Old Tomb, New Ancestors: Investigating the Role of a Preceramic Burial in Huarás Community Formation

Author(s): Emily Sharp

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Cooperative Bodies: Bioarchaeology and Non-ranked Societies" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The social and physical history of a place often plays a crucial role in people’s decisions regarding where to establish a community. In the ancient Andes, burial monuments offered powerful connections to landscape and shaped community identity by demonstrating claims to a shared ancestry and legitimizing access to ancestral lands. In this paper, I examine how a Late Preceramic mortuary space at Queyash Alto (Ancash, Peru) influenced where and how people established a small Huarás and later Recuay settlement during the Final Formative and Early Intermediate Periods (200BC–AD700). Previous work by Joan Gero emphasized how the Huarás performed large feasts at Queyash to organize collective labor. Some feasts were situated directly outside a tomb entrance thought to include Huarás remains. I present recent radiocarbon results from human teeth, which indicate that the people who feasted outside the tomb were separated by several millennia from those interred within it. These individuals were not recently deceased loved ones but were Queyash’s earliest inhabitants who occupied the site 2,000 years earlier. Through my bioarchaeological research on these burials, I interrogate what the reuse of this old mortuary space suggests about cooperative forms of community decision-making and the extended agency of long-dead ancestors.

Cite this Record

Old Tomb, New Ancestors: Investigating the Role of a Preceramic Burial in Huarás Community Formation. Emily Sharp. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450633)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25394