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Society for American Archaeology

Mortuary Preferences: A Wari Culture Case Study from Middle Horizon Peru
Author(s): William H. Isbell
Source: Latin American Antiquity, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Mar., 2004), pp. 3-32
Published by: Society for American Archaeology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4141562
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ARTILES

MORTUARY PREFERENCES: A WARI1CULTURE CASE STUDY FROM


MIDDLE HORIZON PERU

William H. Isbell

Mortuarypractices reveal a great deal about the social organization of prehistoric cultures and their landscape of places.
However, tombs are favored targetsfor looters, making it difficult to determine original burial practices. Verylittle was
knownabout Wariburial during the Middle Horizon (A.D. 500-1000), even though Wariwas an imperial, early BronzeAge
culture with a spectacular urbancapital in highland Peru. Excavations at the secondary Waricity of Conchopataproduced
remains of more than 200 individuals,from disturbedand undisturbedcontexts. These burials as well as informationfrom
other sites permit an initial description of ideal patterns of Warimortuarybehavior. Theforms abstracted reveal graves
rangingfrom poor and ordinary citizens to royal potentates, supporting inferences of hierarchical political organization.
It is also clear that the living accessed graves of importantpeople frequently, implying some form of ancestor worship.
However,unlike the later Inkas, Wariancestors were venerated in their tombs, located deep within residential compounds
and palaces.

El estudiode las prdcticasfunerariases invalorablepara el conocimientode las culturasprehist6ricasy los pueblos antiguos.
Desgraciadamente,las tumbasson tambie'nel blancofavorito de los saqueadores,por lo que resultadificil en muchoscasos
interpretarlas prdcticas originales. Pese a la importanciade una cultura como Wari,un imperiode la Edad del Bronce que
tuvo una espectacular capital urbana en la sierra del Pert, conocemos muypoco respecto a sus prdcticas funerarias. Las
recientes excavaciones en la ciudad secundaria wari de Conchopatahan permitido recuperarrestos humanos,en contextos
funerarios disturbadosy no disturbados,correspondientesa ma'sde 200 individuos.Estos entierrosy la informacidndisponible
de otros sitios waris (incluyendoal centro urbanode Huari) hacen posible plantear una descripcio'ninicial de patrones ide-
ales de la conductafunerariawari duranteel HorizonteMedio (500-1000 d.C.). Lasformas interpretadasrevelantumbasque
correspondentantoa ciudadanospobres y ordinarioscomo a gobernantesreales.Ademds,las tumbasde las personas impor-
tantespresentanevidencias de haber sido abiertas con frecuencia luego del entierro,implicandoalgunaforma de culto a los
ancestros.

studiesof tombsandmor- into builtenvironmentsof the past (Bradley1989,


Archaeological
tuaryremainshavebeencriticalforunder- 1998;Cannon1989,2002; Carr1995;ParkerPear-
standingthe prehistoricpast since at least son 1982, 1993, 2002; Silverman2002; Thomas
Sir LeonardWoolley's (1934) discovery of the 1996).These landscapesof deathweredesignedto
Royal Cemeteriesof Ur. In the 1970s, grave and communicate,so archaeologistswouldnotbe doing
cemeteryanalysisbecamemorerigorousandsys- theirjobs if they rejected the hermeneuticchal-
tematicwiththe methodologicalinnovationsasso- lenge to readandinterpretthem.However,mean-
ciatedwith processualarchaeology(Brown 1971; ingful understandingsdepend on archaeologists
Goldstein 1980, 1981; Saxe 1970; Tainter1978). determininghow ancientpeopleintendedburialto
Postprocessual archaeology and the study of be conducted.Thisis usuallymoredifficultto deter-
ancientlandscapesoffera potentialforevenbroader mine thanimagined.
understandingsfrommortuarystudies,examining Graves,andespeciallytheintermentsof impor-
places of the dead as spatialmetaphorsinscribed tantindividuals,arealmostalwaystargetsof plun-

William H. Isbell a Departmentof Anthropology,State Universityof New Yorkat Binghamton,Binghamton,NY


13902-6000

LatinAmericanAntiquity,15(1), 2004, pp. 3-32


Copyright@2004 by the Society for AmericanArchaeology

3
4 LATINAMERICAN
ANTIQUITY [Vol.15, No. 1,2004

der and destruction.Tombs were loci of power and there,and not exclusively in tombs?Was any
withintheirsocial arenas,makingthemtargetsof disturbancea result of looting, or had mortuary
aggression. They frequently contain significant practices been a prolonged process involving
wealth, attractinglooters. Furthermore,mortuary reopeninga grave several times? Was secondary
behaviormaynotrepresentan event,buta process, buriala Waripracticeor did bones become disar-
consistingof a sequenceof acts over an extended ticulatedby otherpost-intermentprocesses?It was
periodof time. How can the archaeologistdiffer- only throughcomparisonof many cases thatpat-
entiate the opening of a grave to add a newly ternsbeganto emerge.Unfortunately,information
deceased member of the family, to remove an hasbeenpoorlyrecordedformanyyears;therefore
ancestor'sbones, or to participatein some activity comparativedata were not accumulatingquickly.
fromrobbinga gravefor its wealth?At leastin part ArchaeologistsdiscoveringdisturbedWariburials
becauseof this problem,thereareno generalsyn- paidlittleattention,for they appearedto offeronly
theses of mortuary practices for prehispanic insignificantscrapsof informationaboutthe past.
Andeanculturessuchas highlandChavin,Recuay, More recently,it has become clear thateven dis-
Pucara,Tiwanaku,or Wari. turbedremainsare valuablefor comparativepur-
Archaeologists'discussionsof landscapesof the poses, when carefullydescribed.
deadmustbe basedon intendedconditionsof inter- Archaeologistsengaged in inferringpast cul-
ment.Butthe archaeologicalrecordpresentssnap- turalpatternsmustavoidexcessiveinfluencesfrom
shots of complexprocesses,some intendedby the theory and expectations in their comparative
mournersbut othersresultingfrom looting, con- abstractionof ideals and norms. If we employ
struction,erosion,etc., frozen as confusing mate- favoredtheoreticalconvictionsoranalogiesto help
rial contexts. An inventory of popular burial inferintendedburialformsandmortuaryprocesses
patternsmustemphasizethe originalideals.While and thengo on to use the sametheoryto infercul-
this obscuresvariationand inferencesaboutindi- tural meanings,our results become overly laden
vidual agency, in the long run the abstractionof with theoretical conviction (Isbell 1995; Wylie
ideal patternsor normsseeks to recognizecultur- 1992a, 1992b).Forexample,JalhDulanto(2002)
ally relevantdistinctions,on the basis of which describesscatteredhumanbones and theirspatial
organizational structure may be inferred, and contextsfor a firstmillenniumB.C. settlementon
observedrangesof behaviorcan be morecogently Peru'scentralcoast thatimply an ideal involving
discussed.To abstractintendedor idealpatternsan processingof ancestors'remainsin a mannerquite
archaeologistmust work qualitatively,evaluating foreignto anythingknowninAndeanethnohistory.
as manymortuarycontextsfrom the same culture However,his convictionsaboutcontinuityin Inka
andtime periodas possible. Effects from destruc- ancestorworshipandmortuarypracticeslead him
tive processessuch as lootingmustbe evaluatedin to emphasizesimilaritiesto ethnohistoricaldescrip-
opposition to impacts from intended mortuary tions while de-emphasizingdifferences.The out-
processesthatmayhavegone on overa long period come is preferredpatternsmoresimilarto those of
of time, such as refurbishinggrave goods. These the Inkathanwarrantedby the actualdata.
effects must be distinguished from differences
intendedto express status,class, gender,age, or Intended Patterns of Death at Conchopata
other socially relevant variables. No explicit
methodology exists to assure success, although This studyis possiblebecauseof recentexcavations
large,carefullyexcavatedsamplesareessential. at Huari's secondarycity of Conchopata.2They
In the archaeologicalstudy of Warimortuary have revealedthe remainsof more than200 indi-
behavior,it was impossibleto move directlyfrom viduals from burialcontexts of the Wariculture.
excavationdatato prehistoricactivity.Information Conchopatais one of many Wari capitals, sec-
was confusing and contradictory,in large part ondarycities, provincialcenters,andcommunities
becauseso manymortuarycontextsweredisturbed. (Figure 1) that were spread across the Central
Waseverypitandchamberwitha few humanbones Andes during the Middle Horizon (A.D.
a tombthathadbeen looted?Orhadhumanbones 550-1000). Most archaeologistsinterpretHuarias
been trophiesor amuletsthatwere depositedhere thecapitalof a vastimperialstateof the samename
Isbell] MORTUARY A WARICULTURE
PREFERENCES: CASESTUDYFROMMIDDLE
HORIZON
PERU 5

PampaGrande4? IKalki n Palacio


Jos
San deMar\ j-'k
Yarnobabanba
cac ampa

Moche

Honcn
mp,
stHuari Sphere
ariWifica

tnnc opata
i
v, opataaPikillactacha
aJargampata

Huaro
May-mis>
XJinolca
Pacheco el
ac del I.

t
a
Iwawi
Tiw anak Lukuro-Uyu
ro Bauf aniKal~amarca
- ,--I ------
Nno

t Tiwanaku
phere
e WariCenters
W A Wari Influenced Centers
TiwanakuCenters
SanPedro
deAtcama

