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Journal Article

Citation

Finucane BC. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 2008; 135(1): 75-84.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2008, Wiley-Blackwell)

DOI

10.1002/ajpa.20710

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

Rescue excavations at the site of Nawinpukio in Perú's Ayacucho Valley exposed a cache of fragmented skulls dating to the Huarpa-era, about AD 400–700. Physical analysis of these remains revealed that they belonged to individuals of both sexes and a range of ages (MNI = 8), and that four crania had been modified through drilling, cutting, and scraping. The occipital and parietal bones of one cranium had been modified to form a shallow basin. Carbon stable isotope analysis of these remains revealed that five individuals had isotopic signatures consistent with maize consumption and one individual exhibited a carbon isotope value indicative of a C3 plant based diet. Such a nonmaize diet distinguishes this individual from all other prehistoric humans analyzed from the Ayacucho Valley and is consistent with an origin a different ecozone of the valley. On the basis of their physical properties it is argued that these remains represent trophies obtained during raiding. Drawing on the formal properties of the specimens as well as ethnographic and archaeological analogies, it is suggested that the cranial basin served as a vessel for liquid. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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