Mortuary practices of the Middle Preceramic period (ca. 8500-4000 B.P.) are discussed for the Nanchoc region of the upper Zaña Valley, northern Peru. Careful breaking, cutting, and placement of human bones from adult males during the Las Pircas Phase (8500-6000 B.P. ) gave way to more haphazard breakage and discard during the subsequent Tierra Blanca Phase (6000-5000 B.P.). The evidence of cannibalism is considered. Bone breakage, cutting, and possibly cannibalism is believed to have been part of a broader process of ritualization that mitigated the spiritual danger of the transition from hunting-gathering to horticulture.

Este trabajo discute las prácticas mortuorias del Período Precerámico Medio (ca. 8500 - 4000 A.P.) de la región Nanchoc del Valle superior de Zaña del norte de Perú. Rompimiento de huesos en forma cuidadosa, cortes y entierro de huesos de hombres adultos durante la Fase Las Pircas (8500 - 600 A.P.) da lugar a un quebramiento mas al azar de huesos y subsecuente descarte en la Fase Tierra Blanca (6000 - 5000 A. P.). Se considera la posibilidad de canibalismo. Las quebraduras de huesos, cortes y posiblemente el canibalismo podrían haber sido parte importante de un amplio proceso de rituales que mitigaban el peligro espiritual de la transición de los cazadores recolectores a la horticultura.

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Published in Chungará, v. 33, no. 1.

All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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Funding for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, University of Kentucky, and the Center for Field Research (Earthwatch).