500 Km.
K
Figure 1. Central Andes showing Middle Horizon centers including the capital, Huari, provincial Wari cities and other
contemporary capitals.
6 LATINAMERICAN
ANTIQUITY [Vol.15, No. 1, 2004

withits networkof centersdocumentingits admin- elites, andprobablyeven pettykings or governors.


istrativestructure(Isbell 1983, 1985, 1991, 1997b; Architecture,stratigraphy,ceramic styles, and
Isbell and Schreiber 1978; Lumbreras 1974a, radiocarbondatesrevealfive phasesof occupation
1974b, 1985; McEwan 1991, 1996, 1998; at Conchopata.During the Huamaniphase (240
Schreiber1991, 1992). But agreementis not uni- B.C.-A.D. 300) we know that Conchopatawas
versal.AlternativepositionsconsiderHuariandthe occupied,butlittleculturalmaterialcanbe assigned
Middle Horizon a confederationof lineages (J. to this time. During the Mendosa phase (A.D.
Topic 1986, 1991, 1994; T. Topic 1991; J. Topic 300-550), Huarpaand Curz Pata pottery styles
andT. Topic 1992, 2001), or a mosaic of indepen- were in use. Severalgraveswere discoveredin the
dentcities engagedin intensivecommerce(Shady north-central portionof survivingConchopata,but
1982, 1988;ShadyandRuiz 1979).Of course,new these burialsrepresenta distinctpatternof inter-
understandings of thelandscapeof deathduringthe ment. Modest tombs appearto have been located
MiddleHorizoncan help resolve this debate. in an open areawith no architecture,close enough
Conchopatais locatedin the southernendof the to one anotherto imply a cemetery.Bodies were
AyacuchoValley,about10km fromthecapitalcity flexed and placed in simple pits or cavities in the
of Huari(Figure2). It has a long historyof occu- bedrock,frequentlyaccompaniedby one or more
pation,but duringthe centurieswhen Huaridom- ceramicvessels, andprobablyby perishableitems
inatedmuch of Peru,Conchopatawas the second as well. Anothergrave,reportedlydiscoveredby
city of the imperialheartlandandthe largesturban earthmoverswhile leveling the landingstripsev-
centerin theAyacuchoValley'ssouthernsettlement eral hundredmeters southeastof our excavation
enclave.Todayits ruinsareoverrunby the modem area,containedCurzPatapottery,so it alsobelonged
city of Ayacucho,resultingin the destructionof to the Huamaniphase. But it is reportedto have
mostof the ancientarchaeologicalzone (Figure2). been a bottle-shapedshaft tomb with a skeleton
Originallythesettlementcoveredatleast20 ha,and extendedon its back (Lumbreras1974:112a). No
possibly as much as 40 ha. Presently,only about otherbottle-shapedshafttombs or extendedburi-
threeha remain,probablythe focus of the original als areknownat Conchopata.
civic center.All of our new informationaboutthe The Silva phase (A.D. 550-700) initiatedthe
dead comes from this tiny portionof the old city MiddleHorizonatConchopataandis characterized
(Isbell 2001a). However, this well-documented by oversize Conchopata-styleceramicsas well as
sample of some 200 individualsis probablythe Chakipampaand Ocros pottery.Less-fancy pot-
largest collection of archaeologicallyexcavated teryusuallydesignatedHuamangawas also in use.
burialsfrom the Wariheartland.All come from a There is a great deal of evidence for large-scale
denselyurbanizedareaof moreor less continuous building at Conchopata,althoughmany of these
buildings,plazas, and patios (Figure3). At some early buildingswere disturbedby later activities.
time, mostof this survivingportionof Conchopata The remainsdocumenta significantchangein the
may have been enclosed by a perimeterwall, of landscapeof the deadbetweenthe lateEarlyInter-
whicha northwestanda southeastcomerhavebeen mediateperiodandMiddleHorizontimesthatcon-
preserved.Be thatas it may,Conchopatawas long tinuedthroughthe Silva phase as well as the next
recognizedas a communityof pottersbecauselarge two phasesat Conchopata.Humanbodieswere no
numbersof ceramicmanufacturing tools were dis- longer placed in open cemeteries but below the
coveredatthe site (Pozzi-Escot1985, 1991;Pozzi- floorsof roomsandpatios.Theseroomsandcourts
Escotet. al 1994, 1998).However,once we learned were partsof extensive buildingcompoundsand
to recognizemortuaryarchitectureandhow it var- because, as discussed below, at least some of the
ied with status,it became clear thatthe surviving burialswerereveredandgiven offeringslong after
portion of Conchopata contained tombs that death,groupsof descendentsmusthaveresidedin,
includedelaborateandwealthyexamples.The site and expectedto remainin chargeof, the residen-
couldnothavebeen a townof craftspeopleof more tialcompoundof theirancestors.TheMiddleHori-
or less middle status. Rather,it appearsto have zon landscape of the dead constructed a new
been a landscapeof palace compoundsoccupied association between large building compounds,
by lowly servants,middle-levelcitizens, wealthy ancestors,and a social group that was probably
Isbell] MORTUARY
PREFERENCES:
A WARICULTURE
CASESTUDYFROMMIDDLE
HORIZON
PERU 7

THnawasin.
Hu ta
ghway to Huanta
San Miguel
BaB.s
04Azangain River .

River Tablapm
Twacochba
Huari MilitaryBase
hrao
pap *4.
im eroChuru Jargampata
Huamanga
BaaBasin
Conchopata, "
MyuyuOrqo4
._
Nawinpukyu i

AyacuchoValleyho

Moder / o
Ayacucho
urban Ayaccho~lle Q) L~9
.

ConchopataArchaeologicalZone
0Civic Center
SuburbanPeriphery
Edge of Mesa

Figure 2. Map of Ayacucho Valley and the Conchopata archaeological zone.


8 ANTIQUITY
LATINAMERICAN [Vol.15, No. 1, 2004

based on descent. Conchopata'slargestarchitec- Middle Horizoncities in the centralhighlandsto


turalcomplexesseem to havepalacesoccupiedby fill out Wari'sculturalrecord,and to confirmits
rulersor governors. mortuaryideals.
Itis probablethatthemortuarycomplexin room
EA-203 belongs to the Silva phase (Figure3), but WariBurial Type1-Individual Interment
it was excavatedyearsago and,apparentlybecause Thisformof burialconsistsof a singlebodyplaced
of severe looting, it was neverdescribedin print. in a small pit excavatedinto the groundand cov-
This tomb complex belongs to Type5a of the fol- eredwithearth(Figure4). Sometimesthegravewas
lowing proposedtypology andit could be the ear- cappedwith a flatstone or two, andoccasionallya
liest "mortuary room"atConchopata,representing few flatstoneswereusedto line the sides of thepit.
the firstelite gravecomplexconstructedunderthe Bodies appear to have been tightly flexed and
floorsof a palace placedin the graveeitherseated,on the back,or on
TheHuisaphase(A.D. 700-850) was themajor one side.Tracesof textilesandcordagesuggestthat
occupationat the Conchopatasite. Oversize-Con- at least some bodies were wrappedin cloth and
chopatapotterycontinuedin use, butprobablydis- bound with rope. Examples appearto have been
appearedbefore the end of this time. Huamanga, locatedin patios,courts,andnarrowrooms.Except
Chikipampa,and Ocros potterystyles were very when a stone slab was used to cap the pit, thereis
popular.Huisa is the phase to which the majority no evidencethatthesegravelocationsweremarked.
of the burialsemployedin this analysisappearto Occasionally,Type 1 gravesincludea ceramicves-
belong, althoughit seems thatthe most elaborate sel, a stone bead, or some other object, but typi-
tombs continuedin use though the final Alarcon cally, imperishablegravefurnishingsare absent.
phase (A.D. 850-1000). Duringthatphase, there
is no evidence for constructionor occupationof WariBurial Type2-Multiple Interments
palacesexcept for the tombsthatwere still in use, Undisturbedmultiple intermentswere found in
or perhapsbeing reused.However,Alarconphase ArchitecturalEnclosureEA-65 and EA-151 (Fig-
rooms nearbyhave simple tombs that are consis- ure3). Both were probablyopen patioareasrather
tent with the proposedtypology. Huamangapot- thanroofedchambers.Like individualinterments,
tery was popularin Alarcontimes, but occasional multipleintermentsconsistof unlinedpitscovered
pieces of VifiaqueandAtarcostyle ceramicsalso by soil, andperhapsa stoneor two, with few or no
appear. gravefurnishings,andthe flexedremainsof two to
MortuaryremainsfromConchopata'sfinalthree fouror fivebodiesof adultsandsub-adultchildren.
phases seem very similar,at least on the basis of It is apparentthatburialscould be addedto these
currentdata,so descriptionsfrom all threephases gravesas time passed,so it seems likely thatType
were combined.Along with less detailedinforma- 1 intermentsturnedinto Type2. Like Type 1 indi-
tion as well as restudyof undescribedgravesfrom vidual graves,Type 2 graves show little evidence
formerexcavations,theyprovidethedataon which for markingof theirlocations.However,theywere
thefollowingpreferentialpatternsarebased.Many reopenedfor subsequentburials,so people of the
of the tombs sufferedsignificantdisturbance,but communitymust have rememberedthe locations
some were intact.However,even damagedtombs of thegraves.Perhapsthereweremarkersthathave
furnishedvaluableinformation. now disappeared.
Conchopata's Middle Horizon mortuary Future bioarchaeological study will show
remainsappearto fallintosevenpreferentialgroups whetherbonesfounddisarticulated andmovedabout
or idealtypesof interment,describedbelow.I omit in Type2 graveswere movedsimplyto accommo-
one type of "non-burial" at Conchopata,in which datethe additionof morebodies,or whethersome
human remains were deliberatelydefleshed and more elaborateactivitieswere involved.It may be
disarticulated before they were eventually thatMultipleIntermentgravescontainedmembers
depositedon thefloorsof templebuildings.Norwill of the samefamilyor socialgroup.
I exploreinfantandchildburialsexceptwhenthey
co-occurwith adultburials.3I will make compar- WariBurial Type3-Cist Interment
isons withmortuarycontextsfromHuariandother This importantclass of Middle Horizon graves
Isbell] MORTUARY A WARICULTURE
PREFERENCES: CASESTUDYFROMMIDDLE
HORIZON
PERU 9

CONCHOPATA
ARCHAEOLOGICAL
ZONE
10 meter grid

fla
11 ii II
I ....I ff ____lr
.................
n
................Pi
? 41 lPlaza.
....l...................
....... ......
............. ... ... . .. ---.
-.. .....

