SOAN Feb 2018 Colloquium: Death in Colonial Peru: How Bones and Burial Patterns Reveal Native Resistance, Accommodation, and Transformation Under Spanish Rule, 16-18th Centuries A.D.

Speaker: Dr. Haagen Klaus

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Johnson Center, #325, Meeting Room A

In the formation of colonial societies, it has been long assumed that colonizers implant a “cultural package” that successfully replaces local practices and beliefs. Is this indeed historical reality, or a perspective influenced via biased ethnohistoric sources and Western thought? One region where colonial mortuary archaeology is virtually unexplored is Peru, and this talk examines impacts of Spanish colonial hegemony on native Muchik death rituals in the Lambayeque valley, north coast Peru. Because burial was one of the most powerfully contested socio-ideological domains in the Colonial Andes, the techniques and methods of  archaeothanatology was used to reconstruct the postcontact mortuary practices — and the deeper social and ideological structures they embody — in a comparative study between late pre-Hispanic practices and the Colonial towns of Eten and Mórrope. As explored in the talk, very surprising and contrasting kinds of social and ideological transformations, negotiations and engagements with the Colonial world come to light. The potential and future of archeothanatology as key frontier in mortary archaeology is also explored.