Nav: Home

Understanding Andean concepts of death and renewal

May 15, 2018

Research in the Andes has yielded evidence for a complex association between settlement sites and mortuary monuments, tied to concepts of death, ancestor veneration and water.

In the case-study Carved Rocks and Subterranean Burials at Kipia, Ancash, AD 1000 - 1532 published in De Gruyter's journal Open Archaeology, authors Kevin Lane, Emma Pomeroy and Milton Reynaldo Lújan Davila analyse the Prehispanic-Spanish Colonial multi-faceted site of Kipia, in the Ancash highlands in Peru.

The site contains two small settlements, a cosmological centre, and a funerary sector of subterranean tombs. The author's study reveals the stunning relation between ceremonial sites and cemeteries which underpins complex Andean concepts of death and renewal.

The authors paid special attention to the cosmological core of the site, which is arranged around a series of carved rocks - huanca -, a central huaca ¬(deity/ancestor), and a communal subterranean tomb. It was discovered that the various features of the site can be related to the surrounding landscape, which is remarkable since archaeological examples establishing a direct link between site and landscape in the Andes are not common. Even more remarkable is the fact that the discovery is supplemented by bioarchaeological data (the analyzed subterranean tomb - pukullo - presented in the research).

In the Prehispanic Andes the landscape was innately animated, and Kipia is positioned at the center of its particular physical environment. In this sense, Kipia was not just a repository for the dead, but more widely a place of communion between the living and the departed, associated to the central huaca-huanca, and the other carved rock-faces.

The importance of Kipia lies in its role as a local huaca dedicated to the lightening deity in which overt manifestations of life and death cohabited. In turn, Kipia linked into a network of other larger potentially sacred sites, such as the lakes.

Excavated, comparative highland Late Intermediate Period (AD 1000-1450) tombs are limited, especially ones linked to important sacred sites. In synthesis, this study makes a valuable contribution to the very limited literature on the use of communal burial structures in the Andes that is based on excavation, detailed osteological analysis and is in direct connection with a particular sacred landscape.

Dr. Alexis Mantha, an expert on Andean Archeology from Université Montréal, outlines: "This article provides a very interesting and rare case study of a complex animated ritual landscape in the highlands of Ancash, Peru, during late Andean prehistory. The authors convincingly examine the intricate ritual relationships among the skeletal content of a subterranean tomb (pukullo) and other features of the surrounding landscape such as a stone monolith (huanca), peaks and highland lakes."
-end-


De Gruyter

Related Death Articles:

Death by volcano?
he discovery of anomalously high levels of mercury in rocks from the Ordivician geological period has led to a new interpretation of the ensuing mass extinction.
Starvation causes atypical cell death
Researchers from IDIBELL -- within the Marie Curie ITN TRAIN-ERs -- have characterized the cell death process due to starvation, in which the endoplasmic reticulum plays a leading role.
Does death of a sibling in childhood increase risk of death in surviving children?
Bereavement in childhood due to the death of a sibling was associated with an increased risk for death in both the short and long term, according to a new article published by JAMA Pediatrics.
A kiss of death to drug the 'undruggable'
Scientists at the University of Dundee have reported a major breakthrough in targeting the causes of many diseases, using a 'kiss of death' to destroy proteins which had previously been regarded as 'undruggable.'
Overall rate of death from cancer decreases in US
The overall rate of death from cancer declined about 20 percent between 1980 and 2014; however, there are distinct clusters of counties in the US with particularly high cancer mortality rates, according to a study in the Jan.
Now entering 'the valley of death'
Amid Trump comments and stock dive, let WUSTL expert in drug research and development Michael Kinch walk you through pharma 'Valley of Death.'
An 'IRBIT'uary before cell death
Billions of cells in our bodies die every day in an important process called apoptosis.
A new light on stellar death
An international group of astronomers illuminates the role rapidly spinning black holes play in tidal disruption events.
How this Martian moon became the 'Death Star'
For the first time, physicists at LLNL have demonstrated how an asteroid or comet impact could have created Stickney crater without destroying Phobos completely.
Postmortem genetic testing may help determine cause of death after sudden unexpected death
In a study appearing in the Oct. 11 issue of JAMA, Ali Torkamani, Ph.D., of Scripps Translational Science Institute, La Jolla, Calif., and colleagues report preliminary results from a family-based, postmortem genetic testing study.

Related Death Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...