SOCIAL STRATIFICATION AMONG 46 MUMMY BUNDLES
FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO CEMETERY, PV-75-26,
YAUCA VALLEY, PERU
Meichell A. Walsh
B .A., Metropolitan State College of Denver, 1992
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
This thesis is dedicated to my family who has been my support throughout my
life. First, I must thank my grandmother who taught me that loving and caring were
the most important of human qualities. My grandfather who has shown me that the
pursuit of knowledge was a great adventure and pushed me along on my own journey.
My brother who has pushed and challenged me to reach for the highest goals. My
father who supported me in my quest for this degree. Last but never least, my mother
who has not only been my mother, pointing out when I was being small and petty,
acting like a child; she has been my cheerleader, pushing me to test my limits; but most
of all, she has been my best friend. All my love and appreciation to my family, friends,
and everyone who has touched my life during this long and winding journey.
My thanks to Augusto Belan for allowing me access to the mummy bundles
from his excavations, his time, and his expertise. Special thanks to the Belan family,
Maritere, Cesar, and Alejandro, for their warm hospitality and help during my visit.
Many thanks to the Peruvian students who not only assisted me in my work, but have
become good friends Suzana Del Risco, Rocio Tejada Lewis, Alina Aparico de la
Riva, and Jaime Andrade Sonqo. This project would not have been possible without
the guidance and assistance of Jonathan Kent to whom I owe a great debt of
appreciation. Thanks are also extended to Cheryl Fairchild for her assistance in the
collection of data. I would also like to extend my gratitude to Linda Curran and
Gordon McEwan for their hard work on my review committee. Finally, many thanks
to Tammy Stone who not only chaired my committee, but also helped keep me on
track and focused on the project. Their comments have made this presentation more
effective. Any remaining faults are the authors responsibility.
This thesis for the Master of Arts
Meichell A. Walsh
has been approved
j 1 Date
Walsh, Meichell A. (M.A. Anthropology)
Social Stratification Among 46 Mummy Bundles from the San Francisco Cemetery,
PV-75-26, Yauca Valley, Peru
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Tammy Stone
In 1987, a prehistoric cemetery on the San Francisco Hacienda, San Francisco
Cemetery (PV-75-26), in the Yauca Valley, was brought to the attention of Professor
Augusto Belan. Massive looting in the area had revealed a large cemetery site with
important archaeological potential. Salvage excavations were conducted in late 1987
and early 1988 to recover information about these people before it was lost to looters.
The San Francisco Cemetery dates to the Late Horizon (AD 1476 AD 1532). This
was the first formal excavation to be conducted in the Yauca Valley.
Approximately 120 mummy bundles were recovered during the excavations.
This study examined 46 of these bundles. The majority of the bundles recovered were
in very good physical condition with the exterior of the bundles intact and the position
of the body maintained. The bundles were left intact and were not unwrapped for this
This study examined the exterior of each bundle and recorded information on
the mortuary textiles used to wrap the body, slings, coca bags, camelid hides used for
both coca bags and to wrap bundles, loin clothes, tupu pins and pendants, and other
miscellaneous goods included with each bundle. This information was used to elicit
information regarding the social structure of the individuals interred in the cemetery.
A statistical analysis of these fifteen variables was conducted to determine if difference
seen in the bundles was attributable to status differentiation within the group. The
statistical analysis included the use of cluster analysis, factor analysis, and one-way
analysis of variance tests.
The statistical analysis indicates that the differences between the bundles are
due to sex differentiation, as well as some other complex ascribed status differences.
Although these differences are not well understood at this time, this was an inductive
first step in understanding the peoples who lived in the Yauca Valley during the Late
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES ............................................ 1
The Yauca Valley...........................................3
The Inca and the Arrival of the Spanish ..................6
The Historical Record and Uncovering the Past...... 10
Inca History and the Spanish Conquest ....... 10
Distortion of the Archaeological
Record Due to Looting........................ 13
19th Century Naturalists........................... 15
Early Scholars of Peruvian Prehistory.............. 16
Max Uhle .................................... 16
Julio C. Tello............................... 18
Luis E. Valcarcel............................ 19
Chronology of Peruvian Prehistory...................20
The Role of Textiles in Peruvian Prehistory ..............22
SOUTH COAST CULTURE HISTORY.....................................34
History of Archaeological Investigation
on the South Coast..................................36
Chronology of the South Coast.............................38
Preceramic (714,000 to 2100 BC).....................38
Initial Period (2100 BC to 1400 BC).................39
Early Horizon (1400 BC to 400 BC)...................40
The Paracas Culture (400/500 BC to 200 BC).......41
Early Intermediate Period (400 BC AD 500)............. 41
Middle Horizon (AD 550 to AD 900)....................... 43
Late Intermediate Period (AD 900 - AD 1450)............ 46
Late Horizon (AD 1450 - AD 1532)...................... 47
Inca Influence over Local Authority on the
Yauca Culture Area .............................................50
Anthropological Theory and Death......................60
Nineteenth Century Anthropology and Archaeology 60
Twentieth Century Anthropology ................62
The French Influence.....................62
The British Social Anthropologists.......63
Archaeology and Mortuary Analysis...........................66
Processual Archaeology ...............................67
Current Mortuary Analysis in Peru ....................76
MORTUARY ANALYSIS OF MUMMY BUNDLES.................................79
San Francisco Cemetery......................................79
Mummy Bundles Recovered from San Francisco............84
Statistical Analysis .......................................90
Factor Analysis 1 ....................................93
Factor Analysis 2 .................................. 102
Cluster 2........................................... 105
Contingency Table .................................. 114
One-Way Analysis of Variance........................ 115
The Herding Factor.................... 116
The Female-Gender Factor ............. 117
The Male-Gender Factor................ 118
Complex Weaving 1 Factor.............. 118
Complex Weaving 2 Factor.............. 119
One-way Analysis of Variance Results.. 120
Discussion ...................................... 121
Status Differences.......................... 121
Llamas Llamas Everywhere.................... 125
Conclusions ..................................... 128
FUTURE RESEARCH IN THE YAUCA VALLEY
MUMMY BUNDLE DESCRIPTIONS.............................. 134
TEXTILE DESCRIPTIONS .................................. 148
SPSS SPREADSHEET....................................... 165
1.1 Yauca Valley with San Francisco Cemetery..................................2
2.1 Map of Tawantinsuyu at the time of the Spanish Conquest.................7
3.1 Map of the South Coast culture area .....................................35
3.2 Map of the Yauca Valley and the Acari Valley............................52
5.1 Map of the Yauca Valley and the Acari Valley............................80
5.2 Reconstruction of site and excavation units by Augusto Belan ............81
5.3 Mummy bundle C3MomiaK, full side view......................85
5.4 Mummy bundle C61, full front view........................................85
5.5 Full view of back of bundle C5H with coca bags
camelid pelts and sling................................................86
5.6 Distribution of Goods ...................................................93
5.7 Dendrogram for cluster analysis 1 .......................................95
5.8 Cluster 1.1 distribution of variables ...................................96
5.9 Cluster 1.2 distribution of variables ...................................98
5.10 Cluster 1.3 distribution of variables ...................................99
5.11 Cluster 1.4 distribution of variables ................................. 100
5.12 Cluster analysis 1 distribution of variables between clusters .............. 102
5.13 Dendrogram for cluster analysis 1 ........................................... 106
5.14 Cluster 2.1 distribution of variables ....................................... 107
5.15 Cluster 2.2 distribution of variables ....................................... 108
5.16 Cluster 2.3 distribution of variables ....................................... 110
5.17 Cluster 2.4 distribution of variables ....................................... 110
5.18 Cluster 2.5 distribution of variables ....................................... 112
5.19 Cluster 2.6 distibution of variables........................................ 113
5.20 Cluster analysis 2 distribution of variables between clusters .............. 114
2.1 Peruvian South Coast Chronology and Phase designation..................22
5.1 Cluster membership and age.............................................92
5.2 Factor loadings and eigen values ......................................94
5.3 Cluster 1 membership...................................................96
5.4 Factor loadings and eigen values .................................... 103
5.5 Correlation matrix for coca bags, stripes and dyes .................. 104
5.6 Cluster membership 2................................................. 107
5.7 Contingency table of cluster breakdowns.............................. 115
5.8 One-way Analysis of Variance scores by factor ...................... 116
5.9 LSD Means by factor and cluster...................................... 117
AND STUDY AREA
In 1987, a prehistoric cemetery site in the Yauca Valley was brought to the
attention of Professor Augusto Belan, a Peruvian archaeologist, working on the south
coast of Peru (Figure 1.1). Massive looting in the area had revealed a large cemetery
site of potential archaeological importance. Excavations were conducted in late 1987
and early 1988 to recover information about these people before it was lost to looters.
The excavations recovered approximately 120 mummy bundles including infants,
juveniles, and adults. This is the first and only archaeological excavation to date that
has been conducted in the Yauca Valley.
All of the bundles recovered during excavation were not available for analysis.
Out of the approximately 120 bundles, 65 were stored in a temporary deposito to
which I had access (due to problems with storage the location of the other bundles is
not known at this time). Due to limitations on the 1994 field season (i.e., power
outage due to an earthquake) a sample of 46 mummy bundles were chosen for
analysis. Priority was given to adults from the 1987 excavations for which the most
information was available, followed by infants and juveniles from that field season.
Bundles were also analyzed from the 1988 field season to insure that both sessions
were represented in the sample.
This study examines these 46 mummy bundles in an attempt to gain
information about the social organization of these people. The focus of this study will
be on individual status and how each individual was related to the larger group. This
is a base line study, intended to be the foundation for future investigations and a more
comprehensive interpretation of the social structure of the prehistoric peoples who
lived in the Yauca Valley.
The Yauca Valley
The Yauca Valley is the southern most coastal valley included in the South
Coast culture area of Peru. The south coast of Peru is part of the dry, fogbound,
windswept desert which begins with the Chincha and Pisco Valleys along with the
Paracas Pennisula in the north and extending down through the lea, Nasca and Acari
Valleys to the Yauca Valley in the south (Kowta 1987). Rainfall along this part of the
coast is minimal and agriculture is possible only in areas where irrigation is possible.
The lack of rainfall along the coast is the result of a combination of geographic
and climatic factors. As the southeast winds blow over the Pacific, the cold Humboldt
Current keeps the ocean air cool and evaporation relatively low. As the air moves
over land and begins to move up into the Andes, the air is warmed, allowing the air to
carry more moisture resulting in little to no rainfall on the coastal edge (Kowta 1987).
This warm, moist air creates a winter fog along the coast, called la garua by
the locals. It occurs during the months of June to October, and corresponds with the
dry season in the highlands (Kowta 1987). Along the coast this season is marked by
growth of aerophytic plants forms (such as Tillandsia sp.) which make up the grasses
and low lying shrubs that comprise what is known as the lomas vegetation (Kowta
1987). These plants are able to sustain themselves on the moisture gathered from the
dense winter fogs, providing seeds and roots edible to humans (Kowta 1987). The
months of December to March are the rainy season for the highlands and the coast
sees sunny conditions with rivers running at their height. These harsh conditions make
the coast of Peru one of the worlds most desolate deserts.
The very same conditions that create the desert along the Peruvian coast also
makes the seashore and waters off the coast one of the richest in the New World
(Kowta 1987). The cold waters of the Humboldt Current well to the surface, due to
the strong prevailing southeast winds, and bring with it a rich supply of phosphates,
nitrates, and other chemical nutrients (Kowta 1987). As these rich waters reach the
surface, sunlight promotes the growth of an abundance of plankton, in turn attracting
numerous other organisms and various types of fish. These fish in turn attract a
number of marine mammals, such as sea otters and sea lions, and a host of shore birds,
including pelicans and cormorants (Kowta 1987). This vast array of wildlife provided
prehistoric peoples a wide variety of resources to exploit, as well as various
opportunities to overcome the constraints of coastal living, resulting in a succession of
human lifeways (Kowta 1987).
This is the geographical setting for the cemetery site of San Francisco in the
Yauca Valley (PV-75). This site is dated to around A.D. 1500, based on ceramics
found in several of the tombs. It is located approximately 16 kilometers inland from
the shore in the lower valley. Since this is the only site in the valley that has been
excavated little is known about the prehistoric inhabitants which are interred in this
cemetery. Therefore, this study will provide a base line for investigating the thirty
sites which have been identified in the valley from surface indications.