C~h~w-3- j rAY
.....41
I f
~ ~~ ~ "
J<

# ............................................ ii7i
,Z--
ZL:I I i S~--it
~ 1// 1-Y

__ _ _ _ -- -_ _ _ __
t _ _ _
_7

Figure 3. Map of Conchopata's civic center architectural remains.

(Figure4) is poorlyknownat Conchopata,for only times thereis a notchin one side of the cover,or a
one undisturbedexamplewas discoveredin room hole about 10 cm in diameterpecked throughthe
EA-205 (Figure 3). It contained an older adult middle of a single stone lid. Sometimesthereis a
femalewithtwo ceramicvessels, butthe gravewas small niche in the wall of the cist, or a grooverun-
only partially stone lined with a clay top as its ning down one side. Where grooves have been
markerratherthana rockwitha perforationthrough found, they appearto align with the notch in the
it. A small hole reachedthe grave,passingthough lid. Cist tombs probablyrepresenta more lavish
a wallto theadjoiningroom.A secondlootedexam- version of Type 1 and Type 2 graves. Their dis-
ple was foundin the PinkPlaza(Figure3), incom- tinctivelids servedto markthe gravelocationand
pletelycappedby severalflatstonesandcontaining probablyalso facilitatedreopening the tombs. I
the partialremainsof a single individual,a tupu,4 suspectthatType3 tombsweredesignedto receive
anda distinctivepolychromeceramicsherd.How- successiveburialsovera periodof time.Whenthey
ever,because cist intermentsare frequentat other havea notchor hole throughthe lid, this musthave
sites in theAyacuchoValley,the type deservessig- been intendedfor communicationwith the dead.
nificantattention. I have named the notch or hole throughWari
Cist tombs probablywere markedgravescon- gravelids "ttoco,"from the old Quechuatermfor
sisting of cylindricalpits, fully or partiallystone- window or passage. These holes appearto have
lined, about60 to 90 cm in diameterand 60 cm to been used for makingofferingsto the dead,prob-
1 m deep. They are known throughoutAyacucho ably consistingof smallluxuryitems such as shell
and many were sealed with a large, flat, circular and stone beads. Type 3 Cist Intermentsare very
stone or by several smaller slabs of rock. Some- similarto the primaryand secondaryburialcham-
10 LATINAMERICAN
ANTIQUITY [Vol.15, No. 1, 2004

Type 6
Type1 Type3

profile
prfilei

plan
1~~z~~ plan

r p

Type 7
Type 2 Type 4
proflane

profile

p cifile

plan

Figure 4. Illustrations of Wari Burial Types 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7.

bers of mortuaryrooms that I classify below as residentialareasof largercompounds.Perhapsthis


Type 5a, demonstratingunity in grave forms at kindof tombshouldbe recognizedas anothervari-
ConchopataandotherWarisettlements.However, ant of the mortuaryroom, which I have classified
below as the Type5 burial,an issue to be resolved
thereis no evidence for ttoco in Type 1 and Type
2 Warigraves.And only the more elaborateburi- by furtherstudyof Warimortuarypractices.
als that have ttoco also have evidence for intro- Bedrock cavity tombs have different shapes,
ducing small luxury items into the grave as probablybecausethecontoursweredeterminedby
offerings. cracksin the rockthatmadeit easierto removethe
At otherMiddle HorizonAyacuchosites, Type stone. Most, but not all, the bedrockcavity tombs
discoveredat Conchopatawere looted.All appear
3 cist intermentsappearto occurin isolationor in
cemetery groupings, in buildings, and in open to havecontainedtheremainsof morethanone per-
places.Theymaycontaintheremainsof one orsev- son, andsignificantnumbersof pots as well as other
eral individuals, but often contain incomplete offerings.Onebedrockcavityintermentwas found
assortmentsof human bones. Grave furnishings intactbelow Conchopata'sroomEA-31 (Figure5).
were occasionally included, but rarely are the To constructthe tomb, earthand then stone had
objectsnumerousor of significantvalue. been cut away to produce a broad shaft-like
entrance,with two burialchambersin the deepest
WariBurial Type4-Bedrock CavityInterment northernpartof the excavation,one to the north-
Bedrockcavityburialemployeddeep tombsexca- east andone to the northwest.A ttoco about15 cm
vatedintothebedrockunderlyingConchopata(Fig- in diameterthathadbeen cut throughthe bedrock
ures4, 5, and6). They appearto havebeen marked at the northwestedge of the tomb shaftappearsto
by raisedbench-likestructuresthatoftenhadttoco have servedboth burialchambers.
holes in them.They were locatedunderthe floors The northwestchamberwas open, havingbeen
of buildingsthatwereprobablyroofedroomsin the looted, and containedmany fragmentsof human
Isbell] MORTUARY CASESTUDYFROMMIDDLE
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HORIZON 11

Figure 5. This bedrock cavity tomb was cut though the floor of room EA-31, and a ttoco was also opened through the
rock to its left. All photographs are by William Isbell.

bones as well as pieces of brokenpottery,but the had a circularhole in the top suggestiveof a ttoco,
northeastchamberremainedclosedbehinda rough except thatit did not penetrateinto the tomb (Fig-
stone wall. It containedseveralindividualswhose ure 6). Small luxury objects of turquoise and
bones were almosttotally consumedby chemical Spondylusshell were foundin this hole.
actionwithinthe sealedenvironmentof the grave. The flooraroundthetombentrancewas covered
Two adults were tightly flexed. One, associated with sherdsfrom largejars, but therewas no lid,
with tupus, has skeletal features diagnostic of a only earthand rocks in the mouth.A small plain
female.The otheradultwas associatedwithhalf of pot with constrictedopeningwas also foundat the
an archer'sbow and anotherwooden object that entranceinto this bedrockcavity tomb.Below the
may be a reworkedbow stave. Based on the bow, roughly80-cm-diametertombmouthwas a spher-
it seems probablethat the individualwas male, ical cavity almost2 m wide and about1.6 m deep,
althoughsex determinationfrom the bones them- excavatedinto the bedrock.The graveyielded 27
selves was impossible.Intherearof thegravewere ceramicvessels, includingseveralminiaturepots
additionalbones in extremelypoor conditionthat that seem to imitate oversize offeringurns, small
mayrepresentearlierintermentsin the samegrave. objectsof greenstone,numerouscoppertupus,and
A jar in the grave contains a humanfetus and a the remainsof 15 individuals.Osteologicalexam-
radiocarbonsamplefromvegetablefiberbindings ination documented two fetuses in jars, three
about one of the cadavers produced a terminal infants,partof a child,ajuvenile,one malebetween
Huisaphase date. 23 and 27 years of age, and six adultfemales of
The most impressiveunlootedbedrockcavity various ages, as well as a seventh skeleton too
intermentwas discoveredduringour2000 season. incompleteto be sexed,butprobablyalso an adult
The grave opening was found in room EA-105, female (Tung 2003; Tung and Cook 2002). The
partiallycoveredby a bench-likeconstructionthat male was placedin the bottomof the graveseated
12 LATIN AMERICAN ANTIQUITY [Vol. 15, No. 1, 2004

