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Life and Death at Paloma

Society and Mortuary Practices in a Preceramic Peruvian Village

Jeffrey Quilter

Publication Year: 1989

Life and Death at Paloma, when published in 1989, was the first in-depth treatment of burials from a preagricultural South American village. It remains a valuable resource used by students and scholars of Andean archaeology. Jeffrey Quilter analyzes the life of Paloma's people during the transition from a hunting-gathering-fishing way of life to a more sedentary horticultural society and offers a study of preceramic Peruvian life through his analysis of this site's graves and their contents.

Published by: University of Iowa Press

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pp. ix-x

The Paloma Archaeological Project was designed to be both a contribution to Andean prehistory and a test case in the study of biological and cultural adaptations of a population isolated from Old World diseases and other influences. Our efforts built upon the work of Frederic-Andre Engel and his team of ...

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pp. xi-xii

During the long gestation period which led to publication of this book I had the support of many friends and colleagues. I acknowledge their help with deep gratitude. ...

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pp. xiii-xvi

One of the hallmarks of Precolumbian Peru is its many well-preserved and elaborate burials. In the postconquest period, the mummies of the Inca attracted the attention of the Spanish because of the reverence and wealth accorded the dead rulers. The cemetery of Ancion exaca- ...

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1. Climate, Chronology, and Culture in Early Peru

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pp. 1-9

the presence of one of the world's driest deserts on the central coast of western South America (fig. 2) often surprises beginning students used to equating the tropics with rain forests. Rain forests do exist further east in the Amazon Basin; but in between the sand ...

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2. The Site of Paloma

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pp. 10-25

The site of Paloma is the buried remains of a village of reed huts on the northern edge of the Chilca River Valley, 65 kilometers south of Lima (figs 4-8; Engel 1980; Benfer 1984, 1986a). Uncalibrated radiocarbon dates place occupations of the site between about 5700 ...

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3. The Archaeological Discoveries at Paloma

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pp. 26-42

The Paloma soil and midden preserved the bones of the dead in good condition. Small pieces of dried flesh and muscle were occasionally found in areas well protected from disintegration by mad or textile wrappings or at bone joints, but skin was not preserved in ...

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4. Quantitative Analyses of the Paloma Burials

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pp. 43-52

All archaeological analyses are directed toward the detection of patterns in data which shed light on past human behavior and its contexts. Some data may not have been manipulated by humans, such as the sediments ...

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5. Discussion of Paloma Mortuary Practices

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pp. 53-67

It is remarkable that burial practices at the site were basically the same through the great span of time during which Paloma was occupied. Even if variations have been missed due to lack of evidence for ephemeral rituals ...

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6. Paloma and Preceramic Cultural History and Processes

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pp. 68-86

The Paloma burials are not the oldest known for the continent or region. Interments have been found at a number of Andean sites which date many centuries earlier. Many of these sites were occupied by hunters at the ...

Appendix 1. Burial Illustrations and Data

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pp. 87-162

Appendix 2. Supplementary Tables

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pp. 163-172

References Cited

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pp. 173-182


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pp. 183-185

E-ISBN-13: 9781587291982
E-ISBN-10: 1587291983
Print-ISBN-13: 9780877451945
Print-ISBN-10: 1587293994

Page Count: 203
Publication Year: 1989

Edition: 1st ed.