More than one hundred years of research has been conducted and volumes
written in an attempt to understand and uncover the history of the Inca and their
ancestors. The first section of this chapter will examine the history of archaeological
research in Peru and the Inca at the time of the Spanish invasion. This is followed by a
brief overview of the role of textiles in Peruvian prehistory. Due to the excellent
preservation at San Francisco, the bundles recovered have many, well preserved,
textiles. These textiles provide invaluable information about the individuals wrapped
within the bundles.
The Inca and the Arrival of the Spanish
When one thinks of Peruvian prehistory, the Inca immediately comes to mind.
Tahauntinsuyu, Land of the Four Quarters, was the home of the largest New World
empire ruled by the Inca. The empire extended over some 5,500 km along the Andes
exercising rule over what is today northern Chile, upland Argentina, Bolivia, Peru,
Ecuador and southern Columbia (Figure 2.1) (Brundage 1963; Metreaux 1969, Rowe
Figure 2.1. Map of Tawantinsuyu at the time of the Spanish Conquest, (from
1946, Zuidema 1990). The Inca were a small ethnic group who ruled an estimated six
million people at the height of their power (Rowe 1946:185). The rugged Andes were
home to a myriad of large and small populations with distinct ethnic identities. Many
of these groups continually battled with one another making conquest in many areas a
minor accomplishment for the Inca when compared with the overwhelming task of
consolidating new territories into the empire (Brundage 1963; Metreaux 1969; Rowe
1946; Zuidema 1990).
Consolidation of the empire proved to be the major challenge. One problem
with consolidating such a large and diverse population was the language barrier. The
Inca therefore instituted a lingua franca, Quechua, for use in government and
intercommunication throughout the empire (Rowe 1946:185). Other integrative
policies include the resettling of loyal polities into hostile ones or vice versa (Murra
1986, Rowe 1946). These peoples became known as mitmaqs. Another form of
mitmaq was the educating of conquered rulers offspring in Cuzco (Rowe 1946).
Children would be taken from their homes to Cuzco to be educated in Inca ways and
language of the Inca and then returned home to govern. Murra writes,
When undertaking the expansion, the kings of Tawantinsuyu, the Inka
state, were heirs to an experience of statecraft going back centuries, if
not millennia. Wari, Chimu, Tiwanaku all were pre-Inka states, and
archaeology gives us no reason to assume that even these were the
earliest complex, stratified societies of the region. How to incorporate
and then govern disparate linguistic and ethnic groups was part of the
political repertoire of thousands of local Andean lords well before A.D.
The Inca simply institutionalized mitmaq, mit 'a labor (a form of labor taxation) and
other well established methods of consolidation that allowed for the building of an
extraordinary empire in a short 90 years (Murra 1986).
How then, in 1532, did a small contingent of 168 men and Francisco Pizzaro
defeat the Inca (Lockhart 1972)? The Spanish conquest of the New World began in
the Caribbean, moving through Mesoamerica and then into Central America before
landing in South America. Nevertheless, the repercussions were felt throughout the
two continents even before the Spaniards set foot on the shores of South America.
Across South America natives, including Wayna Capac (emperor), his heir
apparent, and many Inca elites, were struck down by an unknown pestilence, believed
to have been small pox (Hemming 1970; Rowe 1946). Shortly after the death of
Wayna Capac a civil war broke out between the claimant son Huascar and Atahualpa,
another of the emperors sons. The bloody civil war raged on for more than five years
(Hemming 1970; Rowe 1946; Zuidema 1990).
The news of Atahualpas armies successfully capturing Huascar reach
Atahualpa at Cajamarca at the same time Pizzaro did (Hemming 1970; Lockhart 1972;
Rowe 1946; Zuidema 1990). Pizzaro invited Atahualpa to come meet with him.
Hemming (1970) explains, Atahualpa accepted the invitation to meet with Pizzaro in
Cajamarca. There the emperor was taken hostage when the Spaniards launched a
surprise attack that killed thousands of unarmed natives. Atahualpa offered the
Spanish a great ransom for his freedom. Atahualpa had noticed their great appetite for
gold and silver and offered the Spaniards a room full of gold. Atahualpa was executed
due to the Spaniards fear of Atahualpa and the possibility of retaliation. Although
violent opposition and fierce battles did ensue, the Spanish appetite for gold and silver,
along with aid from polities seeking their freedom from Tawantinsuyu, quickly brought
and end to the Inca empire. Rowe writes, If Pizzaro had arrived a year later, he
would have found Atahuallpa in full possession of all of Huayna Capacs power,
Huascars cause forgotten, and a political situation much less favorable to outside
interference than he found in 1532" (1946:209). Unfortunately for the Inca, the
Spanish arrived at a time of great upheaval and uncertainty that led to the demise of an
The Historical Record and Uncovering the Past
Inca History and the Spanish Conquest. The Inca used a quipu, a recording
method using cords and strings which was used as a mnemonic device, to maintain
records about everything from census data and taxation to recording imperial history
(Hemming 1970, Rowe 1946, Zuidema 1990). The fall of the empire quickly led to
the end of the record keeping system and the inability to read the quipu. Along with
the demise of the quipu came the loss of the official records and the memorized
accounts of history by trained Inca historians (Rowe 1946; Zuidema 1990).
During the Spanish conquest little information was recorded (Rowe 1946).
Many leaders were occupied with plundering the empire of its wealth and most of the
men on the expedition, including Francisco Pizzaro, were illiterate (Rowe 1946;
Zuidema 1990). Therefore, few accounts from those active in the conquest exist, with
few, if any recording the indigenous peoples perspective.
Most accounts of the conquest were not recorded until well after its
occurrence. Rowe writes, It should be borne in mind that for the pre-Spanish period,
we have no first-hand account, except the eyewitnesses description of some aspect of
Inca ceremonial left by a few of the Spanish soldiers who accompanied Pizarro. For
other aspects of the culture, the Spanish sources are translations and modifications of
the testimony of Indian witnesses whose veracity it is very difficult to judge at this
distance (1946:193). Rowe adds that 16th- and 17th century writers often copied
accounts from one another without reference to the original source leading to many
works termed sources or documents actually being only third- or fourth-hand
reiterations that the reader must weigh carefully and use with discrimination
Rowe notes that the best and most complete description of Inca culture was
written by Jesuit Father Bemabe Cobo, the Historia del Nuevo Mundo, written
about 1653 and published in 1890-95 in four volumes (1946:194). Pedro Cieza de
Leon was one of the first chroniclers sympathetic to the natives (von Hagen 1959).
Cieza de Leon was a soldier who traveled extensively throughout the Andes (Rowe
1946; von Hagen 1959). Von Hagen writes, He [Ciezajwas the first to make a
methodical study of the Inca realm and to distinguish between the tribes within it,
pointing out distinct forms of customs, manners, and dress. He was the first to
describe the ruins of Tiahuanacu, outlining them as they are in fact, the work of
another people, long anterior to the Incas. He also discerned that the ruins of Huari,
near Ayacucho, were not Inca, but bore a resemblance to those of Tiahuanacu; the
quipu, that ingenious Andean mnemonic device, was first explained by him
(1959:xxvii). Rowe (1946:195) notes that Ciezas accounts are very reliable,
something that cannot be said of all chroniclers accounts.
In Inca Culture at the Time of the Spanish Conquest, Rowe(1946) examines
the works of most chroniclers and historians, such as Cobo and Cieza de Leon, for
reliability and useful information. However, Zuidema (1990) points out that the
chronicles are filled with Spanish interpretations and misleading information regarding
what the Spanish encountered and eyewitness accounts by both the indigenous peoples
and the Spanish. Therefore, we must remember that as with any historical records,
these accounts must be viewed as a mixture of both fact and fiction, the ideal with the
Distortion of the Archaeological Record Due to Looting. The accounts
recorded by the early chroniclers are not the only biases which the conquest has
introduced to our interpretation of Peruvian prehistory. The archeological record has
also been prejudiced by the Spanish looting operations in search of precious metals.
Moseley notes, Within a generalization of the conquest, looting operations grew so
large and financially rewarding that they became legally synonymous with mining
(1992:16). The large monuments and huge cemeteries were divided into claim areas
where individuals could purchase claims to mine the wealth. Title holders were
allowed to mine the wealthy tombs of past lords and nobles that contained enormous
stores of gold and silver (Moseley 1992). A royal smelter was established by the
Crown to assure that its fair share was collected.
This tradition of looting ancient sites is a direct antecedent to the commercial
exploitation of antiquities as a large-scale business (Moseley 1992). The Andean
Cordillera has probably been one of the most intensively looted ancient centers of
civilization in the world. Professional looters, called huaqueros, looking for high
quality goods for the antiquities market has led to large scale destruction of numerous
sites. Grave robbing is not limited to huaqueros, however. Looking for ancient relics
is a national pastime tied to the religious calendar and reverently pursued by multitudes
on the Christian holiday of All Saints Eve, locally called Semana Santa. This is
believed to be a good time to discover ancient tombs, children and adults alike dig for
treasures and trinkets (Moseley 1992). Many large collections around the world, both
private and public, have been assembled without contextual data beyond the
knowledge that most are from grave lots. These large collections were the basis for
the beginnings of archaeological study in Peru. Therefore, Peruvian archaeology
began as mostly art-historical analysis and interpretation (Moseley 1992).
Notwithstanding, there were enlightened individuals associated with the
Spanish that attempted to record and preserve archaeological sites and artifacts by
describing, illustrating, collecting and safeguarding them (Moseley 1992). In the 16th
century, Cieza de Leon pioneered this enlightened view. In the 18th century, Martinez
de Companion, Bishop of Trujillo in the Moche Valley, mapped the ancient
monuments including the massive site of Chan Chan and the Huaca del Sol, probably
the largest mud brick mound pyramid ever erected on the continent (Moseley 1992).
Unfortunately, the mapping was executed after the Rio Moche was diverted to
undercut the pyramid causing two-thirds of the monument to be washed away in an
attempt to uncover silver and gold riches (Moseley 1992).
19th Century Naturalists and
Their Contribution to Archaeology
At the beginning of the 19th century Alexander von Humboldt became the first
to draw international attention to Andean antiquities and those of Latin America in
general (Moseley 1992). While traveling extensively through the Spanish colonies,
von Humboldt took notes on ancient monuments, buildings, and works such as the
Inca highway system and in 1814 published Vues de Cordilleres et Monuments des
Peuples Indigenes de lAmerique. This was the first attempt at a systematic overview
of the monuments of the New World civilizations. Von Humboldts treatise had a
lasting impact on later investigations and established recording and commenting upon
ruins and monuments as a legitimate field of scholarly endeavor (Moseley 1992).
In the 1860s E. G. Squier spent over a year traveling, mapping,
photographing, and recording prehistoric sites and cities in the Central Andes (Squier
1877). In the Titicaca Basin Squier encountered a number of different types of
chullpas, masonry burial towers, which he realized could be grouped into a number of
different types. Squier proposed that these different types probably had been built at
different times. The seriation of the chullpas was innovative for his time. However,
chronology was not a significant theme in Peru: Incidents of Travel and Exploration in
the Land of the Incas (Squier 1877). This work was a travel narrative that included
excellent archaeological maps and descriptions.
Early Scholars of Peruvian Prehistory
Shortly after Squiers visit to the Andes, Alphons Stiibel, one of the first
archaeologists to excavate in the Central Andes, visited the highland site of Tiwanaku
(also spelled Tiahuanaco) (Reiss and Stiibel 1880-87). Stiibel made extensive
recordings of the sprawling site. Upon returning to Germany, Stiibel began to analyze
the materials from Tiwanaku with a young museum worker, Max Uhle. Stiibel and
Uhle (1892) published their work on Tiwanaku, Die Ruinenstatten von Tiahuanaco. in
which they defined the art style of Tiwanaku.
Max Uhle. The work with Stiibel fired Uhles imagination. He wanted to
investigate further and begin excavations at Tiwanaku (Moseley 1992). Uhle visited
the site several years later, but was unable to obtain the required permits. Uhle
(1903a) was however able to acquire permission to work on the great oracle center of
Pachacamac, carrying out explorations in 1896-7.
This was the beginning of one of the most important careers in Peruvian
archaeology. Lumbreras (1974) credits Uhle with introducing scientific methodology,
particularly the systematic registration of archaeological remains and the interpretation
of data on the basis of relative stratigraphic position. Dorothy Menzel, in The
Archaeology of Ancient Peru and the Work of Max Uhle. credits Uhle with being the
first person who made it possible to enlarge our understanding of the nature and
operations of the Inca Empire, and to begin to trace history of the peoples of
Tawantinsuyu back in time (1977:1).
