A contact-era mortuary ritual space in the central highlands of Peru
Lecture | October 30 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)
Bruce Owen, Sonoma State University
When the Upper Mantaro Archaeological Research Project excavated Patio J54=7 in the Late Horizon-to-early colonial town of Marca, near Jauja in the central highlands of Peru, in 1983, we described the patio and the circular structure in it as anomalous in many ways. Reanalysis of the field and lab data, including ceramic, lithic, metal, botanical, faunal, and human remains, confirms that this was not simply an ordinary household around the time of the Spanish conquest. Instead, or perhaps additionally, it was the scene of one or more group burials in a specially elaborated room apparently unique in the known regional archaeological record, with an unusual assemblage of remains inside and out that hint at associated ritual activities. Artefactual, stratigraphic, and paleopathological evidence indicate that this novel ritual activity may have been an indigenous response to the Spanish military incursion and/or introduced disease.