Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Human Sacrifice on the North Coast of Peru: Recent Discoveries Pose New Questions

October 17th, 2014
4 PM

Location
Dinwiddie Hall Room 102

The Tulane Anthropology Student Association (TASA) presents a talk by Dr. John Verano, Professor of Anthropology, entitled “Human Sacrifice on the North Coast of Peru: Recent Discoveries Pose New Questions,” at 4 PM on Friday, October 17th. The talk will discuss his recent excavations and analysis of what may be the largest child sacrifice ever found in the New World.

ABSTRACT:
A number of discoveries of human sacrifices have been made in northern coastal Peru over the past decade. Nearly every new find calls into question previous models that have attempted to characterize and interpret ritual killing in Pre-Columbian Peru. With this growing sample we are seeing increasing variability in the demographic profile of victims, the ways in which they were sacrificed, and the location and manner in which their bodies were buried. Dividing lines between traditional categories such as executed captives, retainers and dedicatory burials are becoming blurred as new discoveries are made. Careful contextual and bioarchaeological examination of these assemblages is essential if we are to make some sense of this growing corpus of data.

This presentation will draw on excavation and laboratory data collected this past summer from what appears to be the largest child sacrifice ever found in the New World. This discovery provides a unique window into a previously unknown form of mass offering of children and llamas that was made by the Chimú State about six hundred years ago. The ways in which it is similar to other north coast sacrifices and the ways in which it is unique will be explored, with a focus on analytic methods in bioarchaeology, stable isotope geochemistry and paleogenetics that may provide insight into the identities and origins of the sacrificial victims.

A light reception will follow.

Please email TASA (tulaneasa@gmail.com) if you have any questions.

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