Uhles pioneering use of stratigraphy in Peru deepened the chronology of
Peruvian prehistory and added depth to our understanding of the Inca themselves.
Uhles understanding of the value of stratigraphy led to many important archaeological
finds along the coast. During his extensive excavation of graves at Pachacamac, Uhle
noted that both Inca and Coast Tiwanaku artifacts were present at the site where the
Inca remains were stratigraphically higher than the Coast Tiwanaku remains with a
layer of a local style pottery sandwiched between (Uhle 1903b). Uhle also noted that
below the Coast Tiwanaku layer where more burials related to a second local pottery
style. Uhle (1903b) understood the importance of this evidence for time-depth in the
Andes and thereby demonstrated that civilization had developed and flourished long
before the Inca.
Uhle continued to excavate along the coast. Supported by the University of
California, Uhle (19131924a, 1924b, 1924c) began excavations in the lea and Nazca
Valleys on the south coast and the Moche Valley in the north. All along the coast
Uhle encountered archaeological remains that followed a similar stratigraphic
succession as the one he found at Pachacamac with the Inca first, then a local style,
followed by a Tiwanaku-like style and then another local style.
The grave goods collected by Uhle went to the University of California
Berkeley. The materials were studied by A. L. Kroeber and his disciples William D.
Strong and Anna Gayton who employed a typological method based on the detailed
classification of pottery form and decoration to the collections (Lumbreras 1974:9).
This was done in an effort to construct a chronological sequence. During the 1920's
and 30's Kroeber and his students published reports that supported Uhles conclusions
(Kroeber 1925, 1930, Kroeber and Strong 1924; Rowe 1962). Kroeber eventually
established widespread horizons alternating with local traditions of intermediate
development as the conceptual framework for interpreting central Andean prehistory
(Kroeber 1925; Kroeber and Strong 1924; Rowe 1962).
In the 1950's, John Howland Rowe and his students reanalyzed Uhles
collections (Rowe 1960). Rowe refined the basic notion, set down by Uhle and
supported by Kroeber, that the evolution of Andean civilization was marked by
periods of unity interspersed with periods of intermediate development (this
chronology is discussed later in this chapter) (Rowe 1945, 1960, 1962). Uhles work
at the turn of the century produced the prestigious Berkeley school of Andean
Julio C. Tello. The work by Uhle was soon followed by a native Indian, Julio
C. Tello, who was educated at Harvard and from there went on to an international
career in Peruvian archaeology which included directing the national archaeological
museum in Lima (Moseley 1992). Tello excavated some of the most exciting sites
along the Peruvian coast including the seaside necropolis of Paracas and the enormous
mound site of Sechin Alto (Moseley 1992). Tello felt that his highland Indian
background provided him with a better understanding of the archaeological record and
he left the coast to investigate the highlands, descending to the coast only to
investigate potential highland connections (Lumbreras 1974). Tello worked toward
elucidating the early aspects of civilization that had eluded Uhle (Moseley 1992). On
the eastern flanks of the Cordillera, Tello discovered the complex site of Chavin de
Huantar, described by Tello as the mother culture (Tello 1943, 1956, 1960).
Luis E. Valcarcel. Luis E. Valcarcel followed after Tello in working towards
providing archaeology with a native Andean interpretation of the archaeological
evidence. The understanding by Valcarcel that modem Indian life reflected many of
the values of prehistoric Andean cultures had a profound effect upon Andean
archaeology. Valcarcel worked for years promoting his vision of ethnography,
ethnohistory, and archaeology working together to make the wholeness of the Andean
past and present intelligible (Moseley 1992). Moseley writes: This underscored
continuing traditions of community organization, reciprocity, labor exchange and
subsistence strategies. They represent the filaments of life that make ancient Andean
civilization intelligible in terms of people and not simply potsherds (1992:20).
The work of Valcarcel, Tello and Uhle have all had a profound impact on our
interpretation of the archaeological record. Our concepts of horizons and intermediate
periods have been revised and updated but still maintain the basic format laid out by
Uhles early work along the Peruvian coast. Tellos works in the highlands and his
discovery of Chavin de Huantar have led others to look for the origins of civilization
within the confines of South America, not in Mesoamerica as proposed by Uhle.
Finally, Valcarcels work at combining history, ethnography, and archaeology has lead
to a richer, fuller understanding of ancient Andean life. The foundations laid out by
these three men have been built upon by numerous scholars and students of Andean
Chronology of Peruvian Prehistory
Several chronologies have been proposed for the Central Andes. Two
chronologies are most commonly discussed, the first by Lumbreras and the second by
Rowe, both dependent on Uhles work and Kroebers original chronology. Both
chronologies use the horizon concept, which identifies periods of interregional
interactions that are marked by widespread movement of people and ideas (Lumbreras
1974; Rowe 1962). The horizons are separated by intermediate periods which mark
periods of constriction into closer intra-regional interactions.
Lumbreras laid out a framework to summarize the chronology and
characteristics of various culture areas as they were known regionally, following a
temporal order (Lumbreras 1974). Lumbreras combined several period designations
used by most Peruvianists including major horizons followed by intermediate periods.
One of the major problems associated with Lumbreras chronology is the heavy
reliance on regional variation for chronological terminology. This approach was not
conducive to a broader understanding of interregional interactions.
Rowes chronology is probably the most widely used and is the one chosen by
the author for this study. Rowe emphasizes the chronological aspect, where periods
are defined as sequences of contemporaneity (Rowe 1962). These periods of
contemporaneity to do not have to have culture similarities, but are simply
contemporaneous with one another (Rowe 1962). Rowes use of periods and
horizons simply indicates contemporaneity and not necessarily cultural similarity.
Although Rowe recognized that broad cultural similarities do occur, he was
also aware that they did not have to be chronologically simultaneous. Rowe
recognized the need to develop a master sequence which would allow for time
differences in the spread of cultural similarities, as found in the three horizons, across
vast regional areas (Rowe 1962). Therefore, Rowe chose the lea sequence as the
master sequence since this region provided the best chronological evidence at the time
(Rowe 1962). This sequence provided the periods and horizon time scale for which
various regions have developed chronologies relative to their own area. Rowes
periods and horizons are shown in Table 2.1 (Rowe 1965).
Figure 2.1. Rowes relative chronology, based on the lea Master
Sequence (adapted from Rowe 1965:25).________________________
Time Period Time Range
Late Horizon A.D. 1476-A.D. 1532
Late Intermediate Period A.D. 900 A.D. 1476
Middle Horizon A.D. 540 A.D. 900
Early Intermediate Period 300B.C. A.D. 540
Early Horizon 1200 B.C. 300 B.C.
Initial Period 1930 B.C. 1200 B.C.
The Role of Textiles in Peruvian Prehistory
In 1946 Junius Bird made an important discovery at the site of Huaca Prieta in
the Chicama Valley. Bird had found thousands of textile fragments in his excavations
of the large midden areas at the site. These rags seemed simply to be trash that could
not provide any useful additional information about their creators. Bird, however,
began to investigate the textiles structures and he became the first to understand their
importance to a more complete understanding of the archaeological record. Bird
believed that within the structure of the textiles was a great deal of information about
the culture history of the maritime peoples (around 2300 B.C.) who produced the
textiles (Conklin 1979). Bird felt that textiles:
.give a surprising range of information about the people who made
them, probably more than can be derived from any other of the
commonly associated artifacts. From the fibers alone a fairly valid
conclusion can be reached as to whether wild or domesticated plants
and animals were the source. From the dyes or lack of dyes and
mordants can be gauged the degree of applied chemistry of the culture.
From such a simple thing as the direction of twist in spinning one may
deduce broad regional relationships. From certain features of
construction it is possible to show where mathematical calculations are
involved. By judging the execution of such features one can even
hazard an estimate of the personality of the weavers. The quality of the
spinning and weaving furnishes a gauge of technological achievement,
and where designs or patterns are used the possible deductions
increase. (Bird 1951:51-2).
With the auspicious beginnings of textile research at Huaca Prieta, a new field of study
was opened on the coast of Peru where thousands of textiles were well preserved due
to the extreme desert conditions.
Anna Gayton (1967) wrote an article, The Cultural Significance of Peruvian
Textiles: Production, Function, Aesthetics, in which she looked at not only the
production of textiles, but also at the social function of cloth, including the aesthetics
of motifs and weave types. Gayton looked at the full range of textiles and the
importance of the craft within society. She noted that everyone admired the finest of
Peruvian textiles for their quality and beauty. However, this was just a small portion
of the textiles produced in the Andes. Gayton writes: A large portion of textiles,
while not lacking in simple touches of embellishment, were made primarily for rugged
uses. Coarse, burlap-like cloths were the usual outer wrappings of mummy bundles;
similar cloths must have been employed in many ways as containers for carrying in
the harvests, baling goods for markets local or distant, as household utility cloths, and
as garments by the poor. From north to south and east to west in the Andean area
through twenty centuries, many thousands of sturdy, homely fabrics were produced as
a normal necessity in the ordinary business of living (1967:276).
Gayton looked at the production of textiles and the time requirements for
producing goods to discern their position within the economy of the culture. Gayton
proposed a simple scenario to suggest how much time and energy the spinning of yam
alone must have taken for communities to produce just basic utilitarian goods. Gayton
It is one yard square, woven in tabby or plain weave square count
with 10 warps and 10 wefts per square inch. This means that within its
dimensions there are 360 yards of warp crossed by 360 yards of weft,
total yam content 720 yards. For various purposes such a family might
have five similar utility cloths in use, representing 3,600 yards of yam.
A hamlet of twenty hearths, as a reasonably small, humble community,
then would have 72,000 yards or roughly 41 miles of the crudest sort
of yam employed in its low grade utility cloths alone. One could
multiply this community many times over in the coast and highland at
any moment in time from the time of Christ onward. And, of course, in
addition, the fiber requirements for medium and fine quality domestic
cloths, garments, accessories, and grave offerings of all classes of
persons must be conjured up as the normal, maximal requirement of
fiber-in-use all at the same time (1967:277).
Gayton (1967) believed that this enormous time requirement at different steps in the
weaving process may suggest specialists at different steps along the line of production,
including cotton and wool production, spinning, dying and finally weaving. This
suggests that textiles became an important integrative mechanism throughout Peru,
probably at a very early time, as is suggested by the needed trade networks for moving
cotton into the highlands and wool to the coast.
The importance of textiles was not simply one of economics. Gayton (1967)
points out that the social aspect of clothing is very important, not only as status
symbol but also as a social integrator. Although clothing was an aggregate of
basically conforming costumes, varying only in minor details, it also served to show
social rank and prestige and was valued for social meaning and for personal elegance
(Gayton 1967:283). Gayton writes: Distinctions of sex, age level, and marital
condition are often shown by major or minor differences in dimensions, materials,
colors, or motifs. Whether or not these diversities are governed by regulations or
merely by custom, the apparel as a totality of the tangible ingredients is also an
expression of intangible aspects of the society in which it is worn (1967:283).
In a seminal paper, by John Murra (1962) entitled Cloth and Its Function in
the Inca State, the importance of textiles in Peruvian culture was brought to the
forefront. He uses ethnohistoric accounts in discussing the importance of cloth in the
Inca state. The importance of textiles has been extended back through time to as early
as the preceramic, and many interpretations of textiles and their uses have come from
these ethnohistoric accounts in this article. Thus, this work made an important
contribution to our understanding of the archaeological record well before the Inca.
John Murras discussion concentrates on highland wool textiles. Most
research at the time was centered on the well preserved coastal cotton textiles. Bird
had stated, Peruvian textile craft is based on the use of cotton and not on wool or any
other fiber (Bennett and Bird 1949:258). Murra, however, apparently considered
that archaeological evidence was skewed toward the coast, where textiles are well
preserved, since ethnohistoric accounts devote little discussion to the coast or cotton.
Murra writes, In the mountains, archeology tells us little, since textiles do not keep
well in Andean conditions; this fact sometimes leads to neglect of the cultural
significance and technical quality of highland fabrics, so evident from the chronicles
(1962:710). A balance between both ethnohistoric accounts and archaeological
evidence must be met to understand the role of textiles throughout the Andes fully.
Murra gives an excellent account from the highlands, based on ethnohistoric
Cobo recorded a dual classification of textile types 1) awasqa was domestic
cloth which was rough, thick and nondescript in color and 2) kumpi, a finer cloth rich
in color and decoration, often embellished with feathers and shell beads (1956).
