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  Mortuary Practices and Human Sacrifice in the Middle Chao Valley of Peru: Their Interpretation in the Context of Andean Mortuary Patterning Minimize

Catherine Gaither, Jonathan Kent, Víctor Vásquez Sánchez, and Teresa Rosales Tham

Abstract


Investigations at several northern Peruvian coastal archaeological sites by archaeologists and physical anthropologists are beginning to provide details on long-term patterning of mortuary behavior. Some of these patterns include retainer sacrifice, child sacrifice, and the metaphorical principle we refer to as "like with like." In this paper, we discuss the data relating to these mortuary patterns discovered at the site of Santa Rita B in the middle Chao Valley. Examples of each of the patterns presented are evident at the site. These include at least three child sacrifices and one adult sacrifice. The sacrifices appear to be retainer sacrifices, defined as sacrifices intended to accompany a deceased principal personage in the afterlife. The inclusion of the child sacrifices with a subadult principal burial is part of the “like with like” pattern seen here and at other Andean sites. Dating to the start of the Late Intermediate period (ca. A.D. 1100---1300), these finds are compared to other north coastal sites, both earlier and later, and the extent of temporal continuity in these patterns is discussed.

Resumen


Basándose en investigaciones arqueológicas llevadas a cabo en varios sitios de la costa norte del Perú, arqueólogos y antropólogos físicos han mostrado la larga tradición de los patrones funerarios en la región. Algunos incluyen el sacrificio humano incluso de niños, junto con un patrón metafórico que denominamos "similar con similar." Presentamos aquí datos mortuarios del sitio arqueológico Santa Rita B, valle medio de Chao, que contiene ejemplos de cada uno de los patrones. Estos incluyen, por lo menos, tres sacrificios de niños y uno de adulto, que aparecen como acompañantes, del personaje principal en la vida futura. Los niños, incluidos con un subadulto principal, son parte de lo que denominamos “similar con similar”, y ha sido registrado en otros sitios andinos. Perteneciendo al inicio del Período Intermedio Tardío (ca. 1100 d.c. a 1300 d.c.), estos descubrimientos se comparan con otros de la costa norte, tanto tempranos como tardíos, y discutimos su continuidad temporal.

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