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Mortuary preferences and selected references: a comment on Middle Horizon Wari burials

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Wari, mortuary practices, prehispanic, Andes, Peru, Middle Horizon

Abstract (summary)

In a recently published paper, Isbell (2004; see also Isbell 2000; Isbell and Cook 2002) reports the finding of several Wari mortuary structures from the site of Conchopata. On the basis of this information and additional data from the main Wari site also in the Ayacucho Valley, Isbell has developed a Wari mortuary typology varying from very simple graves to an elaborate chamber complex that is argued to be the tomb of ‘an emperor’. Isbell argues that this mortuary variability mirrors status difference and social inequality. At the same time, Isbell asserts that some high-ranking Wari individuals practiced polygyny. While the paper under consideration provides important data for understanding Wari society, Isbell unfortunately has ignored other equally relevant information. Indeed, published reports of other Wari mortuary structures excavated during the last six years in the Ayacucho Valley are not included in the discussion. Consequently, Isbell's analysis is incomplete and misleading. To amend this situation, our aim is to present the information that we and other colleagues have accumulated in the Ayacucho Valley. All available data considered, Wari mortuary variability is even greater than the simple hierarchical typology promoted by Isbell.

Publication Information

Valdez, Lidio M., Katrina J. Bettcher, José A. Ochatoma, and J. Ernesto Valdez. "Mortuary Preferences and Selected References: A Comment on Middle Horizon Wari Burials." World Archaeology 38, no. 4 (2006): 672-689. doi:10.1080/00438240600963379.


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