The study of burial patterns constitutes an important component of the examination of the ancient political organization and social identity. I believe that the study of tombs and their relationship to the landscape permits a discussion of how ancient peoples perceived the dead, as well as inform archaeologists about ritual practices. Burials can shed insight on those rituals and their relationship with the political and social organization by associating the type of tombs to large-scale modifications in public and ceremonial architecture.
Our research examines how changes in mortuary patterns were associated with transformations in political and social organization between AD 200 and 1600. There are 4 main categories of tombs: 1) funeral caves, 2) subterranean tombs, 3) cist tombs, and 4) chullpas (above ground burial structures). By applying a diachronic approach, we study: 1) how variation in tombs is reflected in public and ceremonial architecture, 2) if changes in tombs occur contemporaneously with changes in public and ceremonial architecture, 3) if there is continuity in the use of some type of tombs, and 4) rituals associated with the dead. Particular emphasis will be placed on the examination of chullpas holding over 50 individuals. Chullpas were places where ayllu-based social organization materialized. Ayllus were social groups based on kin with a common ancestor that worshiped a huaca or a sacred mountain. They were important because ayllus controlled rights over land, water, and labor management. Combining data of mortuary and settlement patterns, we will explore the links between changes in mortuary practice and changing sociopolitical circumstances in the region.
Our research examines how changes in mortuary patterns were associated with transformations in the political and social organization between AD 200 and 1600. By applying a diachronic approach, we study, how variation in tombs is reflected in public and ceremonial architecture; if there is continuity in the use of some type of tombs, and rituals associated with the dead. Tombs were places where ayllu -based social organization materialized.
Huari-Ancash Bio-Archaeological Research Project