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Mummy Dearest: Post-Mortem Mortuary Alteration in Andahuaylas, Peru (AD 1000-1400)


1, Schneider


2 Delay

and Danielle

2 Kurin

of Anthropology, Colorado College; 2Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University

This poster provides a general overview of mummified human remains from the highland Andahuaylas region of Apurmac, Peru. The sample used for this study is part of the permanent collection at the Museo Andahuaylas and consists of 16 individuals in various states of completeness. These remains are associated with the Chanka society which populated the region ca. AD 1000-1400. The Chanka emerged as a regional power following the collapse of the Wari Empire ca. AD 1000. The Chanka were ultimately vanquished by the Inca after an epic battle in the 15th century (Bauer and Kellett 2010). This study reports on unique aspects of Chanka mummification - such as body positioning, bundling, and associated artifacts - as well as any visible skeletal pathology, trauma, and modification. This research attempts to identify major hallmarks of Chanka mummification, including evisceration, grave goods and bundling. By examining these practices, this research aims to identify which members of Chanka society were mummified, what variations in these practices mean and how Chanka mummification relates to broader Andean mortuary behaviors.

Mummification in Andahuaylas
In this sample the prevalent mummification method involved evisceration of the thoracic cavity accompanied by insertion of the legs into the space created by the removal of the internal organs. Of the 13 individuals who were intact enough for an examination of the thoracic cavity, 8 (61.5%) had been visibly eviscerated. Only two individuals (6 and 7) were not eviscerated. In those cases. the legs were bent at the knees and pelvis and positioned to the side of the torso. Both of these individuals were approximately five years of age or less, and it could be inferred that there is a correlation between their age, small size and lack of evisceration.

Special Cases
Two individuals showed evidence of pre, peri or postmortem trauma. Individual 11, a young adult male, presented an area of pre or perimortem trauma on the superior portion of the occipital. Loose skin conceals this area, so the damage could not be more closely inspected to look for blow patterns or healing. Individual 15, a juvenile, presented with multiple cut marks on the body. Cut marks on the posterior left illium, near the anterior gluteal line, may indicate cutting of the gluteal muscles. Individual 15 was eviscerated with the legs inserted into the thoracic cavity and the possibility of the gluteal muscles being cut in order to facilitate this holds potential for further research. The left clavicle showed cut marks on the anterior midshaft with bloodstaining in the same area. Cut marks were also present on the ventral anterior shaft of left ribs 2 and 4, as well as on the posterior angle of the right 11th rib.

Posterior inferior view of individual 11s crania, with a rod indicating the trauma site.

Province of Andahuaylas, Apurimac, Peru

Left to Right: Individual 7 with legs positioned to the side of the uneviscerated torso; Individual 12 with legs inserted inside of the thoracic cavity; Close up of the eviscerated torso of individual 8

Standard bioarchaeological methods as outlined by Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994) were used to examine our sample. When the condition of the individual allowed, an estimation of age and sex as well as any trauma or pathology was also recorded. Age was determined by dental eruption and wear, cranial suture closure and epiphyseal fusion. Sex was determined based on overall rugosity and sexually dimorphic characteristics of the skull and pelvis. In several cases, it was possible to determine sex using preserved soft tissue remains. For each mummified individual, we documented the positioning of the body, binding and bundling methods, associated artifacts, and mummification methods within our sample based on a qualitative, visual examination. To gauge the health of individuals, trauma and pathology were also recorded.

Grave Goods
Within the sample, 5/16 (31%) were associated with an object deliberately included in their burial. . Gourd fragments were found in the thoracic cavity of individual 1 and within the bundle of individual 2. An x-ray examination of individual 3 revealed a camelid bone tool within the mummy bundle. The bundle of individual 5 was associated with a strip of dyed, patterned fabric and individual 8 included the remnant of a leather shoe on the left foot. Due to the incomplete and damaged nature of a significant portion of the sample, it is likely that there were originally additional objects associated with these burials.
Left to Right: Individual 11; Close up of cut marks on the posterior left illium of individual 11

Multiple individuals showed various pathologies. Individual 6, an infant, showed evidence of porotic hyperstosis on the parietals and occipital. Individual 9, a female aged 15-20 at death, presented slight cribra orbitalia in the right eye orbit. Individual 12 (left), a female aged 35 + at death, presented three large lesions on the plantar surface of the right food.


