animals for the Ancestors: Comparing Animal Use in Funerary Rites at Ancient Hualcayán, Peru (AD 1–1000). Ellen Dahl, Catriona Semple, Erin Crowley, Rebecca Bria. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449445)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25838