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Assessing the Chronology and Rewrapping of Funerary Bundles at the Prehispanic Religious Center of Pachacamac, Peru

  • Mai K. Takigami (a1), Izumi Shimada (a2), Rafael Segura (a2), Sarah Muno (a2), Hiroyuki Matsuzaki (a3), Fuyuki Tokanai (a4), Kazuhiro Kato (a4), Hitoshi Mukai (a5), Omori Takayuki (a6) and Minoru Yoneda (a6)...

Abstract

Over 30 funerary bundles were excavated in 2005 from a large chamber tomb at the prehispanic religious center of Pachacamac on the central coast of Peru. The largest and most elaborate bundle was found in the innermost part of the tomb, tightly surrounded by other bundles. We hypothesized that this bundle contained the deceased leader of a social group whose members collectively cared for their ancestor's bundle (for example, by rewrapping it) and continued to use the tomb to inter deceased individuals from subsequent generations. We tested this hypothesis by dating samples from different layers of the wrapping materials and soft tissue from the bodies and conducting a Bayesian analysis of the resultant dates. We determined carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in the diet of the interred individuals to correct for marine reservoir effects. Our findings suggest that (1) rewrapping did not occur; (2) the tomb was used for over 500 years starting at cal A.D. 1000; and (3) existing bundles were reshuffled each time new bundles were introduced. Overall, diverse lines of evidence indicate that the tomb had a complex use history and contained individuals with diverse geographical and social origins. This challenges conventional thinking about the social and chronological significance of coexisting bundles in large tombs.

Resumen

Pachacamacfue un afamado centro religioso prehispánico localizado en la costa central del Perú. En el aho 2005, más de 30 fardos funerarios fueron excavados en una tumba de cámara delante del Templo de Pachacamac (también conocido como Templo Pintado), donde se encontró elfardo más grande y elaborado en la parte más interior de la tumba, rodeado y apinado por otros fardos. Planteamos como hipótesis que dichofardo contuvo al lider y ancestro del grupo social que colectivamente estuvo a cargo de su cuidado (por ejemplo, re-enfardelándolo) y que prosiguió usando la tumba para enterrar a los miembros fallecidos de las generaciones posteriores. Sometimos a prueba esta hipótesis mediante la datación por carbono 14 de muestras de tejido blando y de diferentes capas de telas y otros materiales utilizados en los envoltorios de los fardos, así como a través de un análisis estadístico Bayesiano de lasfechas resultantes. Asimismo, a fin de corregir el efecto reservorio marino, determinamos las proporciones de isótopos de carbono y nitrógeno para estimar la importancia relativa de los recursos marinos en la dieta de los individuos enterrados. Nuestro estudio sugiere que no se practicó ninguna renovación de los fardos enterrados, que la tumba fue utilizada por más de 500 ahos desde 1000 cal d.C. y que los fardos fueron reacomodados espacialmente cada vez que se introdujeron nuevos fardos en la tumba. En conjunto, estas diversas lineas de evidencia indican que la tumba tuvo una historia de uso bastante larga y compleja, y que albergo fardos de individuos provenientes de diversos lugares y origenes sociales, lo que pone en duda las ideas convencionales sobre el significado social y cronologico de fardos coexistentes en grandes tumbas.

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