Chapter

Surviving Contact: Biological Transformation, Burial, and Ethnogenesis in the Colonial Lambayeque Valley, North Coast of Peru

KELLY J. KNUDSON and CHRISTOPHER M. STOJANOWSKI

in Bioarchaeology and Identity in the Americas

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780813036786
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041865 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813036786.003.0006
Surviving Contact: Biological Transformation, Burial, and Ethnogenesis in the Colonial Lambayeque Valley, North Coast of Peru

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The profound biocultural interchange resulting from European contact produced a variety of indigenous experiences. In this chapter, multiple lines of evidence are integrated to infer the changing experience of the post-colonial Mochica from San Pedro de Mórrope. Postcontact declines in health are consistent with fragmentary Lambayeque ethnohistoric records suggesting harsh labor extraction and Spanish success at dismantling pre-Hispanic socioeconomic systems of collective well-being. Simultaneously, colonial mortuary patterns at Mórrope involved preservation of Mochica identity including complex ritual manipulations of skeletal remains. The agency of the indigenous Mochica not only forged a hybrid culture, but death rituals were a locus of social memory and symbolic resistance to colonization, endeavoring to buffer the potentially catastrophic effects of conquest. Ultimately, this contextualized case study illustrates interrelationships between health outcomes, ethnogenesis and identity, and the dynamic adaptations of indigenous peoples in postcontact Peru.

Keywords: Mochica; Peru; ethnogenesis; biodistance analysis

Chapter.  8568 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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