Supplementary Material

Steering Clear of the Dead: Avoiding Ancestors in the Moquegua Valley, Peru

ABSTRACT Ancestors are a central and recurring theme in scholarship on mortuary practices in the pre-Hispanic Andes. Archaeological and ethnohistoric data indicate that at many times and places the dead were critical social actors. Physical interaction with the bodies and spaces of ancestors was important in legitimizing claims to heritage, land, resources, and status. Yet, relatively neglected in the literature on Andean attitudes to the dead is how people dealt with other people’s ancestors. To address this, I examine how a Late Intermediate Period community, who circa AD 1250 occupied an earlier terminal Middle Horizon village in southern Peru, managed interactions with their predecessors’ dead. Excavations at the site reveal considerable evidence for active avoidance of cemeteries associated with the older village, which contrasts with the re-utilization of earlier domestic space. Moreover, aversion to the ancestors of others was practiced alongside active engagement with the new community’s “own” dead. Drawing on Lau’s recent (2013) discussion of alterity in the ancient Andes, I propose that just as interacting with one’s own ancestors is frequently interpreted as a way of reifying belonging, steering clear of the dead can be equally powerful in community building and identity negotiation during major sociopolitical upheaval. [alterity, funerary practice, Andean South America]


The following are some photographs from events discussed in the article. All photographs courtesy of the author.

View of three of the Tumilaca cemeteries from the Estuquiña fortress located on Cerro la
Chimba.

The Estuquiña fortress located on Cerro la Chimba.

View of Estuquiña residential structures at Tumilaca la Chimba.

Double-faced wall constructed along the path to the Estuquiña fortress constructed
between the Tumilaca cemeteries.

Tumilaca infant tomb.

Estuquiña adult tomb with partial exterior stone ring.

Red-slipped Estuquiña pitcher.

Red-slipped Estuquiña bowl.

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