Clothing construction was basically the same for all types of outfits, coming off the
loom basically finished (Murra 1962). Cieza de Leon reports that status differences
were not found in the tailoring of the apparel, but from the cloth and ornamentation
used (1943). Murra points out that this is evident archaeologically in the quality of
the textiles of grave inclusions (1962). Murra writes, some graves display new
garments that must have required considerable expenditure of time and effort, while
others were buried in worn ordinary clothes (1962: 711).
In the highlands, households attained fiber through claims to community fibers
(Murra 1962). This wool would come from community herds and was distributed to
each household based on their needs. Murra notes that this may be the case for cotton
distribution on the coast as well, but ethnographic and ethnohistoric evidence is
lacking (1962). In communities without camelid herds, households were forced to
trade for needed fiber (Murra 1962).
Clothing in the Andes did not simply serve the functional duty of keeping the
individual warm, nor the important psychological and ornamental purpose clothing
serves in most cultures. Murra points out that cloth emerges as the main
ceremonial good and, on the personal level, the preferred gift, highlighting all crisis
points in the life cycle and providing otherwise unavailable insights to the reciprocal
relations of kinfolk (1962: 712). Cloth was considered an appropriate gift at such
events as naming ceremonies, initiation at puberty, and marriage (Murra 1962).
Death becomes the best documented event in archaeology, the chronicles, and
the ethnography of life events. This is true not only of the Inca, but is a pan-Andean
phenomena dating back thousands of years (Murra 1962). Archaeologically this is
demonstrated as sites such as Paracas where a single mummy bundle shroud was
measured as 300 square yards, which demanded an estimated two irrigated acres of
cotton and countless hours of spinning and weaving (Yacovleflf and Muelle 1932).
The chronicles attest to the vandalism of sacred mummy bundles in the 17th century
when idol burners destroyed 600 mummy bundles along with their clothes and blankets
(Arriaga  1920). Finally, ethnographic evidence further supports the role of
clothing in the ceremony for the dead (Nunez del Prado 1952). After the death of an
individual, the friends of the deceased take all of the individuals clothing down to the
river to wash it. This keeps the deceased from complaining about an unwashed
The Inca did not just view cloth as important as a social status marker. The
Inca used cloth, along with llamas, as main sacrificial offerings (Murra 1962).
Communal fibers were made into fine textiles offered for sacrifice. Murra notes that
sacrifices may have also been made at the household level but there is no evidence to
support this claim (1962).
The Inca used cloth as a compulsory tribute to the state (Murra 1962). The
state issued fiber to households to be made into a specific number of goods for the
state. This labor was part of the mit 'a taxation system. The Inca stored these textiles
in large storehouses throughout the empire. These were used by the military to
resupply forces as needed during campaigns (Murra 1962). Textiles also served as a
form of payment for soldiers. The important role of cloth is further demonstrated by
Spanish chroniclers reports that during the Inca resistance, storehouses filled with
cloth were burned to the ground to keep the goods from falling into enemy hands
Clothing was also an important status marker throughout the Andes, as
exemplified by the Inca. Murra states that the king had fabrics that he alone was
allowed to wear, many richly decorated with embroidered gold and silver, ornamented
with feathers, and even such rare items as goods made from bat hair (Murra 1962).
Although Bird notes that the weaving of bat hair was an exaggeration, it does point to
the fineness of the goods to which the king had sole access (Bird 1979).
The members of the royal court and the state church also shared in the status
consumption of textiles (Murra 1962). These included cloth woven specially for
puberty rites that was rich in color and ornamentation (Murra 1962). Royal marriages
were another ceremony that shared in the symbolic use of textiles. The king would
bless the royal couple through gifts of clothing, food and llamas. Murra uses a
description of a kings marriage provided by Morua  (1946). Murra writes,
The Inca took a rich cloth and a tupu-pin to his bride and told her that
in the same way as she would be mistress of that cloth, so she would
be lord over all things, just as he did. On presenting the bride with the
fabric, he asked her to put it on and in return she offered him a garment
woven by her own hands. After the wedding they went to the royal
quarters, through streets paved with colored and feathered cloth.
Among the grants made on this occasion by the king to his court were
fabrics of all kinds according to status, also llamas and wool, even lands
and servants (1962:719).
These instances have shown the value placed on cloth not only in the Inca
state, but throughout Peruvian prehistory. Murra states, The extraordinary value
placed on cloth by Andean cultures and the existence of class differences allowed the
manipulative use of this commodity in a variety of political and social contexts
(1962:720). The Inca institutionalized these values and developed a prestige system,
based on cloth, which had deep roots in the Peruvian psyche. The Inca incorporated
new citizens into their empire through gifts of cloth. These gifts brought with them
obligations to the state and aided in the assimilation of new territory into the state.
Murra points out, the compulsory issue of culturally valued commodities in a society
without money and relatively small markets can be viewed as the initial pump-priming
step in a dependent relationship, since the generosity of the conqueror obligates one
to reciprocate, to deliver on a regular, periodic basis, the results of ones workmanship
to the Cuzco warehouses (1962: 721). The gift from the crown then served a dual
role as a treasured gift that brought with it the right to reciprocity from the state, but
also incorporated the foreigner into the Inca empire in a manner analogous to
citizenship papers (Murra 1962). Therefore, because of the value placed on textiles
for thousands of years throughout the Andes, the Inca were able to manipulate the use
of cloth as a symbol of state power.
Murra demonstrated the importance of textiles in Peruvian culture, beyond
their simple functioning as a utilitarian item. Cloth served as a status marker, was
religiously significant, and served as a powerful symbol of state power, as well as an
economic commodity. Murra puts it best, A primary source of state revenues, an
annual chore among peasant obligations, a common sacrificial offering, cloth could
also serve at different times and occasions as a status symbol or a token of enforced
citizenship, as burial furniture, bride-wealth, or armistice sealer. No political, military,
social or religious events were complete without textiles being volunteered or
bestowed, burned, exchanged, or sacrificed (1962: 722). Thus, textiles give the
archaeologist an excellent research opportunity for the investigation of social, political,
economic and ideological systems.
Numerous books and articles have since been published on the subject of
textiles and their construction, the symbology incorporated in their design, and on their
use in elucidating information about the archaeological record (Anton 1987, Bird
1963; Bird and Bellinger 1954; Conklin 1971; ONeale 1949; Paul 1979, 1990; Rowe
1977, 1979; Van Stan 1967). One of the most prominent volumes on the subject was
the result of a conference held in honor of Junius Bird and his contributions to the
study of textiles, with the presentations compiled in an edited volume by Ann Pollard
Rowe, Elizabeth P. Benson, and Anne-Louise Schaffer, The Junius B. Bird Pre-
Columbian Textile Conference (1979). The articles in this volume are an excellent
example of how textiles have been used in archaeological research. The articles range
from the development of textiles and spinning procedures to seriation of garment
types. Many of these articles have provided the basis for our understanding of the
textile record along the coast of Peru.
One hurdle that has not been overcome, unfortunately, is the use of a
consistent terminology and taxonomy in the description of textiles and textile
construction. This fact is made clear with a number of volumes written on textile
construction, all providing their own terminology, plus the countless articles and books
written for specific sites or studies which incorporate their own classification and
terminology (Cahlander 1985; Emery 1980; Harcourt 1962, Rowe 1977, 1984). This
problem is common to many different areas of study in anthropology, another example
of lumpers and splitters. Therefore, the researcher must make clear to the reader
which of the classification systems is being used in a given study.
In the following study, textiles are the most common artifact recovered from
the San Francisco cemetery and therefore are the main subject of analysis. This study
used Irene Emerys classification system outlined in The Primary Structure of Fabrics
(1980). In Appendix B, a brief overview of Emerys terms is provided for the reader
to explain how terms are used in this thesis.
This chapter has laid the foundation for our discussion of the South Coast
culture area in Peru. The historic accounts from the chroniclers, combined with more
than a hundred years of archaeological and ethnographic research, have provided a
comprehensive overview of Peruvian prehistory. This overview has shown how
interpretations about Peruvian prehistory have been shaped and influenced by those
first ethnohistoric accounts. These accounts have also provided insight into how the
social, ideological and political threads have been interwoven into a symbolic cloth of
Peruvian prehistory. The next chapter considers the culture history of the South Coast
and the role of the Yauca Valley in the region.
SOUTH COAST CULTURE HISTORY
The south coast of Peru has played an important role in the development of
Andean archaeology and our understanding of the prehistory of Peru. Lumbreras
writes that the coast of Peru is divisible into three principal environmental sectors: (1)
a semitropical zone extending south to the vicinity of Lambayeque, with characteristics
intermediate between those of the North and Central Andes; (2) a misty subtropical
zone between Lambayeque and Canete; and (3) a dry subtropical desert zone between
Canete and Majes (1974:4). These three coastal environments have been divided into
four culture areas (moving from north to south): Far North, North, Central and
South (Lumbreras 1974). The South Coast culture area extends from the Chincha
Valley in the north to the Yauca Valley in the south (Figure 3.1) (Lumbreras 1974).
This chapter examines the history of archaeological investigation in the area, the
chronology of the South Coast culture area, and specifically the Yauca Valley and its
Figure 3.1. Map of the South Coast culture area, (from Lumbreras 1974 and Moseley
History of Archaeological Investigation
on the South Coast
This area was first investigated by Max Uhle (as discussed in Chapter 2) with
his discovery of the Nasca culture in the lea Valley and the Nasca Drainage. Uhles
work from 1896 to 1905 identified the pre-Tiwanaku complex that later became
known as Nazca culture, best known for the huge geoglyphs associated with the Nasca
Julio Tello followed Uhle, conducting excavations on the Paracas Peninsula
that uncovered the large Necropolis site in 1925 (Lumbreras 1974; Moseley 1992;
Paul 1991; Tello 1926; Tello and Mejia 1979; Tello and Williams 1930). This site
included 429 burials in an abandoned structure. The mummy cache became famous
for the beautiful textiles wrapped around the mummy bundles and included in the
burial along with foodstuffs, pottery vessels and other mortuary goods.
As discussed in Chapter 2, the initial chronology for Peru was developed by
Kroeber and his students based on Uhles finds along the south coast. One of those
students, W. D. Strong headed a two-year expedition, in 1952-53, to gather new
survey and excavation data to test the chronology he had helped develop (Strong
1954, 1957). The expedition succeeded in showing continuous cultural development
from Early Paracas through Early lea (the period immediately prior to the Inca) in the
archaeological record. This expedition also spent time at the large complex site of
Cahuachi in the Nasca Valley. This site was believed to have been the principal
settlement of the Nazca Culture (Lanning 1967:116-117; Lumbreras 1974:123-124,
1981:227, Matos Mendieta 1980:488; Rowe 1963:11-12). However, further
investigations have shown that it was most likely a ceremonial center used on a part-
time basis or only housing priests or other public officials on a year round basis
(Silverman 1988, 1990; Carmichael 1995).
During this time, Kroeber began working with John Rowe at the Institute of
Andean Studies that Rowe had begun at Berkeley. Rowe developed a long range
project for southern Peru which included two principal geographic areas of focus: 1)
the highlands near Cuzco and 2) the South Coast (Rowe 1956). This strategy was
designed to develop a detailed master sequence of stylistic changes in one area and
then to use this sequence to cross-date sequences in adjacent areas in order to establish
a regional chronological framework. Rowe chose the lea Valley as the cornerstone for
the master sequence based on the work first begun by Uhle which showed the lea
Valleys archaeological record covered a great time depth (Rowe 1962).
Rowe began this project with the 1954-55 expedition of the 4th University of
California Archaeological Expedition to Peru, sponsored by Wenner-Gren Foundation,
the American Philosophical Society and Victor von Hagens Inca Highway Expedition.
This expedition allowed for further subdivisions of the Nazca and lea pottery styles
through the use of stylistic analysis, refuse stratigraphy and radiocarbon dating. This
expedition was also important to the current study because it was one of the first to
enter the Yauca Valley. Dorothy Menzel and Francis A. Riddell (1986) were primarily
interested in the Acari Valley, but spent a week in Yauca recording sites and
evaluating the valley.
Chronology of the South Coast
Rowes chronology provides a convenient framework with which to discuss
the culture history of the South Coast region. The following is a brief description of
the period and the relevant associated culture.