Figure 6. The bedrock chamber tomb in room EA-105 had large pots and other objects just inside its entrance. Its bench
and ttoco can be seen just behind the tomb opening.
Isbell] MORTUARY
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A WARICULTURE PERU
HORIZON 13

on crossedsticks of wood thatmay have been the neighborEA-110 that were both looted severely.
frameworkof a stool or mortuarysupport.I sus- A second, and perhapsthe largestmortuaryroom
pect thatthis was the primaryburialof the group, complex, consisted of EA-38 (Figures 3 and 8),
probablya husbandaccompaniedby polygynous probablycombinedwith EA-44, andperhapsEA-
wives and deceased infants.If my inferencesare 31. Mortuaryrooms thatappearto have included
correct,it seems likely thatthis gravebelongedto only one architecturalspace are EA-39, EA-150,
a nobleman,for the numberof wives seems too EA-153, and EA-203 in the westernpartof Con-
largefor a commoner. chopata,acrossthehighwayfromourexcavations.
The skeletonof a pregnantwoman was found Mortuaryrooms EA-38 (Figure 8) and EA-150
just inside the tomb opening. It was completely (Figure9) arethe bestpreservedandprovidemuch
articulatedas thoughuntouchedsincethebodyhad of the informationnecessaryfor identifyingBur-
been placedinto the tomb.It appearsto havebeen ial Type5a andType5b, respectively.
addedafterotherburialsimmediatelybelow,which Type5a mortuaryrooms(Figures7 and8) con-
were disturbedandpartiallydisarticulated.Distur- tain severalcircularor rectangularstone-linedcist
bance of these skeletons was consistentwith the tombs and skeletalremainsfrom numerousindi-
intrusionof the final female body when the other viduals. Mortuaryrooms of Type 5a all probably
bodies still had connective tissue holding their containedseveralcist chambers,but one appears
bones together,but when theirremainswere deli- to have been the principalcist, which also may
cate enoughto permitpartsof the skeletonto sep- have been the firsttomb in the room. The princi-
arate from one another. This is a convincing palcist orburialchamberwas eithercircularorrec-
demonstrationthatWaritombs were reopenedby tangular, and apparently could have two and
intentionto addindividualsandit seems likelythat perhapsmorechambers.Itwas sealedwitha heavy
it occurredmanytimes.We can also concludethat capstonepiercedby a notchor hole, the ttoco.All
bones were removedwhen the tomb was opened, examples probablycontainedthe remainsof sev-
for some of the skeletonsin thisunlootedgraveare eralindividuals,althoughnonehasbeendiscovered
incomplete.So Wariburialwas a process, not an intact. Over the capstone a small offering house
event. The last woman addedto the gravein EA- somewhatless than 1 m tall was built,containing
105 was about45 years of age and was pregnant, an altarchamber.The offeringhouse had a flattop
but she probablyalso was a wife of the young man and a small trapezoidalentrancein one side. The
interredearlierat the bottomof the grave. floor of the offeringhouse was the gravelid, with
AnotherType4 BedrockCavityIntermentwas the ttoco providinga tiny passage from the altar
in EA-40, and disturbedexamples were found in chamberof theofferinghouseintotheburialcham-
roomsEA-9 andEA-64.A uniquecase in a larger, ber that containedhumanbodies. It seems likely
probablyopen patiocame from EA-6. that ttoco were usually sealed with stone plugs
shapedmuch like champagnecorks.The offering
WariBurial Type5a and Type5b-Mortuary house was constructedon the heavy stone lid, so
Room Interment once the littlebuildingwas in place it would have
Thiskindof burialis named"Mortuary RoomInter- beenimpossibleto re-openthecist withoutdestroy-
ment"becausetombsoccupyso muchof the space ing the altarchamberwalls. Consequently,con-
within a room that it is difficult to imagine any structionof the offeringhouse terminatedthe use
otheractivityexceptburialandburialritualwithin of the principalcist, and probablyinitiatedexca-
the enclosed androofedarea(Figures7, 8, and9). vationof, andburialin, secondarycists withinthe
In some cases a secondroomandevena thirdroom mortuaryroom. There likely was both a chrono-
appearto havebeen partof the mortuarycomplex, logicalorderanda hierarchyamongtheinterments
although these secondarymortuaryrooms were in multi-cistburialmortuaryrooms.
probablynot filled with tombs. However,looting In some mortuaryrooms,additionalcist tombs
has usually disturbedthe original conditions so were excavated throughthe floor almost every-
severelythatinterpretations cannotbe precise.At wherethatwaspossible.Sometimespartitionswere
least six examples of mortuaryrooms are known constructedarounda seeminglysecondarycist, or
at Conchopata.They are room EA-138, with its set of cists, creatinga subsidiaryoffering house
14 LATINAMERICAN
ANTIQUITY [Vol.15, No. 1, 2004

Type 5a Type5b
PrimaryBurialChamber
WithOfferingHouseConstructed BuralRoom
On BurialChamberLid

Chambereringouse
tWithDoorway over
Ttocoe

LRoomRo pranance T
locoiiiiN

Figure 7. Illustrations of Wari Burial Type 5a and Type 5b.

Figure 8. Mortuary Room EA-38 is an example of Wari Burial Type 5a. The offering house, now lacking a roof, is con-
structed over a massive lid of the primary burial chamber. Its ttoco notch is visible at the top edge of the stone. Secondary
cist tombs were located around the primary burial chamber.
Isbell] MORTUARY A WARICULTURE
PREFERENCES: CASESTUDYFROMMIDDLE
HORIZON
PERU 15

Figure 9. Mortuary Room EA-150 is an example of Wari Burial Type 5b. The offering house, with roof intact, is con-
structed over a chamber that was entered from the side, where its rectangular lid, now broken, has collapsed into the
void. The ttoco notch is located inside the offering house.

with an altarchamber.Occasionally,an adjacent ial chamber,butleavingthe entranceandcovering


roomseemstohave beenpartof themortuarycom- stoneexposed.Thiskindof mortuaryunitcouldbe
plex, having its own cist tombs excavatedinto its re-openedrepeatedly,while the offeringhouseand
floor,and walls thatmay have been partsof offer- ttoco remainedundisturbed.
inghouseswithaltarchambers.Unfortunately, loot- All the mortuaryrooms discovered at Con-
ing hasmadeit difficultto determinecriticaldetails chopatawere looted,butgold artifactswere found
of constructionchronology,but what does seem in mortuaryroomsEA-138 andEA-150.Thisis the
clear is that in Type 5a mortuaryrooms, the con- only gold discoveredin our excavationsat Con-
structionof an offeringhouse overa tombsignaled chopata,so thereseems little doubtthatmortuary
its importance.It also meantthatthe tombwas dif- rooms were the pinnacles of the local interment
ficult if not impossible to re-open to insert addi- hierarchy.Onlythemostpowerfulandwealthyres-
tionalburialsor to removeany remains. idents could affordso much luxury.Study of the
Mortuaryrooms of Type 5b representan elab- skeletal remainsfrom mortuaryrooms is still in
orationon Type 5a that could be enteredand re- progress,and,of course,all were disturbed.How-
entered, without disturbing the offering house. ever, preliminaryevidence indicatesa significant
These tombs had a separateentranceto one side, preponderance of femaleskeletons,consistentwith
sealedby a flatstone(Figures7 and9). A largerec- a high-statuspalaceareawherea kingandhis noble
tangularburialchamberwas constructedbelow the kinfolkwere attendedby numerouswives, concu-
floor of the mortuaryroom andcappedwith stone bines, and servingwomen.
slabs at aboutthe same level as the floor.A ttoco
was constructedbetweenthestonelintelsatone end WariBurial Type6-Wall Interment
of thechamber,andanentrancethatcouldbe sealed This typeof intermentemployeda chambercutout
witha single stoneslabwas placedatthe otherend. of, constructedwithin,or attachedto, a thickwall
An offering house with altar chamberwas built (Figure4). Wedidnotdiscoveranywall interments
overthettoco,coveringabout70 percentof thebur- duringour excavationsat Conchopata,but Lum-
16 LATINAMERICAN
ANTIQUITY [Vol.15, No. 1, 2004

breras(1974a:180-181) reportedone examplecon- examples,for the pit was partiallystone lined and
tainingtwo individualsduringhis investigationsat coveredwith simpleslabsof rock,butno offerings
the site. It is possible thatit representsa late addi- were included.
tion to a Silva phase wall at Conchopataand that Type3 cist intermentburialshavebeenreported
wall burialis a late Warifeature.Numerouswall for Aqo Wayqo (Ochatoma and Cabrera2001:
burialshave been reportedfrom Huari(Gonzalez 83-96), whereatleastone containedpottery,tupus,
Carr6and BragayracDaivila 1996) and Middle and other furnishings.However,these examples
Horizon Batan Urqo (Zapata1997), so although had no ttoco.A similarburialwas found at Naw-
burialType6 does not seem to havebeen verypop- impuquio, with a stone-lined double chamber
ularin thecivic centerof Conchopata,it was appar- (Cabrera1998) that is somewhatlargerand more
ently a significanttype of Wariinterment. elaboratethanmostcistinterments,althoughit also
lacked a ttoco. Perhapsthis representsa subclass
WariBurial Type7-Communal or Sacrificial of cist burials consisting of a stone-lined vault
GroupBurial insteadof just a pit cut into earth.
One exampleof a mass grave,probablya groupof A Type4 bedrockchambertombis foundat the
sacrificial victims,5 is reportedfor Conchopata. planned architectural complex of Azangaro
Thisuniqueexamplecontainedfive youngfemales (Anders 1986:617-619). Accounts of what seem
coveredby a stone moundor cairn(Figure4). All to be Warisites in the Rio Pampas,southof Ayacu-
appearto have been buriedat the same moment. cho, suggestthatbedrockchambertombsmayexist
This intermentwas discoveredin 1977 about 1 m thereas well.
northwestof a ceramicofferingof oversize face- Type5a mortuaryroomintermentis alsoknown
neckjars(Isbell1987;IsbellandCook 1987,2002). at Huari(Figure10). My studentsandI excavated
It is likely thatthe womenparticipatedin the same an examplein theMoraduchayuqarea(Isbellet al.
event in which the giant face-neck jars were 1991:34-36 andFigure 18). The presenceof only
smashedandburied(Cook 1987, 1994). scatteredfragmentsof humanbone madeus reluc-
tantto identifythe chambersas mortuaryin func-
Wari Tombs at Other Settlements tionwithoutthekindof corroboration we now have
from comparisons with Conchopata.At Mora-
I doubt that this descriptivediscussion,based on duchayuq,two rooms, each 5.3 m long and 2 m
Conchopataburials, exhausts the range of Wari wide, connect througha doorway.The northend
mortuary practices. Expansion, revision, and of the innerroom is raisedabout20 cm with the
reevaluationswill surely be requiredas we learn primarycist locatedon this bench andcoveredby
moreaboutMiddleHorizonmortuarylandscapes. a heavy circularstone with two ttoco. Remainsof
However,it is clearthattheseidealtombtypeshave an offeringhouse arerepresentedby wall bases on
equivalentsat otherAyacuchosettlements,as well two sides of the lid. In this mortuaryroom, there
as at moredistantWaricommunities. aretwo morelargecists with lids andttoco,andin
Tombs of Type 1, individual interment, are the neighboringroom,four cists, one with lid and
describedfor the Warisites of Jargampata(Isbell ttoco still in place.All the tombshad been looted,
1977:29) and Azangaro(Anders 1986:619-620). anda greatquantityof finepotteryof MiddleHori-
Similargraves existed at the Rio Pampassite of zon EpochIB, all severelybroken,was foundscat-
TaqsaUrqo,butwere destroyedby roadconstruc- tered about.The potterywas mostly open vessel
tion. However,I suspect that many examples of forms,suchas bowlsandcups,appropriate forcon-
WariType 1 burialshave gone unrecognized,and sumingfood and drink(Cook 1994).
perhapseven unreported,because they contained A secondexampleof a Type5a mortuaryroom
no stylisticallydatableobjects. is from the Cuzco Middle Horizon site of Batan
Type2 multipleintermentsare as pooras Type Urqu(Figure11). Partof a largerWaricommunity
1 gravesandareprobablyalso under-reported. One knownas Huaro,theBatanUrqucomplexmightbe
example, described by Schreiber (1992:249-250), describedas a cemeterybuildingcontainingvari-
is a gravecontainingtwoindividualsatJincamocco. ous mortuaryrooms(Zapata1997).Most similarto
This tomb was a little fancier than Conchopata theConchopataexamplesis theprimaryburial(Zap-
Isbell] MORTUARY A WARICULTURE
PREFERENCES: CASESTUDYFROMMIDDLE
HORIZON
PERU 17

