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The Nature of Moche Human Sacrifice: A BioArchaeological Perspective

RichardC. Sutter and RosaJ. Cortez
Current Anthropology
Vol. 46, No. 4 (August/October 2005), pp. 521-549
DOI: 10.1086/431527
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/431527
Page Count: 29
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The Nature of Moche Human Sacrifice
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Abstract

Archaeologists working in northern Peru have proposed that victims of Moche sacrifice represented either local Moche warriors defeated in ritual battles or enemy soldiers captured in warfare with nonMoche or competing Moche polities. Analysis of biodistances among eight Early Intermediate Period (200 BCAD 750) North Coast mortuary samples indicates that the sacrificial victims from the Huaca de la Luna are the least similar to others and the most variable. When iconographic analysis, mortuary treatment, and the available archaeological data are considered, it appears thatcontrary to the prediction of the ritualbattle modelthe Huaca de la Luna sacrificial victims were drawn not from the local Moche population but from a number of competing Moche polities. This result has implications for the sociopolitical development of and relations among the Moche.

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