Lecture by J. Marla Toyne: Life and Death in the Ancient Peruvian Cloud Forest: Advances in Chachapoya Bioarchaeology
Dec 12, 2018
J. Marla Toyne
University of Central Florida
MPI SHH Jena
Ancient communities shaped everyday existence as they were constructed to meet the changing needs of those living together. Most communities in the north-eastern Andean highlands of Peru, even into the later prehistoric periods, remained disperse and of small to moderate size, yet Kuelap (AD 800 – 1470) is one of the largest in this region. On top of the monumental stone platform are the remains of over 420 house structures, several public plazas, and the unique Tintero (Major Temple). Yet, no less than 9 different types of mortuary patterns have been identified at the site, which may suggest that the burial population represented diverse beliefs, social identities, or origins. Was Kuelap more than just a single community, but a collective of regional ethnic groups? This presentation explores the new and original analysis of the bioarchaeological data from the distinct mortuary contexts excavated across the site. I describe and define the skeletal patterns of health indicators, diet, disease, and lifestyle from the over 600 individuals excavated at the site. Figuring out who was buried at Kuelap might help us understand who was living at Kuelap and the purpose of this enigmatic site.