Cist3
Pit B

Raisedstep PitA
in floor 135 Pit C

(1 t 0 2m

Stonelid withttoco
coveringcist
nexcavated
134

RaisedstepV
in floor

234 3acy

161

MoraduchayuqCompound, Huari

Figure10. Huari'sMoraduchayuqCompoundshowinga burialroomof Type5a. (Redrawnfrom Isbellet al. 1991:


Figures6 and 18)
18 LATINAMERICAN
ANTIQUITY [Vol.15, No. 1, 2004

ata1997:Figures33, 34) consistingof a hugestone- used to constructthe colonial city of Huamanga


lined cist with heavy rock lid and central ttoco. (now Ayacucho).But excavationsin and around
Remainsof a smallrectangularofferinghouse sur- themhaverevealedmanyhumanremainsin thedis-
mountthe lid, andmanyothercist tombsandmor- turbedcontexts.As ourunderstandings grow,there
tuaryrooms are locatedclose by. Therecan be no seems little doubt that the chambers were elite
question that the Batan Urqu mortuarycomplex tombs.
representsan orderof magnitudeor two grander If the BatanUrqoType 5a mortuaryrooms are
than anything at Conchopata,but the mortuary granderthanConchopata'sby an orderor two of
behavioris clearlythatof a Type5a Wariburial. magnitude,some of Huari'slargercheqo wasi are
I believe that ConchopataType 5b mortuary greaterthanConchopata'sType5b mortuaryrooms
roomsareformallysimilarto numerousexamples by half a dozenordersof magnitude.Huari'scheqo
from Huari, but the Huari tombs have been so wasi must have been tombs for kings or nobles
severely damagedthat most are difficultto con- whose statuswas a full social level abovethe fan-
ceptualize in their original form. Called "cheqo ciest tombsdiscoveredat Conchopata.
wasi" (stone house), they are megalithicchamber Megalithicstonechambersof Type5c arecom-
complexes,often of two or even threefloor levels mon at Huari,but are very rareif they exist at all
(Figures12 and 13).No one has attemptedto deter- outsidethecapitalcity.Onlyone examplehasbeen
mine theiroriginalforms, althoughwe have sev- reported.In southernAyacucho,morethan100 km
eraldescriptionsof thelootedarchitecturalremains fromHuari,Schreiber(1992:154-155) reports"at
(Benavides 1984, 1991; Bennett 1953; Gonzailez least one (andpossiblymorethanthree)semi-sub-
Carr6and BragayracDaivila 1996; P6rez 1999, terranean chambersbuiltof largeslabsof cutstone."
2001a, 2001b). Based on these discussions, my This settlementappearsto have been quite small
own researchat Huari,and the new Conchopata but locatednearthe entranceinto a valley thathad
comparisons,I conclude that the majorityof the a sizablecomplexof Wariadministrative architec-
megalithic chambers were enclosed within the ture and extensive agriculturalterracing.Perhaps
roughstonewallsof architectural compounds.They it becamethe estateof a Huarimonarchwhose rel-
were re-openable mausoleums similar to Con- atives were eventually buriedthere, but excava-
chopata'sType5b mortuaryrooms. tions arerequiredto confirmtheexistenceof these
Type5 mortuaryroomsdescribedfor Huarican ruralcheqo wasi, much less infer their meanings
encloseone largechambercomplexorseveralsmall in the vastWarilandscapeof death.
chambers,probablyrangingfromtwoto five.Small Uncommonat Conchopata,Type 6 wall inter-
and simple cheqo wasi probablywere enteredby ment was frequentat Huariand at BatanUrquin
removingthelid (Figure12).Morecomplexexam- Cuzco (Zapata1997). Wallgravesareonly found
ples consist of a subterraneanroomor complexof in very thickwalls, which arerareat Conchopata,
rooms enteredfrom one side througha crawlway, at least in the civic centerwhere our excavations
perhapsalso coveredby a heavystone(Figure12). have been concentrated.
The upperlevel is often a room,or room complex Type6 wall intermentrequiresadditionalinves-
thatmay have been closed except for ttoco. Other tigationin thefuture.BurialsfromtheVegachayoq
ttoco connect the upperchamberswith the lower Moqo sectorof Huari(Figure14) aredescribedby
chambers.In form, Huari's cheqo wasi are like Vera Tiesler Blos (1996). Most of the human
Type5a and5b mortuaryroomsfromConchopata, remainswere looted fromtombswithina massive
except thatthey are much grander.I proposethat wall that was built across a courtyardwhen the
these megalithictombs be recognizedas another functionof thearchitectural complexchangedfrom
subclass,Type 5c (Figure12) palace, to mortuarymonument,to popularceme-
All knownType5c mortuaryroomsfromHuari tery(see Isbell200 ib). It is nowclearthatthismas-
werelooted,probablymanytimes,beginningin the sive wall, more than 2 m thick, had many large
distantpast.Inearlypostconquesttimestheyserved niches, one containinga collection of secondary
as quarriesfor constructionstone,furnishinghuge burials (Bragayrac 1991), as well as numerous
expertlyworkedashlarsthat could be re-cut into chambers for wall interments. These were not
mill stones,waterconduits,andotherstoneobjects nichesbutcryptsforprimaryburialsthatwereprob-
Isbell] MORTUARY A WARICULTURE
PREFERENCES: CASESTUDYFROMMIDDLE
HORIZON
PERU 19

0600

Remainsof
house
--offering andaltarchamber
--' constructedoverprimary
...... tomb

Mortuary
rooms

0 ' 10m
... ....I

Figure 11. Batan Urqu, Cuzco, mortuary building with burials of Types 5a and 6. (Redrawn from Zapata 1997: Figures
5 and 34).

ably sealed except when occasionally reopened. tuaryactivityby Tiesler-are actuallyHuariburi-


Some wereprobablyintrudedintothe wall afterits als pulled from theirwall chambersand scattered
construction, while others appear to have been aboutthe foundationareaby looters.
shapedas the wall was built (Pdrez1999; Tiesler At Batan Urqu in Cuzco, Zapata (1997)
Blos 1996). I suspect that the large quantity of describesa largerectangularbuilding,poorlypre-
humanremainsfoundalong the edge of this same served, but originallyabout 33 m by 89 m, with
wall-and attributedto post-MiddleHorizonmor- partsof its perimeterwall standingalmost1 m high
20 LATINAMERICAN
ANTIQUITY [Vol.15, No. 1, 2004

Type5c HuariMortuaryRoom Type5c HuariMortuaryRoom


with two smallchambers with one largechambercomplex

aPlan :

a r
Chamber2 Entrance

: r2
I
2 Profile
7m.Profile

Figure 12. Huari's cheqo wasi or megalithic mortuary rooms of Type 5c. (Redrawn from GonzAilezCarre and Bragayrac
Divila 1996: 20 and from PNrez2001a: Figure 32).

