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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE DEVIANT: NON-NORMATIVE GRAVES AT TUMILACA LA CHIMBA (AD 950-1300), MOQUEGUA, PERU

Abstract

Archaeologists study mortuary contexts both to examine how the dead were treated and mourned and to reconstruct social organization, belief systems, and identity structures in the past. When analyzing cemeteries archaeologists identify a standard repertoire of funerary treatments (including the location and shape of a burial, the orientation and position of a body or bodies, and grave offerings interred with the corpse) at a site. Burials that deviate from these norms are referred to as “deviant” or non-normative graves, and often reflect something distinct about the deceased individual (e.g. an outcast, a criminal, or suicide). In this poster, we examine non-normative burials at Tumilaca la Chimba, an archaeological site in southern Peru. There were two phases of occupation at this village site. The first dates to the terminal Middle Horizon (Terminal MH) (AD 950-1200), the centuries immediately following the collapse of the Tiwanaku state. The second occupation dates to the Late Intermediate Period (LIP) (ca AD 1250-1470), a period of regional political fragmentation. At Tumilaca la Chimba, both occupations are represented by cemeteries as well as residential sectors. Drawing on excavation data collected over the past decade and on analyses of excavated material from a total of 85 graves, we identify non-normative burials in the terminal Middle Horizon and the LIP cemeteries at Tumilaca la Chimba. We demonstrate that although funerary practices were not radically different between the two occupations, concepts of non-normative burial differed between the terminal Middle Horizon and the LIP. Situating my data in the wider literature on Tumilaca la Chimba and the region, we conclude that the changes in non-normative burial are explained by the changing socio-political context of this tumultuous period in Andean pre-history.

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