The Lives and Deaths of Moche Valley Children: What Endocranial Lesions Can Tell Us


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

Children’s lives were mostly largely excluded from bioarchaeology analyses before the 1990s. Since then, a new focus on the bioarchaeology of children has illuminated the importance of the lived experiences of childhood for understanding past societies. In this research, we examined the remains of 270 children who died before they were six years old, who were recovered from four Early Intermediate Period archaeological sites in the Moche Valley. Representing the Salinar and Gallinazo phases are children recovered from Pampa la Cruz and La Iglesia on the coast and Cerro Oreja in the middle valley. Children from these sites are compared to later Middle Moche period children from the Huacas de Moche in the lower valley. Among the most common paleopathological conditions identified was endocranial lesions. Such lesions can be caused by vitamin deficiencies, infection of the meninges, and trauma. The examination of the features of these lesions, their co-occurrence with other paleopathological conditions, and the age, temporal and spatial distributions of pathologies, allows us to propose a diagnosis as well provide us with an insight into the daily struggles of children on the north coast of Peru.

Cite this Record

The Lives and Deaths of Moche Valley Children: What Endocranial Lesions Can Tell Us. Genesis Torres Morales, Celeste Gagnon, Gabriel Prieto. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449692)

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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): 23459