Preceramic f?14,000 to 1930 BCT
This lengthy period is marked by the absence of pottery and extends back to
include the earliest occupation of the Andes. It may be divided into two large periods.
The first period is associated with pre-agricultural peoples. This is followed by the
introduction of agriculture, but remains before the use of ceramics (Engels 1957,
1976; Lanning 1967).
Evidence for the pre-agricultural phase along the South Coast is lacking before
around 7000 B.C. Engel notes the presence of a preceramic site in the Yauca Valley.
However, he does not include dates or otherwise describe the site (1963). Besides this
possible evidence, the earliest dated site within the preceramic period for the region is
Village 96 on the Paracas Peninsula dating to around 6880 B.C. (Engel 1976:89).
The introduction of agriculture begins to mark changes along the coast and
signals the beginning of a new phase. The introduction of agriculture had a profound
effect on the peoples living along the coast, including population growth, sedentism
and the construction of large public buildings and pyramids (Engel 1970, 1976;
Lanning 1967). Textiles of this period include twined cloth, nets and looped bags
made from cotton.
Initial Period (1930 B.C. to 1200 B.CT
This period includes the appearance of the first pottery in the Andes. Along
with pottery we also see the advent of heddle looms allowing for complex textile
production. During this time llama remains appear on the coast and, as mentioned
above, maize appears along the southern coast around 1800 B.C. along with manioc,
sweet potatoes and peanuts (Kowta 1987). The three latter cultigens are from tropical
forest regions indicating the large amount of trading moving across the Andes.
There is little evidence of this period along the South Coast. The site of Hacha
in the Acari Valley is the only known site which may suggest the introduction of
ceramics in the area. The Hacha site is still being investigated in an effort to provide
further evidence about life during the Initial Period.
Early Horizon 11400 B.C. to 400 B.C.f
The Early Horizon is recognized by the influence of Chavin iconography
spreading throughout the Andes during this time. It has been proposed that this was a
religious cult, associated with the site of Chavin de Huantar which sent out numerous
missionaries that spread the religious iconography. However, Burger suggests that
Chavin was more likely a revitalization cult which was the result of changes brought
about through socio-political changes and perhaps environmental devastation due to
severe El Nino events around 500 B.C. (1988). Chavin is recognized along the South
Coast in the Chincha and lea valleys and at the site of Karwa on the Paracas Peninsula
The Paracas Culture (400/500 B C. to 200 B.C.Y The Paracas Culture is a
manifestation found only on the South Coast. It is principally found in the Jaquay,
Chincha, lea, and Nasca valleys, and at the site of Hacha in the Acari Valley. Anna
Gayton reports that Paracas iconography was found on textiles, recovered by Max
Uhle in 1905, from Yauca Valley (1961). This is the only report of Paracas materials
in the Yauca Valley.
Paracas is a transitional phase, with a move from the iconography of Chavin
into motifs associated with the later Nasca phase during the Early Intermediate Period
(Paul 1990, 1991), Weaving technology progresses and the backstrap loom becomes
used extensively to produce gauzes, brocades, and tapestry. These and other
techniques were developed to replace the simple painting of designs on plain cloth
(Garaventa 1978; Paul and Turpin 1986; Stafford 1941). The woven products of the
period include shirts, breechcloths, mantles, and dresses along with slings, bags, straps
and mummy wrappings (Kowta 1987).
Early Intermediate Period T300 B.C. AD 5401
The intermediate periods in the chronology suggest periods of regional
florescence and the consolidation of politics and art into regional styles and variants
(see Chapter 2). The Early Intermediate along the South Coast is defined by the rise
of the Nazca culture and is divided into eight epochs defined by changes in pottery
style (Menzel, Rowe, and Dawson 1964). Kowta states the period is famous for
striking pottery and textiles it produced, mainly for mortuary use. The technical and
aesthetic excellence achieved by Nasca craftsmen has rarely been surpassed
(1987:25). Conklin and Moseley (1988) note that textile techniques used by the Nasca
culture during this period are more advanced than any other coastal area during the
same period. They continue by stating that the use of alpaca wool, introduced during
the late Early Horizon, reaches massive quantities during the Early Intermediate
indicating excellent trading relations with highland areas (Conklin and Moseley 1988).
It takes almost another thousand years for such quantities to be available on the north
coast (Conklin 1974; Conklin and Moseley 1988).
Irrigation agriculture was used extensively during this period. The main staples
are provided by domesticated crops and are supplemented by hunting and fishing
(Kowta 1987; Lumbreras 1974). The settlements are large rectangles with large
populations, possibly the largest of the period (Conklin and Moseley 1988; Kowta
1987; Rowe 1963, 1967). This is the period when the large site of Cahuachi is
utilized. As discussed earlier, Silverman (1988) concludes that Cahuachi is a
ceremonial center functioning as a pilgrimage site and only housed resident priests on a
full-time basis. Silverman (1988) believes that this is a site which represents a brief
period of coalescence of social, religious and political power during the Early
This period is most widely known for the large geoglyphs of the Nasca Pampa
(Aveni 1990a and 1990b, Hadingham 1987; Silverman 1990; Urton 1990). The
purpose of these large ground drawings is not yet understood. It has been proposed
that they were used as a calendar, astronomical markers, or even perhaps monuments
to individuals (Aveni 1990a and 1990b; Conklin and Moseley 1988); Hadingham
1987; Silverman 1990; Urton 1990).
Nazca goods are found in the Chincha, lea, Nasca, and Acari valleys with
possible evidence as far south as Chala. There is no evidence of Nazca materials in the
Yauca Valley to date.
Middle Horizon (A D. 540 to A.D. 900^
The Middle Horizon was characterized by the spread of two major empires,
Huari in the Ayacucho Valley in the Peruvian central highlands and Tiwanaku in the
Titicaca Basin to the south. This period is controversial among scholars as to the role
of each of these empires and their origins. In an edited volume by Isbell and McEwan
(1991) the various issues surrounding Huari status and origins are debated looking
specifically at Huari architecture. They note that the participants were able to agree
on the existence of a relatively unified architectural horizon (Isbell and McEwan
1991:10). However, they point out that theoretical orientation combined with regional
research interests still divided the group on how individuals interpreted Huari
The status of Huari and Tiwanaku as states has been disputed for some time.
In an article by Isbell and Schreiber (1978), Was Huari a State?, the authors defined
two major requirements for state level government to test the status of Huari as a
state. The first requirement was settlements must be distributed in a site size hierarchy
with at least three tiers of administration above the community level (Isbell and
Schreiber 1978). Secondly, information and decisions were transferred between
settlements of different rank order with information moving up through the system and
decisions flowing down (Isbell and Schreiber 1978). Isbell and Schreiber (1978)
concluded that the criterion for a state level government during the Middle Horizon
was supported by evidence from the Huari, however, it was not indisputably
Alan Kolata (1986) used the criteria established by Isbell and Schreiber and
tested evidence from the Tiwanaku heartland to determine if Tiwanaku was a state.
Kolata (1986) determined, based on agricultural intensification requiring massive
reclamation and construction projects, class stratification and a hierarchical settlement
network, that Tiwanaku was indeed a state.
Why Huari developed, has also been debated. It has been proposed that Huari
developed out of environmental upheaval due to a number of severe El Nino events
and a period of great drought from A.D. 562 A.D. 594 (Moseley 1992). Moseley
writes that due to the drought, Ethnic movement, strife, conflict, and militarism
would ensue (1992:209). This idea has been challenged by a number of other Andean
scholars. Isbell and Schreiber (1978) state that the Huari state does not appear to
have formed due to demographic pressures which forced people to congregate in
cities. They point out that as Middle Horizon cities develop, farmlands are abandoned
(Isbell and Schreiber 1978).
Whatever the status of Huari in the highlands, along the South Coast there
appears to be little change in the settlement patterns during the Middle Horizon
(Kowta 1986). However, Huari cemeteries are known for the period at the sites of
Atarco, Ocucje, and Ingenio in the Nazca and lea Valleys, as well as two burials at
Tambo Viejo and at least nine other components including cemeteries contain Huari
materials. (Kowta 1987:38). Kowta describes the Huari tombs:
The tombs consist of rectangular subterranean chambers with rounded
comers made of rectangular adobes roofed with beams and clay.
Orientation was east-west with the entrance toward the west. The
body was seated and flexed and usually wrapped in textiles. The
resulting bundle was provided with an artificial head of cloth and
ornamented with gold objects and feathers (1987:38).
The South Coast appears to have accepted the stylistic innovations of Huari, with little
influence on local settlements or political establishments.
The Far South Coast is represented by archaeological investigations
concentrated in the Moquequa Valley. Moseley et al. (1991) state that evidence for
both Huari and Tiahuanaco are found mid-valley. This valley has evidence for site
destruction which the authors propose may represent armed conflict between the two
polities. The nature of the interactions between the Huari, Tiahuanaco, and the valley
continues to be investigated.
Late Intermediate Period (A.D. 900 AD. 14761
During this period the South Coast appears to have entered a time of regional
art and political fragmentation, large populations disperse and a pattern of ceremonial
centers and dispersed communities arises (Kowta 1987). This is a similar pattern to
that seen on the North Coast for the Early Intermediate (Kowta 1987).
This period has a homogeneous culture with variation in local pottery styles
and extends over the area of Chincha, lea, Poroma, and Acari. Ica pottery is the most
stylized and has the most influence on the other local traditions of the south coast
(Menzel 1959). Patricia Lyon (1966) believes that the Ica pottery style was an attempt
to return to the Huari styles. However, without the religious connection which
imparted meaning to the designs, a new style was created (Lyon 1966). Menzel notes
that Chincha appears to be a political center for the area with Ica acting as the cultural
Late Horizon (A D 1476 A D 15321
The Late Horizon marks the arrival of the Inca on the South Coast. Dorothy
Menzel has written the definitive work about the Inca on the South Coast in The Inca
Occupation of the South Coast of Peru (1959). This work is still used today as the
point of departure for research in the area. Therefore, this section is drawn directly
from Menzels article.
Menzel examined the ethnohistorical and historical record recorded by the
Spanish to determine if any information could be gleaned about the Inca and their
occupation of the South Coast (1959). Although she found little material, some
important dates can be inferred. Menzel found that the Inca first intruded into the
South Coast in the reign of Pachakuti (1438-1471) around A.D. 1440 according to
Cabello Balboas chronology (Menzel 1959). The Inca did not remain a permanent
fixture after this initial raid, however. During the reign of Thupa Inka, an expedition
was sent to Chile to acquire new territory, during which the first serious attempt was
made to subjugate the South Coast valleys. This conquest was recorded by Cieza de
Leon, Cabello Balboa, and Castro and Ortega Morejon all of who agree on peaceful
acquisition of territory by the Inca with one exception. Menzel writes, Cieza says
that the people of Chincha and the Incas of Cuzco were in agreement that Chincha
also submitted peacefully, but the people from some of the other provinces claimed
that the Chincha valley resisted. This latter tradition is reflected by Cabello
(1959:126). Menzel provides Cabello Balboas chronology of the conquest and dates
it to about 1476 (1959).
Inca rule was short lived. In 1534 Pizzaro sent a small contingent to found a
Spanish settlement at Zangalla in the valley of Pisco, the site is now known as Lima la
Vieja, and granted the natives of the region in encomienda to the Spanish settlers of
the new town (Menzel 1959:126). This is the extent of the written records Menzel
was able to uncover specifically about the South Coast. The remaining information
about the Inca and their time on the South Coast comes directly from the
Inca Influence Over Local Authority on the South Coast. Menzel concludes
that there were marked differences in social and political organization among all the
south coastal valleys at the time of the Inca invasion (1959). According to Menzel,
Chincha was governed by a powerful centralized government which was well
established. This allowed the Inca simply to take over the administration of the
government by building their own administrative center at the same location as the
Chincha capital (1959).
Ica had some type of centralized authority, whether it is a political or religious
authority is not known, which created a concentration of wealth at the site of Old Ica
(Menzel 1959). This authority was accompanied by a cultural prestige which
translated into a high demand for Ica decorated pottery, as well as imitations,
throughout the south coast. As with Chincha, the Inca utilized the central site of Ica
authority to exercise their power over the area. After the invasion by the Inca, Menzel
believes that the Ica native nobility was able to monopolize the advantages
associated with Inca rule with little to no influence from the Inca invasion being seen
among the ordinary farmers of the valley (1959). The demise of the Inca empire
resulted in the nobility dropping their association with the Inca and reclaiming their
place in the previous authority structure.
