Monumental Structure, Sacred Landscape, and Cosmology: The Late Formative Period Peruvian Site of Jequetepeque-Jatanca

Author(s): Yumi Huntington; John Warner

Year: 2019


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

How does architectural construction relate to the surrounding landscape and a broader cosmological framework? This paper discusses the relationships among architecture, geography, and cosmology at the site of Jatanca in the Jequetepeque Valley on the northern coast of Peru. This site was occupied mainly during the Late Formative Period (approximately 500 BCE to 100 CE) by local coastal populations, resulting in the construction of six monumental architectural compounds located on a relatively undifferentiated flat plain. Only one partially elevated structure exists at the site, a unique Acropolis that radiocarbon tests and excavations indicate was the very first building constructed there. This Acropolis seems to form a focal point for the local architecture and its relationships to the surrounding sacred mountains and even celestial bodies. We argue that the Acropolis exhibits a specific cosmological relationship with the nearby mountain Cerro Cañoncillo, creating an almanac based on alignments of solstices and equinoxes that connected the site’s inhabitants to a larger cosmic framework. This paper will discuss the rationale behind Jatanca’s geophysical location and spatial considerations for its ritual practices, including analysis of its surrounding environment and irrigation canal system.

Cite this Record

Monumental Structure, Sacred Landscape, and Cosmology: The Late Formative Period Peruvian Site of Jequetepeque-Jatanca. Yumi Huntington, John Warner. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450133)

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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): 25018