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Scattered Skeletons & Curated Corpses: Cases of Tricky Taphonomy Alana Cordy-Collins, Ph.D. Professor of Anthropology University of San Diego.

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Presentation on theme: "Scattered Skeletons & Curated Corpses: Cases of Tricky Taphonomy Alana Cordy-Collins, Ph.D. Professor of Anthropology University of San Diego."— Presentation transcript:

1 Scattered Skeletons & Curated Corpses: Cases of Tricky Taphonomy Alana Cordy-Collins, Ph.D. Professor of Anthropology University of San Diego

2 The North Coast of Peru

3 Curated Corpses

4 Sipán 1988 Only disarticulated tomb occupants = 3 adult females

5 San José de Moro

6 5-7 yrs: cervical & thoracic vertebral skewing; both hands absent L: yr old female; thoracic disarticulation; hand bones loose behind pelvis; mandible disarticulated & rotated 180° San José de Moro Tomb of Elite Child

7 San José de Moro Tomb of Priestess #1 R: partially disarticulated juvenile: mandible by L radius/ulna; R arm = radius only Foot of Tomb (N..end)

8 San José de Moro Tomb of Priestess #1 Priestess fully articulated East adult female: cervical & thoracic vertebral disarticulation & sternal slippage West adult female: cervical & most thoracic vertebrae, most ribs, both hands & feet, etc. absent Head of Tomb (S end)

9 San José de Moro Tomb of Priestess #2 Priestess before complete excavation: skeleton intact & articulated, however Head of Tomb (S end) Adult female with subtle disturbance of cranium slumped over thorax

10 Dos Cabezas 1994

11 Dos Cabezas Tomb B Female 40+ years: all vertebrae & ribs out of position; R humerus rotated 180°

12 Scattered Skeletons

13 San José de Moro Tomb of Priestess #2 Last interment: year old female Penultimate interment: year old female Majority of skeleton absent, L femur inverted, R navicular inside maxilla Both femora inverted; L proximal humerus in vertical position; other disarticulations

14 San José de Moro Tomb of Priestess #2 Foot of Tomb (N..end) Partial female age Partial female age Gracile cranium age 18-30

15 Dos Cabezas: Tomb B Gracile ca. 25 year old: radii,R ulna, post-femorals, but missing R patella, L foot Juvenile years: L & R patellae, tibiae, tarsals- phalanges, L fibula Female, ca 40 years: cranium, manubrium, R clavicle, scapulae (R intact), humeri (proximal L intact), 6 thoracic vertebrae; parrot bone

16 WHY? Data review: 1all relocated bodies are female or children 2no adult males have been found as either Curated Corpses or Scattered Skeletons Hypothesis : only females and children (female children?) were sought as ancestral companions of the newly and important dead Ancestor worship? No written records for ancient San José de Moro or Dos Cabezas The Inka are well known for the practice

17 Dos Cabezas: 2000 Adult male: Tomb looted in antiquity Normal accompanying female burial absent, no other grave goods present Male casually reinterred


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