and about 1.3 m thick. Along the interiorbottom to 20 m in diameterandhalf as deep thatwere par-
of the west wall, he foundType6 wall burialcham-tially filled with huge rocks, includingfragmehts
bers of variousforms, from rectangularto semi- of finely workedashlars,curiouslyshapedstones
circularto elongated,usuallycontainingdisturbed thatlooked like conduitsfor aqueducts,andcircu-
bones of several individuals, adults as well as larslabsresemblingmill stones.Nearbywas a long
infantsand children(Figure11). subterranean hall filled with humanremains.
Basedon thesereportsit appearsthatwall inter- Although extremely damaged, clearing and
mentsrepresentyet anotherkindof Warigravethat excavationby IsmaelPerez (1999, 2001a, 2001b)
was probablyopened and reopenedfor the addi- in 1997 has finallyrevealedenoughof the ancient
tion,andperhapstheremoval,of humanbodiesand architectureat Monjachayoqto get a sense of its
defleshed bones, respectively. Few offerings or originalform. Monjachayoqconsisted of four or
gravefurnishingshavebeen foundwith wall inter- five subterraneanlevels of constructionwith the
ments.Perhapsthisis becauseso manywerelooted, deepestreaching 10 m or more below the ground
but moreprobably,it is becausethey were similar (Figure 15). On the surfacethereappearsto have
in statusto Type 3 cist interments. been a perimeterwall, a "D-"shapedtemplebuild-
ing, a large structure,and maybe a streetor corri-
dor.Underthis, and apparentlybelow the original
Type 8 Royal Interment
groundlevel, was a complex of four halls, end to
The Monjachayoqarea of Huari is also named end, of well-maderoughstonemasonrywith mas-
"canterdn"(Bennett 1953:19) or stone quarryin sive cut stoneslabsfor theroof andthe floor.At the
Spanish.Before the 1970s it had gaping holes 15 southend, the hall complex passed over a deeper,
Isbell] MORTUARYPREFERENCES: A WARI CULTURE CASE STUDY FROM MIDDLEHORIZON PERU 21

Figure 13. This mortuary room at Huari contains a medium sized cheqo wasi, or megalithic tomb of Type 5c.

second subterranean level of architecture(Figures jachayoq,recuttingits originalconstructionblocks


15, 16, and 17). fornew requirements in thecolonialcapitalof Hua-
Monjachayoq'ssecond subterranean level con- manga.In spiteof this destruction,therecanbe lit-
tains 21 cells constructedof ashlarsin combina- tle questionthatthe complexof 21 cells represents
tion with rough stonework(Figures 16 and 17). a mortuarygroup,of subsidiaryburialchambers,
Thisconstructionwas disclosedby cleaningone of or perhaps offering houses built above an even
Monjachayoq'sgapingholes of loose stone,reveal- granderprimarymortuarychamber.
ing a surfaceexposedby lootersand subsequently Under the complex of 21 cells is a thirdbase-
worked by colonial stonecutterswho converted ment level, accessible only by a shaft. It is a hall
ancientashlarsintomillstones,waterconduits,and whose plan resembles a llama viewed in profile
otheritems requisitionedby Spanisharchitectsin (Figures 16 and 18). Pdrez (1999) observedthat
the new city of Huamanga.In fact, the 21 cham- entry was at the mouth of the symbolic animal.
bers areexposedbecausemassivecoveringstones And, at the tip of the llama'stail a still-deeperele-
were removed, along with several levels of con- ment was constructed,that mightbe considereda
structionabovethem.Pdrez(1999) foundstonesin fourthundergroundlevel. This is a circularcham-
theprocessof beingre-cut,alongwithanexhausted ber, lined with roughstonework,3.7 to 4 m deep,
iron chisel of the colonial masons. reaching 1.2 m in diameterat the bottom, with a
Huari's subterraneanmegalithic complex of flat-stonelid that once sealed it. It looks remark-
cells must have been opened and looted, perhaps ably like a primaryburialcist froma Type5a Wari
in prehispanictimes.Duringthe colonialeraSpan- mortuaryroom,as well as theprimaryburialcham-
ish contractorsbegan quarryingstone from Mon- ber in the BatanUrqumortuaryroom.
22 LATINAMERICAN
ANTIQUITY [Vol.15, No. 1, 2004

:I

4 WallTombs
SmeNiches SProbable Walls

surface So
St t

wall tombs P icstonesd


walls
ecorated
s
..6 niches
lo "D" ShapedhbuildinsFloorlevel
FirsdinTe er r
TW aceFfPill of stones
esu
.
Floors canal Floor Fo

Moqosector.
Figure14.Mapof Huari'sVegachayoq
Isbell] MORTUARY
PREFERENCES:
A WARICULTURE
CASESTUDYFROMMIDDLE PERU
HORIZON 23

--------- -----W- ----------


----
-- -I ---------------

* I

Vegachayoq
S Sector Moqo.-..y

Entrance
SPossible

Sectorarchitectural

S-
ashlars

0 meters
I Vg First
subterranean
Monjachayoq
hallswallslevel

ashlarUncleares

Cleared
in1973

Second subterranean
level cells

Third subterraneanlevel Surface walls


llama-shaped hall --

Figure 15. Map of Huari's Vegachayoq Moqo and Monjachayoq sectors. For details of subterranean levels in
Monjachayoq Sector, see Figure 16.
24 LATINAMERICAN
ANTIQUITY [Vol.15, No. 1, 2004

Originalentrance
to llama-shapedhall tomb

V
D3
6
7 5
'd? ~a7~s7G3
1
~c~fV3 17~=3
Vto llama shaped

N Cylindrical

cyst-tombof fourth
Cells of second
0 subterranean
1 2 level subterraneanlevel hall tomb of third
Llama-shaped hall tombentrance
loters'

subterraneanlevel
-????-metersmeters

Figure 16. Map of Huari's Monjachayoq Sector showing the second, third, and fourth subterranean levels.

Nothing of the original contents of Mon- royalburialplatforms-a "royalcatacomb."Itrep-


jachayoq'shugeunderground complexis lefttoday. resents the supremehierarchicallevel in Wari's
Many humanbones were removedfrom the first landscapeof death.The Monjachayoqtomb ma?
basementhallsin 1977.The21 chambersandllama be listed as a WariType 8 SubterraneanChamber
gallery of the second and third basements were Complex Interment, probably representing an
excavatedmore recently,but they containedonly emperorwho ruledHuariand all its possessions.
secondaryfill, withoccasionalfragmentsof human Withinthe Huarisite, I do not thinkthatType8
bones, pot sherds,and stone tools. Even the lid of interment is unique to Monjachayoq. Near the
the deepestcist hadbeenremovedandnothingwas northeastcorner of Huari's architecturalcore is
foundwithin.Of course,fragmentaryanddisturbed anothergreathole, filled with brokenblocks, ash-
humanremainswere scatteredthroughoutthe fill lars, and stones, that is also called canterrn. I
of this impressivecomplex, confirmingits mortu- believe thatexcavationswill revealanothermega-
ary function. lithic subterranean tomb complex of a Huari
The form, size, and impressiveconstructionof emperor,also looted long ago, andquarriedfor its
the Monjachayoqmortuarycomplex place it on a fineworkedstones.Perhapsa new excavationcam-
par with royal burialplatformsfrom Peru's great paign will revealan unlootedroyaltomb at Huari.
northcoastalcity of ChanChan(see Conrad1982).
I feel securein identifyingthe Monjachayoqsub- Wari's Landscape of the Dead
terraneanbuildingcomplex as a royalWaritomb,
eventhough,as atChanChan,regalbodiesandtheir Waripeopleinscribedrespectfor,andengagement
offeringsdisappearedcenturiesago. Curiously,the with, the dead into the built environmentsof their
Huarisepulchreis virtuallythe inverseof Chimu's cities andtowns.At Conchopatathey creatednew
Isbell] MORTUARYPREFERENCES: A WARI CULTURE CASE STUDY FROM MIDDLEHORIZON PERU 25

Figure 17. Wari Type 8 Royal Tombs are represented by the megalithic subterranean complex at Monjachayoq, Huari.
The second subterranean level consists of 21 cells that probably served as secondary tombs and offering chambers.
26 LATINAMERICAN
ANTIQUITY [Vol.15, No. 1, 2004

Figure 18. The third subterranean level of Huari's Monjachayoq royal tomb was probably the primary burial chamber.
It consists of a narrow hall whose plan resembles a llama in profile. Located 6 to 8 m below the original ground surface,
the looted chamber now contains construction rubble and fragments of human bone.