The remaining valleys, including Pisco, Nasca, Acari and Yauca all lacked
centralized authority and were not areas which were able to develop any significant
prestige (Menzel 1959). The influence of the Inca on these valleys was minimal.
Menzels work in 1959 has had a profound effect on our understanding of the role of
the Inca along the South Coast. As will be discussed in Chapter 6, future research is
needed, specifically in those valleys such as Pisco, Nasca, and Yauca, where little is
known for the Late Horizon period from archaeology.
Yauca Culture Area
There has been very little formal archaeological investigation of archaeological
sites in the Yauca Valley. Anna Gayton states that Max Uhle visited the Yauca Valley
in 1905 (1961). Although the exploration by Uhle is not well recorded, collections
were made and some analysis has been done on those materials by Kroeber and
Gayton. Gayton writes, Uhles few vessels from Yauca have been designated as of a
late style (Ica-Chincha) by A. L. Kroeber (Peruvian Archeology in 1942, Viking Fund
Publication 4  23). The skeletal material recovered has not been analyzed. But
the textile finds were considerable (1961). The analyses by Kroeber and Gayton
are the only works done on artifacts from the valley to date.
As stated earlier in the chapter, Menzel and Riddell surveyed the valley in 1954
as part of the 4th University of California Archaeological Expedition to Peru.
Although nothing more is written about this visit, at least five sites were recorded at
Another site survey of parts of the valley was done in 1985 by Francis Riddell
and the California Institute for Peruvian Studies. This survey brought the total number
of identified sites to approximately 26 (Figure 3.2). This is an estimate based the site
number assigned to the San Francisco cemetery, PV-75-26, and a site map for the
valley which includes sites 3 and 7-23. The only sites which have any chronological
designations are sites 1,8, 10, 16, 17, and 22, all dating to the Late Horizon. These
dates are derived from pottery associated with each site.
Site PV-75-1 is the Inca administrative center discussed by Menzel (1959) and
Menzel and Riddell (1986) on the Hacienda Lampilla. They write that this site,
although similar to Tambo Viejo in the Acari Valley, lacks the overall patterning and
Figure 3.2. Map of the Yauca Valley and the Acari Valley. (Compiled
from Menzel 1986 and CIPS master site map.)
orientation seen in other Inca administrative centers.
In 1985 the California Institute for Peruvian Studies (C.I.P.S.) conducted
investigations in the Yauca Valley which included surface collection of six sites
(Riddell 1985). These sites are not discussed with site numbers, therefore, their
association to the other sites is not known. These sites include Mai Paso, Monte
Negro, Tikitaka, Chic-Chilla and Alto Mai Paso. Mai Paso had diagnostic sherds
recovered in the Late Acari style (Riddell 1985). Mai Paso, Monte Negro and
Tikitaka are probably contemporaneous (Riddell 1985). These three locations are
interesting because of the defensive architecture that is found surrounding the sites
(Riddell 1985). The site of Chic-Chilla is a Middle Horizon (Huari and Tiwanaku)
cemetery which has been extensively looted (Riddell 1985). The site of Alto Mai Paso
is also a cemetery site from the Late Horizon (Incan period) which also was vandalized
(Riddell 1985). This is the only information available for the Yauca Valley at this
One issue that must be resolved before the chronology of the valley can be
defined is the chronology of Late Acari pottery. Recent work in the Acari Valley by
University of Colorado at Denver graduate student Cheryl Fairchild, working with
C.I.P.S., suggested that the dates traditionally associated with Late Acari pottery are
too early (1996). The Late Acari style was defined by Menzel and Riddell from their
visit to Acari in 1954(1986). In a recent paper, Fairchild noted that in Menzels initial
chronology she proposed that the Late Acari style might be contemporaneous with
Inca occupation, as it was late in the south coast sequence and probably dated to after
Fairchild is working on a site in the Acari Valley called Pellejo Chico Alto,
which was assigned to the Late Intermediate/Late Horizon phases in 1986 based on
the presence of Late Acari pottery. Fairchilds excavations are ongoing in hopes of
better defining the site chronology and the nature of the site. As a result of her first
seasons excavation, Fairchild submitted two radiocarbon samples for dating (1996).
Both samples had strong Late Acari associations. The uncalibrated dates for the
samples were A.D. 1630 and A.D. 1550 (Fairchild 1996). According to Fairchild,
calibrated dates for both samples appear to be contemporaneous and are clearly
Colonial in time (1996). Therefore, these dates support Menzels impression that the
Late Acari style should be dated to the Late Horizon, not the Late Intermediate
The role of the Yauca Valley in the South Coasts regional scheme is not
understood at this time. Menzel and Riddell have proposed some tentative thoughts
about Yauca and its relationship to Acari during the Late Horizon. They write:
The pottery of the Incaic Yauca Valley shows apparent identity with
the corresponding style of Acari. If one also considers the small size
and geographic situation of Yauca, which is not suitable to large-scale
agriculture, and the absence of notable ruins comparable to Tambo
Viejo, one concludes that Yauca was a secondary valley, culturally
closely connected with Acari in Inca times (1986:108).
Future research will allow for a better understanding of the chronology of the Yauca
Valley. However, until such time when research can be carried out, the role of Yauca
in regional interactions will remain a mystery.
Mortuary remains are one of the best pieces of archaeological evidence
available to the archeologist for constructing social, ideological and symbolic
interpretations. The archaeology of death has been conducted with certain
assumptions about what is being represented in the mortuary facility and the grave
goods associated with the dead. The major assumption by archaeologists for much of
the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has been that the status and the role of the
individual in life is reflected in the burial of the individual at death. Therefore, for the
archaeologist, reconstruction was simply a matter of finding the burials of the
individuals from various periods and regions and inferring the social make up of the
culture from these burials. This position, expanded upon by processual archaeologists
(Binford 1971, Brown 1981; Chapman and Klavs 1981; Cook 1981; Goldstein 1981;
OShea 1981; Tainter 1977) has recently come under fire by the postprocessual
movement (Hodder 1986 and 1982; Pearson 1982; Shanks and Tilley 1982).
Ethnography also has undergone some major changes in how death in a given
culture is investigated. The views of death have changed significantly since the
nineteenth century works of Tyler and others. Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist,
has been a major influence on the interpretation of death rituals. Other ethnographers,
such as van Gennep, proposed stages that the living must move through to restore
order after the death of an individual. Van Gennep discusses the role of liminality in
establishing a new social order after the death of a community member. These
ethnographers have molded and influenced archaeological theory of mortuary analysis
and how death and mortuary sites are interpreted.
These various perspectives are examined in this chapter. Mortuary remains are
the best evidence available to archaeologists to reconstruct the social order. Kinship,
ideology, and ethnicity have all been examined using mortuary remains. Processual
and postprocessual schools have very different approaches to interpreting data.
Processualists use empirical data to formulate etic classifications of status and social
persona. The postprocessual approach attempts to achieve an emic point of view,
allowing archaeologists to reconstruct a fuller and deeper (in a Geertzian sense)
picture of culture.
Processualists have limited themselves and their interpretation through
dependency on empirical data made up of only a limited number of puzzle pieces.
Processual archaeologists contend that it is simply not possible to achieve an emic
point of view. However, processualists regularly use ethnographic data in the
interpretation of empirical data. Postprocessualists propose that the next logical step
is to attempt to infer more intangible information from these ethnographic encounters.
Ian Hodder proposes that the archaeological record is a text to be read and
interpreted (Hodder 1986). The interpretation process allows archaeologists to
describe extinct cultures more fully, including ideology which is often overlooked by
processualists. Hodder feels that although the interpretation may not always be
correct, the evidence allows for better, more comprehensive interpretations to be made
continually. This shift in archaeological interpretation is connected with shifts in the
anthropological community as a whole.
Social stratification is an essential concept tied directly to mortuary analysis.
Social stratification is the ranking of a societys members, based on institutionalized
differential access to resources and power (Blau 1970). Blau writes .
differentiation is any criterion on the basis of which the members of an organization
are formally divided into positions,... or into ranks, ... or into subunits (1970:203-
204) intimately linking status to the political organization of a society. Archaeologists
use mortuary practices and settlement patterning to determine stratification of both the
individual and the community on a large scale. Typically, individual status is based on
mortuary investigations and group status on settlement pattern analysis. For this
study, stratification is used to refer to individual status.
There are two types of status which can be represented: achieved or ascribed.
Achieved status is what an individual earns. An example of achieved status is a
shaman who must undergo a strict and lengthy apprenticeship before being allowed to
practice as a shaman. Once the individual has passed through the required steps, they
achieve a new status which is recognized by the community, because of their skills.
Ascribed status is the status into which an individual is bom. This is typically
found in class societies, in societies where leadership is handed down from father to
son, just to name a few. In this instance, the individual simply has to be bom.
Achievement has limited affect on the status of the individual. Therefore, differences
based on sex may be an ascribed status that can be differentiated even in simple social
organizations. Archaeologists however are more concerned with ascriptive status
differentiation because it is intimately linked with differential access to goods.
Archaeologists are interested in stratification of society, due to ascription, because it
tells them something about the political and economic power structure of a particular
group. It should also be noted that within an ascribed society, achieved status
differences also may be, and are often, found. However, achieved status is constrained
by and channeled through the ascriptive structure.
Anthropological Theory and Death
Although there are several sources that have presented a historical overview of
mortuary practices; Brad Bartels article A Historical Review of Ethnological and
Archaeological Analyses of Mortuary Practice is one of the best examinations of the
historical interplay of sociocultural analysis of mortuary practices and the role of
archaeology (Bartel 1982). He looks at the history of sociocultural thought on
mortuary practices and the changes made through time.
Nineteenth Century Anthropology and Archaeology
Bartel begins with the nineteenth century use of pseudopsychological
principles relating to the universal occurrence of religious beliefs (1982:33). E. B.
Tylor is one of this periods most influential anthropologists. Tylor looked at the
concept of a universal body soul dichotomy. Tylor found that the worldwide
occurrence and uniformity in death display and ritual was related to the phenomenon
of dreams as a source in afterlife belief, and that since those societies that were low on
the evolutionary sequence were ignorant of moral and physical knowledge (Tylor
1866:77), they inherited and passed on by tradition many beliefs, such as funeral
sacrifice, without knowing the reasons for such beliefs (1982:34). Tylor had beliefs
similar to Levi-Strauss in terms of cognitive uniformity. This cognitive approach was
not of much help to the archaeologist. Tylor did not develop this theory far enough to
state what should be expected in the ethnographic and archaeological record if his
theory was correct.
One of the most influential archaeologists of the time was Sir John Lubbock,
who used ethnographic and travelers accounts to develop a taxonomy of religious
beliefs. This system ran evolutionarily and isodirectionally from atheism to
monotheism (the pinnacle of the religious sequence ) (Bartel 1982). Lubbock
described how each stage should be treated in the mortuary practices, including how
many grave goods and the types of goods associated with the corpse. Lubbock was
important for his recognition of the differences between age, sex and social status and
how they are represented in the burial of individuals. This was extremely important to
archaeology, because it allowed archaeologists to begin to reconstruct ancient
societies based on age, sex and social status. Lubbock was also one of the first to use
statistical analysis to understand mortuary behaviors, including the correlation of
monumentality to social status differences, that is still used today. These
interpretations were simplistic and based on monocausal arguments that did not
explain the huge variations seen in the archaeological record (Bartel 1982). Twentieth
century archaeologists have attempted to reconcile this position.
Twentieth Century Anthropology
The French Influence. The names of several French social scientists have
permeated the theoretical base of anthropological thought on mortuary behavior,
including Durkheim, van Gennep and Mauss. These individuals were most influential
in the first decades of this century; however, they have developed the foundations of
several theoretical perspectives that are still strong in anthropology today (Bartel
1982). The French criticized Tylor heavily for his interpretations that centered on
animism (Bartel 1982). The French took a more holistic approach to religion and
began to correlate religious phenomena with the entire social system (Bartel 1982).
The work of Hertz is discussed by Bartel as an example of this shift. Hertz looked at
Indonesian peoples and discussed their use of double burials by correlating them with
the economic activities, status and kinship obligations (Bartel 1982:38). Like
Lubbock, Hertz also recognized the need for intrasocietal investigation based on age,
sex and status.