Guaman Pomas (c. 1616) depiction of Andean mummy internment rituals

Plantar lesions

Sample Demographics
The sample demonstrated to be demographically diverse and contained six probable males, five probable females and five indeterminate individuals. A wide range of ages were represented, including four infants and children, two juveniles, seven young to middle aged adults, and three middle aged to old adults. Cranial modification was observed on 7/16 (43.7%) of the individuals. Within our sample, four individuals were complete or relatively complete, nine displayed damage including missing limbs, etc., and three were reduced to cranial and vertebral elements.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Left to Right: Remnant of leather shoe on individual 8s left foot; Dyed fabric associated with individual 5; X-Ray of individual 3 revealing associated camelid tool

Another major feature of Chanka mummification in Andahuaylas is bundling. Within our sample, 5 individuals (31%) had an intact or relatively intact bundle and 8 additional individuals showed evidence that they had once been bundled (such as fabric remnants, impressions of string binding on fingers, and compacted position of limbs). The bundles generally included cloth and rope, although stylistic variations were seen within our sample. Evisceration was generally associated with bundling as was the positioning of the individuals hands on either side of the face. In this overview of Chanka mummification practices, a number of preliminary conclusions can be drawn. Our sample was diverse, representing both sexes as well as a range of ages, suggesting that mummification may have been widely available across demographic groups in Andahuaylas. Notably, a lack of evidence of social stratification in Andahuaylan mortuary structures dating to the Late Intermediate Period has been observed in other studies (Bauer and Kellett 2010). Within this sample mummification practices were not completely standardized, but did have three main hallmarks: evisceration, grave goods and bundling. Evisceration was common, but not universal, and bundling styles as well as the inclusion of grave goods varied. This variation could be attributed to differing time periods, differences of status or ethnicity, or demographic shifts and social change during the Late Intermediate Period (Bauer and Kellett 2010). However, it is difficult to definitively measure and classify this variation because of our small sample size. Notably, the mortuary patterns observed in this sample seem to be consistent with broader Andean patterns. The body positioning (tightly flexed with legs raised to the chest) seen in our sample was also common among the Wari (Isbell 2004) and the Nasca (Valdez 2006). Despite the unknown burial origins of this sample, mortuary excavations in Andahuaylas (Kurin 2012) indicate that these preserved human remains were likely ritually disinterred and reinterred over successive generations, and venerated by descendants (Gaither 2008).

20-35 Years 35+ Years 35+ Years 0-6 Years 15-20 Years 6-18 Months 3-5 Years 7-11 Years 15-20 Years 15-20 Years 20-35 Years 35+ Years 1-2 Years 20-30 Years 6-14 Years 20-50 Years


Trauma, Pathology, and Modification

Cranial Modification; Bony Growth on Posterior Sacrum Cranial Modification; Poor dental health Cranial Modification Cranial Modification Cranial Modification; Porotic hyperostosis on the parietals and occipital

F F M M F M Perimortum trauma on occipital 3 large lesions on the heel, arch and first metatarsal/phalanx joint of the right foot Cranial Modification Focal bone loss on patellar surface of left femur and on several lower thoracic vertebral bodies Cut marks on posterior of left innominate, left clavicle, anterior surface of left ribs 2 and 4, and on posterior of right rib 11 M
Left to Right; Individual 2 with intact bundle; Individual 3 with exposed crania

Cranial Modification; Cribra orbitalia in right eye orbit; Unidentified bump on left side of mouth- possible inclusion of coca leaves

Left to Right: Binding impressions on the fingers of Individual 11; Individual 4 demonstrating a bundle style unique within our sample; Damaged bundle of Individual 5

References Cited
Bauer, BS and LC Kellett. 2010. Cultural Transformations of the Chanka Homeland (Andahuaylas, Peru) During the Late Intermediate Period (A.D. 1000-1400). Latin American Antiquity 21(1):87-111. Buikstra, JE, Ubelaker, DH. 1994. Standards for data collection from human skeletal remains: proceedings of a seminar at the Field Museum of Natural History. Research Series No. 44. Fayetteville: Arkansas Archeological Survey. Gaither, C, K Kent, VV Sanchez, TR Tham. 2008. Mortuary Practices and Human Sacrifice in the Middle Chao Valley of Peru: Their Interpretation in the Context of Andean Mortuary Patterning. Latin American Antiquity 19(2): 107-121. Isbell, WH. 2004. Mortuary Preferences: A Wari Culture Case Study from Middle Horizon Peru. Latin American Antiquity 15(1):3-32. Kurin, Danielle S. 2012. The Bioarchaeology of Collapse: Ethnogenesis and Ethnocide among the Chanka of Post-Imperial Andahuaylas, Peru (AD 900-1250). Unpublished PhD Dissertation. Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University. Valdez, LM, KJ Bettcher, JA Ochatoma, JE Valdez. 2006. Mortuary Preferences and Selected References: A Comment on Middle Horizon Wari Burials. World Archaeology 38(4):672-689.
Acknowledgments This research was supported by a Fulbright-Hays DDRF, award # P022A090074. Special thanks to E Gomez Choque, and the Proyecto Bioarqueologico Andahuaylas crew. Thanks to TA Tung and Livia Rae Tung for the opportunity for AS and KD to work in Andahuaylas.
771h Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology Meetings April 19, 2012, Memphis, TN