kinds of buildingswhere the living veneratedthe manydisturbedbuta few intact,fromConchopata


dead,who were interredbelow the floors.Some of and relatedsettlements,includingthe Huaricapi-
these tombs were modest,otherswere substantial tal itself. The resultingtypologyof ideal mortuary
anda few werepretentious.Themostpowerfulres- classes is remarkablycomplex andhierarchical.It
idents created mortuaryrooms for their bodies, suggestsso manyinferencesthatonly a few can be
wheretheywouldbe visitedby generationsof their discussedhere.
descendents,at least some of whom would even- Wari's Middle Horizon landscape of death
tuallybe addedto the same complex of tombs. linked ancestorsand descendentswith a house or
Conchopatahas half a dozen mortuaryrooms palace.This surelypromotedthe formalizationof
with tombsthathavegreatlids, ttoco,andoffering royallineagesordynastiesknownin manycultures
housesfillingthe entirespace.This mortuaryland- as "greathouses."Wariintermentemphasizedsta-
scape affirmsthatConchopatawas not just a city tus differenceand social inequalityin its spatial
of craftspeople,but of elites and nobles, occupy- metaphors.Type 1 and Type 2 intermentswere
ing palaces and commandingresourcessufficient small, unmarked,and lackingin materialobjects.
to constructimpressivetombsandprovisionthem Type 2 multiple intermentsmay graduallyhave
with wealth thatincludedgold. But the poor con- becamemorepopular,almostreplacingindividual
dition of Middle Horizontombs made it impossi- interments.Kin ties, or whateverformedthe basis
ble to describeWari mortuarybehaviordirectly. for mortuarygrouping,became emphasizedeven
This has been achievedonly by abstractingideal more as multiple intermentsof the Middle Hori-
or preferredpatternsfrom a multitudeof graves, zon replacedindividualgraves and cemeteriesof
Isbell] MORTUARY CASESTUDYFROMMIDDLE
A WARICULTURE
PREFERENCES: PERU
HORIZON 27

theEarlyIntermediateperiodMendosaphase.Per- BatanUrqo in Cuzco implies Warikings of simi-


haps in the new urbanmilieu, new principlesof larnoblerankin thedistantcity of Huaro,butjudg-
affiliationwere exploredfor creatingnew kindsof ing by the graves, Batan Urqo's kings were
relationships(Smith2003). probablywealthierthan Conchopata'srulersin a
Ttocoopeningsintotombsbecamepopulardur- regionalscale of powerandaffluence.Type5a and
ing the Middle Horizon, implying an increased 5b burialsseem to representa fourthlevel of social
desire to maintaincontact with ancestors.How- statusin ancientWariculture,perhapsrulersof sec-
ever,Type 1 and Type2 intermentshave no ttoco ondarycities and governorsof provincialterrito-
and containno luxurygoods. It appearsthatlow- ries.
statusindividualswereburiedtogether,in affiliated Mortuaryroomsof Type5a and5b weretheapex
groupings,butthey did not become reveredances- of the funeraryhierarchyat Conchopataand at
tors. Huaro/BatanUrqu, but they were modest when
WariType 3 cists, as well as Type6 wall inter- comparedwith Huari's cheqo wasi-megalithic
ments, are a step higher in the social landscape. chambertombs-but placed in mortuaryrooms
Type3 gravessometimes,butnotalways,hadttoco similarto those of Conchopata.This demonstrates
openings,whileType6 seemsnotto havehadthem. that the fourth-levelcuracas of Conchopatawere
I suggest thatthese burialsrepresenttypical resi- significantlyout-rankedby more powerfulnobles
dents of Waricities, neitherpowerfulnor impov- at Huari,who could build trulymagnificentmau-
erished. soleums.Furthermore, Type5c megalithicmortu-
Type 4 bedrockchamberintermentsappearto aryroomsappearto havebeenlimitedto Huari,and
havebeentheburialplacesof minornobles,atleast perhaps one provincial site in the south, where
at Conchopata.They had ttoco openingsand con- some Huariprince may have establisheda royal
tained many grave goods. Type 4 burialsare fre- villa orcountryestate.Consequently,Type5c buri-
quentat Conchopata,implying thatthe surviving als must representa fifth hierarchicallevel of sta-
portionof thatcity was a palacecompound,orcom- tus and wealth in Waricultureand society. Their
plex of associatedpalacecompoundsoccupiedin limitationto the capitalcity impliescentralization
large partby elites. Bedrockchambertombs that of political power, with deceased nobles being
were not disturbed appear to have held family buriedonly in the greatcity. Wari'slandscapeof
groups,and at least some examplesarebest inter- deathproclaimsHuari'suniquehierarchicalposi-
preted as the polygynous family of a man with tion, contradictinginterpretationsof the Middle
manywives. In fact, female remainsconsiderably Horizonthatarguefor equivalentcities or confed-
outnumberthe males in ourConchopataosteolog- erationsof lineages.
ical sample,a factthatI ascribeto the seraglio-like Supremepowerand wealthin Wari'smortuary
natureof the palatialsector we have investigated landscapeis representedby Type8 royalinterment,
at Conchopata. a sixth level in the power hierarchy.Still poorly
BurialType 5a and 5b mortuaryrooms repre- known, these tomb complexes were vast and
sentthepinnacleof theintermenthierarchyatCon- impressive.Furtherresearchwill probablyprove
chopata.Theyhavettocoopenings,combinedwith thattheywerethe tombsof Huari'semperors.And
anofferinghousewithaltarchamber.Thesegraves they significantlysurpassall othergravesof Mid-
contained gold and other objects of wealth, dle Horizon date anywhere within the Wari
althoughnonehas beendiscoveredunlooted.As in sphere-Pachacamac, Cuzco, Huamachuco,
bedrockchambertombs, mortuaryrooms contain Nasca,or Moquegua.Theironly appropriate place
a predominanceof female skeletons, seeming to was Huariitself, wheretheyprobablydefinedcen-
confirmtheimportanceof polygyny,andtheimpor- trality,for therearehintsthatsocial relationswith
tanceof womenandtheirlaborforthesmallernum- these dead emperorsneverended, and that social
ber of elite men. I proposethatthe personsburied memorywas constructedaroundtheirtombs.
in Conchopata'smortuaryrooms were rulersand Wari's dead, or perhaps more correctly, the
theirclose family members,probablypetty kings higher-statusdead,werein continuedrelationships
or curaca, to use an Andeanterm.The discovery withtheliving.Offeringsof some sort,butcertainly
of similarbutmoremagnificentmortuaryroomsat including small luxury objects, were introduced
28 LATINAMERICAN
ANTIQUITY [Vol.15, No. 1, 2004

intotombsthoughttocoopenings.Offeringhouses imagine Inka-style mummies trapped in these


with altarchambers,built over the tombsof Type tombs, beyond the reach of their descendents.
5 as well as Type 8 royal tombs, may have con- While therewere importantdevelopmentsin Type
tainedmany otherkinds of gifts. This shows that 5 tombs that appear to document significant
progenitorswere objectsof adoration,andthatthe changesin treatmentsandmeaningsof deadances-
peopleof Waripracticedancestorworshipof some torsthoughthe MiddleHorizon,Waridescendents
sort. who employedType5a mortuaryroomscontented
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, themselveswith communicatingwith theirprinci-
Andean peoples practicedreligions that empha- pal ancestorthrougha ttoco
sizedancestorworship(Doyle 1988;Duviols 1988; At Conchopata,andapparentlyatHuarias well,
Isbell 1997a; Salomon 1995). Corpsesof impor- elaboratemortuaryrooms were located far from
tant lineage founders and political leaders were publicareas.They were intendedfor privatecere-
mummifiedbecausetheirbodieswereholy objects monies, not public display.In fact, built environ-
of publicworship.The cadaverwas carefullypre- ments of deathimply that admissionto mortuary
served,even body exuvia-fingernail cuttingsand roomswas limitedandexclusive.Perhapsentrance
trimmedhair.Some mummiesresided in special instatedpowerthathad to be controlled.Adjacent
mortuarytowns,othersremainedin theirhomesand facilitiesdo not includecourtyardsor plazaslarge
palaces, and, at least some of the time, dead Inka enough for the assemblyof many people. We do
kings sattogetherin a greathallwithinCuzco'ssun not yet fully understandhow the Waridead were
temple(MacCormack1991).Founders'mummies incorporatedin granderritualswheresocial mem-
anddeceasedkings were publicfigures.They par- ory was constructed,but currentinformationsug-
ticipatedin feasts, traveledabout,and were avail- gests the possibility that defleshed and
ableforconsultation.Theydemandedandreceived disarticulatedbones of deceased ancestorscould
fine clothing,foods, and otheritems of conspicu- have been objects of displayin public landscapes
ous display,andwitnessingtheirenjoymentof these of death.
gifts seems to have been an essentialpartof wor- Unfortunately,the image of Inka-stylemum-
ship by theirdescendents. mies is excessively powerfulin Andeanarchaeol-
It would be attractiveto imaginesimilarmum- ogy, becoming an untested assumption for
mies populatingWari'slandscapeof death,butthis interpretingearliermortuaryremains(see Kaulicke
seems unlikely.Warimortuaryfacilities were not 2000). Inka ancestormummieswere kept in open
designedto preservemummifiedflesh. Underthe sepulchres and broughtout to participatein cere-
floorsin the ground,Warideadwere soon reduced monialactivitiesof the living,in manycases as the
to bones. Furthermore,some of the bones, but not focus of adoration.TheresaandJohnTopic(1984;
mummifiedcadavers,were removedwhile other see also Isbell 1997a:204-208)reportedthe possi-
partsof the body remainedin the graves.Appar- bilityof Inka-likemummiesfroma lateEarlyInter-
ently, Wari ancestorswere deliberatelydismem- mediateperiod/MiddleHorizonmortuarybuilding
bered, somethingthat would have horrifiedInka at CerroAmaruin Huamachuco,althoughthe con-
worshippers. text was disturbedand requiredsignificantinter-
Manyof the higherstatusWaritombswereeas- pretativeinference. Also on the basis of highly
ily openedand sealed again,but it seems unlikely disturbedhumanremainsI arguedthatJargampata,
thatthey containedfounders'mummieswho were a ruralMiddle Horizon installation25 km from
broughtout for public worship.The entrancesof Huari,may have includeda room within its resi-
these tombswouldhavemadeit difficultto extract dentialquarterswheremummieswere kept (Isbell
andreplacewhole mummies.But the evidencefor 1997a:187). But new mortuaryinformationfrom
Type 5a tombs is even more indicative.Theirpri- Conchopatashowsthatthedeceasedwereaccessed
mary cists were impossible to re-open once an though ttoco openings, and that removalof com-
offering house and altarchamberhad been con- pletebodiesforparticipation in publicritualswould
structedover the lid. have been difficult or impossible. GordonMcE-
Principalcists of Type5a mortuaryroomscon- wan's (1998) inference that Inka-like ancestor
tainedimportantancestors,but it is impossibleto mummies were the principalreligious objects of
Isbell] MORTUARY
PREFERENCES: CASESTUDYFROMMIDDLE
A WARICULTURE PERU
HORIZON 29