In the book, Les rites de passage, van Gennep (1960) elaborated on many
points put forth by Hertz. Van Gennep emphasized the historical development of a
given society, and by comparative and functional associations, one should be able to
delineate three rites (Bartel 1982:38). These rites had three stages separation,
transition, and incorporation. Death was viewed as a separation rite, with mourning
acting as a period of transition for survivors prior to their reincorporation into society.
The British Social Anthropologists. British social anthropologists have
continued and expanded on the French school with functional-structuralism. The
leading figure in this school was Radcliffe-Brown. The British have a long tradition of
examining mortuary practices and are problem oriented in their approach to
ethnographic research. Radcliffe-Brown was one of the first to reject the idea of
instinctive corpse fear and saw death as a partial destruction of the social order
(Bartel 1982). This follows van Gennep and Durkheim in believing that the burial
customs represent collective and ritual expression of group feelings acting as a defense
against an attack upon solidarity (Bartel 1982:39-40).
This view was contrasted with Malinowski who related the whole process to
organic processes in the human body (Bartel 1982). Malinowski also differed from
Radcliffe-Brown in that he believed in an innate fear of the corpse, as well as death
itself. However, more students chose to follow Radcliffe-Brown, and Malinowski was
not as influential in archaeological thought.
In a work on Tikopia society, Raymond Firth developed a hypothesis that
stated, framework of ideas about the fate of the soul is in many respects a framework
of ideas about the state of the society (1967:352). Many archaeologists at the time
picked up on this hypothesis and worked it into one of the basic tenets of processual
mortuary investigation. This tenet states that the status and role of the individual in
life will be reflected in the burial of the individual at death.
Bartel also discusses the contribution by Max Gluckman. Gluckman criticized
van Gennep for not fully expanding his ideas and developing a more comprehensive
theory. Gluckman generated a hypothesis with the following five statements (quote
from Bartel 1982:41):
1. There is a greater distinction made between male and female
social, political, economic, and magico-religious functions
within tribal societies than in modem state societies (Gluckman
2. There is a greater development of special customs and stylized
etiquette for differentiating and defining these sexual roles
3. The complexity of death-related activities is due to manifold
(Gluckmans term is multiplex) anxieties caused by uncertainty
about economic and health factors (Gluckman 1962:33).
4. The greater the secular distinction as to sexual roles, the less the
amount of rituals. The greater the secular distinction, the less
mystical the ceremonial patterns (Gluckman 1962:34).
5. The greater the multiplicity of undifferentiated and overlapping
roles, the more ritual to separate them (Gluckman 1962:34).
This hypothesis is much more suitable than van Genneps approach for examining
more complex societies. Van Gennep had concentrated on band level societies and
this was a definite limiting factor. Gluckmans approach was still incomplete and had
not been tested, but it was more informative than van Genneps.
Daryll Fordes views of the ecological, biological and physical conditions of
the human environment have strongly influenced archaeological theory regarding
mortuary practices (Bartel 1962). Forde followed Malinowski in this human
environmental concept of death. Demography, climate, and geography are the
motivating factors to this approach. This contention is taken to heart by the
processual archaeologists and becomes one of their major tenets.
Structuralism. Structuralism is the final anthropological school looked at by
Bartel. Structuralism is a systemic approach to anthropology that looks for the
function of structures in social life. This is most often identified with British structural
anthropology, however, Levi-Strauss structuralism is also influential. A structural
approach to mortuary practices would entail looking for the unconscious structure of
mortuary acts. This would be done by comparing myth, kinship, and other societal
relationships that reinforce the contrast between life and death. This dialectic is very
Levi-Straussian in nature. Levi-Strauss proposed that the unconscious patterning of
the dialectic was cross-cultural and therefore would lead to cross-cultural
understanding and generalizations. Bartel states, In order to incorporate a structural
methodology in archaeology, it is probably best for the researcher to work within a
historical time period with written examples of myth, song, or poetry, or by extension
from ethnohistoric groups to inferred prehistoric ancestors (1982:46).
All these individuals and ethnography as a whole have directly contributed to
the development of archaeological mortuary analysis and theory. Our epistemology is
directly drawn from our understanding of how modem humans deal with death
through ritual and mortuary practices. Interpreting the archaeological record, without
the theoretical groundwork laid down by ethnographic work, would be impossible.
Archaeology and Mortuary Analysis
Mortuary practices are not of the utmost concern to the cultural
anthropologist, probably because they have enough material from living societies on
which to base their understanding. Archaeology on the other hand has a distinct
disadvantage in this latter regard. Most archaeologists are dealing with dead
cultures. Mortuary sites become a major source of information for the archaeologist
to glean understandings about social, ideological, and economic practices. Therefore,
the question becomes: how does the archaeologist take cultural anthropological or
ethnographic theory and apply it to mortuary practices of dead cultures?
Anthropological theory, as discussed in the previous section, laid the
foundation upon which archaeological mortuary theory has been built. This review
takes us up to the mid-1960's when cultural materialism becomes the major new
theoretical base. Marvin Harris is one of the leading proponents of cultural
materialism. Harris follows a research orientation that is based on the etic view of
cultures and concentrates on empirical data (Harris 1979). This approach is closely
tied to processual archaeology that emerges at around the same time. Processualism is
marked by a nomological positivistic approach. Recent trends in theory have moved
towards postprocessualism which is more symbolic and emic in approach.
In The Archaeology of Death. Chapman and Randsborg write, .
archaeologists need a body of theory in order to relate the mortuary data at their
disposal to patterns of human behaviour within past human societies (1981:2). This
statement shows the shift in archaeology from historical particularism to a more
deductive scientific endeavor. In their edited volume on death and mortuary practices,
Chapman and Randsborg collected articles that followed a processual framework.
Some articles in their volume are prime examples of this framework: The search for
rank in prehistoric burials (Brown 1981); Social configurations and the
archaeological study of mortuary practices: A case study (OShea 1981), and, One-
dimensional archaeology and multi-dimensional people: Spatial organization and
mortuary analysis (Goldstein 1981). The move toward processual archaeology is
discussed by Chapman and Randsburg as a move away from the normative culture
approach. They look at the shift in mortuary studies as moving from a speculative to
chronological, cultural approach to the New Archaeology of the 1960's (Chapman and
Randsborg 1981). This new approach took a more Durkheimian stance, moving away
from the culture history of Franz Boas.
Lewis Binford is one of the major proponents of processual archaeology
(1962, 1965). Chapman and Randsborg looked to Binford, and his use of processual
archaeology, to formulate new hypotheses regarding mortuary practices for
archaeology (1981). Using the Human Relations Area files, Binford was able to show
that there were distinct differences between four different social formations. The four
group types examined were hunter-gatherers, shifting agriculturalists, pastoralists, and
settled agriculturalists (Binford 1971). Binford hypothesized that the social persona,
described by Goodenough, would indicate the form and complexity of the
organizational characteristics of the society itself (Binford 1971:23). Goodenoughs
term of social persona, according to Binford was the social identities maintenance in
life and recognized as appropriate for consideration after death (Binford 1971:7).
Tainter continued with this concept by discussing how archaeologists could
begin to understand social systems, not simply social features, using mortuary data.
Social features according to Tainter are discrete units of society such as kinship, status
differences, and settlements (1977). Tainter feels, In order to characterize a system,
social or otherwise, archaeologists must develop the ability to isolate and measure
dimensions that compositely reflect both the constituent parts of a system, as well as
the patterned relationships among these parts (1977:328). Therefore, to look at the
system we investigate the structure and organization of a system. Structure is meant
to indicate the number, nature, and arrangement of articulated subsystems (features)
(Tainter 1977). Organization constitutes the constraints imposed upon the ranges of
behaviors that may be pursued by the elements of the system (Tainter 1977).
Archaeologists are able to uncover both the structure and organization of the social
system through mortuary analysis.
Tainter writes, Mortuary activity incorporates the symbolic representation of
a greater range of the deceased individuals social identities than any other occasion
during life (Tainter 1977:329). Consequently, since social identities are acquired in
the structural components of the social system, the representation in mortuary ritual
simultaneously conveys information concerning the structural components. This is
important because to understand an individual and their position in society, according
to Goodenough, you must understand all the various social identities they possess and
how they use them in various contexts as their social persona (1965). Death then
provides a unique opportunity to see all of those social identities manifest at once.
Tainter proposed that two components signify the structure of mortuary
practice, the first is the social persona as defined by Goodenough (1965). Secondly,
the size and internal composition of the social unit, recognizing status responsibilities
of the individual, are important to the structure of mortuary practices (Tainter 1977).
Tainter points out that in any system of hierarchal ranking, increased relative ranking
of status positions will positively covary with an increase in the number of persons,
recognizing duty-status relationships with individuals holding such status positions
(1977). Also, the more distinct clusters of various levels of mortuary expenditure
found within a single group, the more social levels or ranks in the society being
investigated (Tainter 1977). Archaeologists could, therefore, make predictions about
the social system based on the size of the group, and how many distinct levels of
mortuary expenditure were found in association with that particular group. Tainter
believes that the determination of ranking is objective and cross-culturally valid due
to the large ethnographic sample he studied which all followed the same pattern
(1977). This is why processual archaeologists use mortuary data to reconstruct social
Binford (1971) and Saxe (1970) have stipulated that similarities and disposal of
the dead in the same fashion do not necessarily reflect contact between peoples
(Chapman and Randsborg 1981). Also, forms of burial correlate with the status of the
deceased, with any number of forms being used by one group. For example, Taiter
writes that Binford states, the large array of status relationships, which is
characteristic of persons of high rank, entitles the deceased to a larger amount of
corporate involvement in the act of internment, and to a larger degree of disruption of
normal community activities for the mortuary ritual (1977:332). In other words, the
more status you have, the more access to labor and goods outside of your family unit
will you command at the time of your death. This is reflected in the size and the
elaboration of the mortuary facility, method of handling and disposing of the corpse
and the nature of the grave associations. This theoretical stance holds that the
mortuary setting is an accurate reflection of the status and position the individual held
Then two major tenets of processual archaeology in investigating mortuary
practices are as follows: first, the status or rank of an individual is accurately reflected
in the internment and the associated goods included in the mortuary setting, allowing
for the reconstruction of any social hierarchy. Second, the social system of the group
being investigated can be recreated from mortuary data by investigating these social
relationships in terms of structure and organization.
Processual archaeology has also attempted to consider formation processes
and their effect on the mortuary assemblage (Chapman and Randsborg 1981). This
approach was developed to take into account formation of the archaeological record
itself. The formation process can compromise the preservation of the grave goods and
the human remains themselves. It leaves out some aspects of ritual and may over
emphasize others. Therefore, reconstructing all aspects of the burial ritual fully is
impossible. This process takes into account different burial methods such as
scaffolding burials, cremation, and other forms that may leave incomplete records of
mortuary activities. The methods for locating burials may also skew the data, such as
burial types commonly found during plowing fields. Formation processes take into
account that not all of the record is being examined by the archaeologist and complete
reconstruction is therefore impossible. Processualists use this argument to support
their etic-based approach to interpretation. This approach has been challenged by Ian
Hodder and other postprocessualists who support a more symbolic and emic
interpretation of the data.
In Ian Hodders edited volume, Symbolic and Structural Archaeology, two
articles pertain to mortuary practices. The first article is Mortuary practices, society
and ideology: An ethnoarchaeological study by Pearson (1982). The major import of
this article is the shift away from processual archaeology to postprocessualism which
lies in the importance placed on ideology. Pearson has used ethnoarchaeology and
social theory to develop a number of propositions. Pearson advances these
propositions based on his case study of modem and Victorian mortuary practices in
England. The case study is not important in this discussion. The importance of this
work is seen in the shift in theoretical perspectives. Pearson has dropped the
assumption of processual archaeology, that an individuals position in life is reflected
in death, and investigated ethnohistorically and ethnographically the effect of ideology
on mortuary practices.
Pearson came up with four major propositions from this case study
1. The symbolism of ritual communication does not necessarily
refer to the actual relations of power but to an idealized
expression of those relations.
2. Relations between living groups must be seen as relations of
influence and inequality where deceased individuals may be
manipulated for purposes of status aggrandisement between
those groups. Ideology as manifested in mortuary practices
may mystify or naturalize those relations of inequality between
groups or classes through the use of the past to legitimate the
3. The relationship between living and dead should be integrated in
studies of mortuary practices; in particular the new role of the
deceased individual and the context of death as a platform for
social advertisement must be accounted for.
4. Social advertisement in death ritual may be expressly overt
where changing relations of domination result in status
reordering and consolidation of new social positions.
