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‘Doing’ Llama Face Stew: A Late Moche Culinary Assemblage as a Domestic Dedicatory Deposit

  • Guy S. Duke (a1)

Abstract

Presented here is a meal from a simple cooking vessel, excavated from the Late Moche (AD 600–850) site of Wasi Huachuma on the north coast of Peru. This meal, cooked in a whole, plain vessel and spilled beneath the floor of a domestic structure, was unambiguously marked by a large stone embedded in the floor. It contained diverse plant and animal materials associated with the sea, the coastal plains, the highlands and the jungle. Via its contents and placement, this meal embodies the ways in which the domestic world of exchange and interaction was deeply entangled with the spiritual and political. All at once, this meal was utilitarian, domestic, industrial, ritually charged and politically embedded. Within it, the fruits of communities, geographical regions and ideas were assembled together to be realized as a dedicatory offering within, and potentially to, this domestic structure. I argue that this meal both contains and is contained by a milieu that is eminently local and mundane as well as worldly and supernatural.

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