Ritual Killing on the North Coast of Peru: New Discoveries and a Synthesis of Sacrifice in the Andean World by Haagen Klaus, PhD
This meeting will be held at the Charles Sumner School, 17th & M Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.
The meeting starts with refreshments at 6:45 pm and the lecture begins at 7:15 pm.
Over the last 30 years, discoveries of an increasing number of settings of ancient ritual killing on the north coast of Peru revolutionized elements of Andean art history, archaeology, and bioarchaeology. Much of this work has been focused on the Moche culture. There remain many questions about the spatial variation of sacrifice, its change over time, and ritual diversity. A series of discoveries since 2002 by different groups of scholars not only deepens the picture of Moche ritual violence and society, but for the very first time also reconstructs a broader sequence of sacrifice on the north coast over the last 1,800 years. In this talk, these discoveries will be synthesized to demonstrate the development of multiple traditions of ritual killing beginning around 200 AD.
Ritual killing evolved beyond the collapse of the Moche culture into new and unprecedented forms and scales during the Middle Sicán, Chimú, and provincial Inka eras. Topics to be covered include a near-bewildering diversity of Moche rituals including victim strangulation, mutilation, and dismemberment; the origins of child and female sacrifice in the Late Intermediate period; entanglements between politics and ritual violence; and the recognition of continua of human, animal, and object sacrifices. The talk concludes with new questions and an outline of a possible agenda for the next two decades of archaeological and bioarchaeological research on ritual violence on the north coast of Peru.
Haagen D. Klaus is an assistant professor of anthropology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He is the director of the Lambayeque Valley Biohistory Project, launched in 2003, and is an associate investigator at the Sicán National Museum and the Brüning National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Peru. His research spans human biology and microevolution, paleopathology, mortuary archaeology, and cultural history in the pre-Hispanic and Colonial Central Peru.