These propositions are in contrast to those of the processualists. The processualists
use mortuary behaviour to reconstruct social order. The postprocessualists have taken
mortuary practice and have begun to utilize them to discuss social change. Pearson
writes, Mortuary ritual can no longer be treated as a field of archaeological enquiry
which is based on intracemetery variability since the treatment of the dead must be
evaluated within the wider social context as represented by all forms of material
remains (1981:112). This is developed further by Shanks and Tilley in their article
Ideology, symbolic power and ritual communication (1981).
Shanks and Tilley examine how the rituals involved with the dead are used to
manipulate society. This is an extension of Pearsons article in which they elaborate
on ideology and the role of mortuary ritual. Shanks and Tilley look at the
interpretation of mortuary ritual as part of the ideological legitimation of the social
order (1981). Shanks and Tilley define ideology as practice which operates to secure
the reproduction of relations of dominance and to conceal contradictions between the
structural principles orientating the actions of individual and groups with the social
formation (1981:130). This process is not seen as false-consciousness, in the
Marxian sense, but a blending of the ideal and the empirical. Shanks and Tilley state,
In this way the subject-object relation is neither a contemplation of the external
objective reality nor an ideal creation of the reality (Larrain 1979:40) (1981:130).
Ideology is used to legitimate the power of hegemonic groups by helping to maintain
the ideal through symbol. The symbolism connected with death is seen as another
vehicle of the ideological process for legitimizing a groups power.
Shanks and Tilley see this process as creating misrecognition of the situation
by the participants (1981). This misrecognition allows for a belief to be fostered
through symbols which creates a new legitimizing structure. Symbols continually
reproduce this situation in day to day life. This reproduction is due to the dialectic
constantly being recreated between social actions and forms of social consciousness.
Therefore, symbolic representations of the ideology act as a reproducing agent that
fosters the continual recreation of the system. The use of symbol in mortuary rituals is
an excellent vehicle for reproduction. Shanks and Tilley conclude their article,
Mortuary practices do not just reflect, they also invert and misrepresent. In this way
they may act as a powerful means to reproduce and legitimate the social order
This last statement by Shanks and Tilley is one of the major points of departure
from the processual school. This goes against processualist assumptions that
individuals are represented, through burial ritual, in death with the same social
positioning they held in life. Postprocessualists look at mortuary analysis as a key to
understanding power relations and how ritual and symbol are manipulated by societies
to maintain the social order. This is crucial to postprocessualists because they are not
satisfied with the processual explanation of change being driven only by external
factors such as the environment. The postprocessualists have looked for change
coming from internal factors found in the dialectic of power.
These two schools of thought, however, are not mutually exclusive. The
processual approach is extremely useful when little information is known about the
group that is under investigation. It allows for preliminary baseline study and
interpretation of underlying social structure when the lack of evidence does not allow
for a more thorough study as suggested by postprocessualists. As more evidence
becomes known and as our understandings of a culture develops we should take
advantage of the new information and further extend our investigations to look at how
ideology and the rituals associated with death may have been manipulated by the living
to uphold the status quo, or to invoke change.
Therefore, a mainly processual approach will be used here to construct a
baseline description of the cemetery and social structure at the site of San Francisco in
the Yauca Valley. Before proceeding with the current analysis, however, a review of
recent mortuary analysis in Peru is presented.
Current Mortuary Analysis in Peru
Although little mortuary analysis has been done in the Acari Valley and none in
the Yauca Valley, the following section draws attention to work done elsewhere in
Peru. The two schools of thought regarding the interpretation of mortuary sites have
both contributed to our knowledge of extinct cultures and lifeways in Peru.
Processualism has been the main interpretive tool used by most Andeanist for almost
fifty years. This fact is exemplified by the works of Menzel, Rowe, and other early
Andeanists as demonstrated in Chapter 3. Mortuary goods have been used to create
chronologies, including the master chronology for Peru, and to determine if social
stratification was present and if so what types of social organizations were present.
However, over the last few years there has been a shift in Andean work toward a more
This shift is seen in the articles included in a recent volume by Tom D.
Dillehav. Tombs for the Living: Andean Mortuary Practices (1995). A mixture of both
processual and postprocessual approaches is seen in this volume. For instance, Patrick
Carmichael employs the relative amount of energy invested in the internment of an
individual to categorize graves (1995). Carmichael explores intragroup pressures
related to land ownership and inheritance of vital resources in association with
ancestor worship as a means of validating ownership and status positions (1995).
Thus, Carmichael has successfully combined processual and postprocessual ideals
about mortuary analysis.
Jane Buikstras contribution follows Shanks and Tilley in showing how rituals
involved with the death of an individual were used to manipulate society and to
legitimate the social order ideologically in the Osmore drainage in southern Peru. This
is complemented by Robert Drennan who also explores the relationship between
political organization and mortuary practices (1995). Drennans study of San
Augustin culture of Columbia shows that the personal wealth of the deceased is not
what is being represented during the death ritual, but instead is the wealth of the
political leader that followed. In this example, relatively little economic differentiation
is recognized and the political structure has not become fully institutionalized.
Therefore, an individual must justify his/her own right to power by establishing ties
with the deceased.
This chapter has shown the utility of combining approaches in interpreting
mortuary data. The following study will concentrate on a processualist approach as
stated above. This study will concentrate on the social status and structure of the
group represented in the San Francisco cemetery. This will provide a base line study,
which future investigations will be able to build upon and extended to incorporate
postprocessual techniques that will allow for a more comprehensive interpretation of
the social structure of peoples in the Yauca Valley.
MORTUARY ANALYSIS OF MUMMY BUNDLES
The following study examined 46 mummy bundles recovered from the San
Francisco cemetery on the south coast of Peru. The San Francisco cemetery is located
in the Yauca Valley, PV-75-26, approximately six kilometers from the town of Yauca,
in the Fundo de San Francisco (Figure 5.1). (A map with the exact location was not
available to the author, therefore, please note that the location on the map is an
approximation.) It is located on the south side of the road next to the modem
cemetery (Figure 5.2). (This map is not to scale, but is a reconstruction of the site and
excavation units provided by the principal investigator of the excavations.)
San Francisco Cemetery
The site was brought to the attention of archaeologist Augusto Belan in July of
1987. Belan is a Professor of archaeology at the Universidad Catolica Santa Maria de
Arequipa. While excavating the site of Tambo Viejo in the Acari Valley, Belan was
informed of the site by RV. Padre Werner Muhil, the parish priest from San Pedro de
Yauca. When Belan visited the site, he was struck by the extensive looting that had
Figure 5.1 Map of the Yauca Valley and the Acari Valley. (Compiled
from Menzel 1986 and CIPS master site map.)
been carried out by huaqueros in the valley.
Belan determined that conducting an archaeological investigation of the site
was imperative before all archaeological information was lost due to looting.
Therefore, salvage excavations were conducted in two short field expeditions, the first
in November of 1987 and the second in March of 1988. These excavations were
carried out by Belan and his students from the Universidad Catolica Santa Maria de
Arequipa. During the 1988 field session Belan was joined by Francis Riddell and other
members of the California Institute for Peruvian Studies, visiting during the
These two field sessions collected valuable information about the prehistoric
cemetery of San Francisco. The excavations recovered approximately 120 bundles
between the two field sessions. The bundles were recovered from two meter by two
meter units laid out as showed on Figure 5.2. Unfortunately, due to circumstances
beyond the control of the investigators, information has been misplaced during the
long period between this study and the actual excavation. Therefore, the exact
provenience and association of each mummy are not known at this time. Two of
Belans students are currently working with the materials recovered from the 1987
excavation at San Francisco. This work will help provide more information on the
excavation and the association of the mummies with one another and to the other
grave goods included within each tomb.
Although other grave goods were included within each tomb, those artifacts
are not included in this current study. The artifacts did not appear to be associated
with any specific individuals, but instead were probably included as group offerings for
the entire tomb. These offerings included two llamas, pottery, maize, and gourds. I
was not able to view these extra grave goods during my short visit in 1994. The
deposito where the bundles were kept was a short term storage facility being used
while other repository facilities were being used. Therefore, not all of the goods and
bundles recovered during the two field sessions were available for inspection. Since
this study is specifically interested in the relationship of the individual to the group, the
lack of these artifacts is not considered a hinderance. However, they are important for
placing the site chronologically. Belan stated that there was Late Acari and possibly
Inca pottery recovered during excavation. These ceramic pieces were used to
determine the age of the cemetery. As noted in Chapter 5, Late Acari is associated
with the Late Intermediate, but recent findings by Fairchild (1996), supporting
Menzels initial seriation, have pushed forward those dates into the late Late
Horizon, and possibly, even the early Colonial period. Therefore, based on the Late
Acari ceramic dates of Fairchild and the possible Inca pot, the cemetery has been dated
to circa A.D. 1500.
Mummy Bundles Recovered from San Francisco
The mummy bundles themselves are the subject of this study. The majority of
bundles were in very good physical condition with the exterior of the bundles intact
and the position of the body has been maintained (Figures 5.3-5.5). However, some
bundles had begun to deteriorate and slumping was noted. The deterioration process
has persisted since the bundles were recovered due to the storage problems noted
earlier. Most of the sample from the cemetery was in good to excellent condition at
the time this study was conducted.
Due to the excellent preservation of these bundles it is hoped that a non-
intrusive method can be used in the future to determine the contents of each bundle.
For this reason, the bundles were left intact and none of the bundles have been
unwrapped to date. Those non-invasive techniques under consideration currently
include x-rays and CAT scanning. Therefore, this study only utilized those bundle
goods visible from the exterior.
Leaving the bundles fully intact has also limited the ability to determine age and
sex. The ages given for each bundle are based on size and are consequently limited to
estimations of adult, juvenile and infant. Adults would include children of puberty age
Figure 5.4. Mummy bundle C61, full front view.
(teenagers) and older based on their overall size. Juveniles would include all ages not
included in the other two categories.. Finally, infants are included as very small to
large babies. Future investigation may reveal more complete age gradients.
The sex of the individual is also unknown. Without a complete physical
examination of the body, the sex of the individual cannot be determined. Flowever, in
this study the issue of gender will be addressed based on the bundle goods. It should
be noted that at least three of the adult bundles are most likely females (C2FardoF,
C2P, C2W). This determination was based on the inclusion of an infant within the
bundle. The presence of the infants was determined by two separate methods. Two of
the bundles were beginning to deteriorate around the bottom. During examination of
these, obviously adult sized bundles, small infant bones began to drop out of the
bottom of the bundle. The other bundle was intact and very well preserved. The
presence of a strange rounded bulge in the front of the bundle was investigated and the
cranium of an infant was detected. This would suggest that the mother and infants
most likely died during child birth or very shortly afterwards. It should be noted here
that all three are from the same unit. This may indicate a special area for mothers and
children within the cemetery. These are the only bundles with any direct evidence
suggesting the sex of the individual.
The only variable of the bundles that is uniformly distributed across all
individuals is the body position. All adults are in a flexed, seated position. This
position has been noted for the South Coast area at least as early as the Middle
Horizon (Kowta 1987). Bundles from the Tambo Viejo cemetery in the Acari Valley
are also in a flexed or semi-flexed position. The San Francisco bundles have the
individuals hands in either the lap between the chest and legs, or the arms wrapped
around the knees. The infants and juveniles are not flexed, but instead are laid out flat
and then wrapped. These two ways of positioning the body, according to age
differences, are consistent for the entire lot.
The textile analysis included the following: an evaluation of the overall
condition and the structure of each textile; specific damage to the textile surface
discoloration, losses/breaks/ abrasions, and corrosion and encrustations; repairs made
after recovery; cleaning; evidence of wear and/or repair; an estimation of the size;
selvedge treatments; the number of webs in a piece; header cords; and the presence of
seams including the number, direction and type, weave type, and any included designs.
Along with the over all information about the textile piece, information on
construction was also gathered for both warps and wefts including: fiber content;
thread diameter, count of threads per cm2; spin/ply and reply; and, color. Irene
Emerys classification system was used in this study to describe the textiles (1980).
This information is all recorded in Appendix B for those readers interested in specific
information about the textiles. For this study, the only information used from the
textile analyses are on design, fiber content, and variations of weave type not common
to all bundles.
The overall construction of most pieces was extremely similar. An
overwhelming majority, 93 percent, of the textile pieces were plain weaves with either
a warp or warp dominant pattern. Only 3.1 percent was plain weave and either
balanced or weft dominant weaves. Finally, 3.7 percent were complex weaves