Feasting and ancestor veneration at Chinchawas, North Highlands of Ancash, Peru

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The present article considers evidence for ancestor veneration and feasting in the North Highlands (Department of Ancash), Peru between A. D. 500-900. The study draws upon ethnohistorical, iconographic, and archaeological comparisons to better understand different lines of data from the ancient Recuay community of Chinchawas (3,850 masl), including public and mortuary architecture, ceramics, faunal remains, and stone sculpture. Two major programs of religious activity can be discerned: one situated within local Recuay traditions (Kayán and Chinchawasi phases, A. D. 500-800), followed by a suite of intrusive patterns associated with Wari expansion (Warmi phase, after A. D. 800). The study argues that, by A. D. 500, special public ceremonies combined ancestor worship and feasting as part of community politics at the site. Chinchawasi practices included subterranean tombs, special architectural enclosures with monolithic sculptures, and evidence for large-scale consumption. Warmi practices appear smaller in scale, focusing on aboveground mausolea, different stone sculptural forms and iconography, and increasing evidence for interregional interaction. The diachronic patterns reflect: 1) flexible sociopolitical arrangements at Chinchawas that accommodated group and entrepreneurial interests, and 2) local sociocultural transformations associated with Wari expansion (ca. A. D. 750).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-304
Number of pages26
JournalLatin American Antiquity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002

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