Wari'sregionaladministrativecenterat Pikillacta the Universityof NorthCarolina(TiffinyTung),the University


now seems very unlikely. Quoted in a recent of California-Berkeley(Bill Whiteheadand Matt Seyre), La
UniversidadNacional de San Marcos (PatriciaMayta), and
National Geographic Magazine article (Morell
fromArgentina(MabelMamaniand SilvanaRosenfeld),who
2002:123),McEwanstatedthatPikillactawas used have contributedto the researchby directingexcavationcrews
as a mummystoragedepotwhereWarileadersheld and/or participatingin analyses. Special recognition is due
capturedancestormummieshostageto insurepolit- AlbertoCarbajalA., my friend,our projectadministrator, and
ical compliance from their living descendents. an insightful archaeologist. I want to thank Dr. Luis
Lumbreras,currentdirectorof Peru's InstitutoNacional de
Withoutmaterialevidencein supportof this asser-
Cultura,for his encouragement.Throughthe yearsunequaled
tion, andin light of inconsistenciesbetweenMid- supporthas come from Dr. EnriqueGonzalez Carr6,in his
dle HorizonAyacuchomortuaryfacilitiesandthose posts as Rectorof the UniversidadNacional San Crist6balde
associatedwith Inkapublic display of mummies, Huamanga,Directorof the Museo Nacional de Arqueologfa,
suchancestorbundlesseem unlikelyin Pikillacta's andDirectorof Peru'sInstitutoNacionalde Cultura.Gonzalez
had a storagefacility added to the archaeologylaboratoryof
landscapeof death.If ancestormummiesexisted the Universidad Nacional San Cristobal de Huamanga
at Pikillacta,they were partof the cultureof the expressly for materialsexcavated at Conchopata.I want to
conqueredpeoples of Cuzco. thank the directors of Ayacucho's Instituto Nacional de
Therecan be no doubtthat this study of Wari Cultura,Ulyses Lareya, Teresa Carrasco,MarianoBenites,
and Severino Castillo for their help, friendship,and advice.
mortuarylandscape is preliminary.Much more
CesarAlverez,directorof Ayacucho'sarchaeologicalmuseum
informationmust be collected and compared.As
Hipolito Unanue, also contributedto the success of the
dataincrease,so will the refinementof ideal types ConchopataArchaeologicalProject,as did manyothers.I also
of Wari mortuary practices, as well as actual wish to thankmy university,the StateUniversityof New York
cases-the occasionalintacttomb-providing bet- at Binghamton,and my colleagues in anthropology,for sup-
ter understandingof variability and individual port and encouragement.Dr. Cook's Catholic University of
America, and the UniversidadNacional San Crist6bal de
strategiesin the treatmentof Waridead. But even Huamangahave also contributedgenerously.Finally,my wife
in preliminaryform,this typology of Warimortu-
Judy Siggins has been a source of continualhelp and inspira-
arypreferencesfurnishesa tool for inferringsocial tion. She has managedour home and family life duringmy
andpoliticalhierarchyduringtheMiddleHorizon, long researchabsences, she read and edited my proposals,
whileit createsa new understanding of Wari'sland- reports,andmanuscripts,andshe is the best consultantanyone
could hope for.
scape of death.

Acknowledgements:The ConchopataArchaeologicalProject References Cited


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Arqueologifa,Facultadde CienciasSociales, Universidad ologists and Philosophers,edited by LesterEmbree,pp.
Nacionalde San Cristobalde Huamanga,Ayacucho. 260-288. KluwerAcademic,Dordrecht.
Topic,JohnR. 1992b The Interplayof EvidentialConstraintsand Politi-
1986 A Sequenceof MonumentalArchitecturefrom Hua- cal Interests:RecentArchaeologicalResearchon Gender.
machuco.In Perspectiveson AndeanPrehistoryand Pro- AmericanAntiquity57:15-34.
tohistory,edited by Daniel H. Sandweiss and D. Peter Zapata,Julinho
Kvietok,pp.63-83. LatinAmericanStudiesProgram,Cor- 1997 Arquitecturay contextos funerariosWarien Batan
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1991 Huari and Huamachuco.In Huari Administrative PeterKaulicke,pp. 165-206. BoletinArqueologicaPUCP
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McEwan, pp. 141-164. DumbartonOaks, Washington,
D.C. Notes
1994 El izamientodel gallardeteen Huamachuco.In En el
nombredel Seiior:Shamanes,demonios,y curanderosdel 1. "Huari"is also spelled "Wari."This name refersto the
nortedel Perui,editedby Luis Millonesand Moises Lem-
archaeologicalruinsof a greatcity in Peru'scentralhighland
lij, pp. 102-127. BibliotecaPeruanade Psicoanailisis.
Aus-
AyacuchoValley. It also refers to the art style and archaeo-
tralisS.A., Lima.
logical culturethat probablyoriginatedin the city, and was
Topic,Theresa
1991 The Middle Horizon in Northern Peru. In Huari spreadacross much of the CentralAndes duringthe Middle
AdministrativeStructure:PrehistoricMonumentalArchi- Horizon (A.D. 550 to 1000). To reducethe confusion, I have
tectureandState Government,editedby WilliamH. Isbell proposed(Isbell 2002) that "Huari"be used for the city and
and GordonE McEwan,pp. 233-246. DumbartonOaks, its contents, while "Wari"be employed for the broadlydif-
Washington,D.C. fused cultureand its distinctiveart found outside the capital
Topic,JohnR., andTheresaLangTopic city. I follow that practicein this article.
1992 The Rise and Decline of CerroAmaru:An Andean 2. I wish to recognize the co-directors,project adminis-
ShrineDuringthe EarlyIntermediatePeriodand Middle
trator,sponsors,and otherparticipantsand contributorsto the
Horizon.InAncientImages,AncientThought:TheArchae-
Conchopata Archaeological Project. Please see
ology of Ideology,edited by A. S. Goldsmith,S. Garvie,
D. Selin, andJ. Smith,pp. 167-180. Universityof Calgary "Acknowledgments"at the end of the article. Special thanks
are due Dr. Tiffiny Tung for her painstakinganalyses of the
ArchaeologicalAssociation,Calgary.
2001 Hacia la comprensi6ndel fen6menohuari:Una per- Conchopataskeletal remains, and the preliminaryinforma-
apectiveNortefia.InBoletinde ArqueologiaPUCP No. 4, tion presentedhere. Bioarchaeologicalstudy of these materi-
2000 Huariy Tiwanaku:Modelosvs. evidencias,primera als is continuing.
parte, editedby PeterKaulickeandWilliamH. Isbell,pp. 3. This discussiondeals with the burialof adultsandjuve-
102-127. Departamento de Humanidades, Especialidadde nile children.Except where they were placed in what appear
Arqueologfa, Pontifica UniversidadCat61licadel Peril. to have been family tombs, the burialof fetuses and infants,
Lima.
as well as young children, was significantly different from
Topic,TheresaLange,andJohnR. Topic
1984 HuamachucoArchaeological Project:Preliminary burial for adults and youths. This probablyexpressed prac-
Reporton theThirdSeason,June-August1983.TrentUni- tices appropriatefor differentage grades.Complete analysis
versity OccasionalPapersin AnthropologyNo. 1, Peter- of Conchopataburial practices, including the intermentof
borough,Ontario. children,will be presentedin the future.
Tung,TiffinyA. 4. A tupu is a long pin with flat head ethnohistorically
2003 BioarchaeologicalAnalysis of WariTrophyHeads: used by women to fasten a wrap-aroundgarmentover their
Evidencefrom Conchopata,Peru.Paperpresentedat the shoulders.
72nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of 5. ChallengingIsbell and Cook's originalconclusionthat
PhysicalAnthropology,Tempe,Arizona. the women were sacrificialvictims, recentre-examinationof
Tung,Tiffiny,andAnitaCook
2002 IntermediateElites andTheirRole in WariImperial- the bones by TiffinyTungfailed to detect evidence of violent
ism as IdentifiedThroughBioarchaeologicaland Mortu- death. Of course, strangulation,poison, and othertechniques
aryAnalysis.Paperpresentedat the 67thAnnualMeeting for killing would leave no detectableevidence, especially on
of the Society for AmericanArchaeology,Denver. poorly preservedbones, as these are. But the conclusion that
Woolley,C. Leonard the women were sacrificedrequiresmore examinationin the
1934 Ur Excavations.Vol.2: TheRoyal Cemetery.British future.
Museum and University Museum of the University of
Pennsylvania,Londonand Philadelphia.
Wylie,Alison
1992a On "HeavilyDecomposing Red Herrings":Scien- SubmittedJanuary31, 2003; AcceptedOctober3, 2003;
tificMethodinArchaeologyandtheLadeningof Evidence RevisedNovember18, 2003.