The Bioarchaeology of the Ancient Maya and Moche Civilizations: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Comprehending the Interconnectivities and Dynamism of Ritualistic Sacrifice and Structural Violence

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2023-08
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Abstract

This thesis will explore and perform a cross-cultural comparison between the pre- Hispanic ancient civilizations of Latin America, specifically the Maya of Mesoamerica and the Moche of northern Peru. Within the domains of these cultures, further analysis will emphasize the thematic frameworks and fluid interconnectedness of ritualistic sacrifice and structural violence and deduce their interactive and dynamic components through a multidisciplinary approach. Particularly, the incorporation of methodological and theoretical perspectives from bioarchaeology and osteoarchaeology will be of utmost importance to properly and accurately discern between sacrificial and non-sacrificial skeletal assemblages within mortuary environments and contexts. Additionally, these assessments and research objectives will be more holistically enhanced and complemented by incorporating other applicable fields, chiefly iconography, taphonomy, demography, ethnohistory, and the archaeological presence of burial items and offerings, as well as theoretical perspectives, specifically structural violence and biocultural and social theory. Spanning across a multitude of prominent archaeological sites throughout the Maya and Moche cultures, including, but not limited to, Copán, Chichén Itzá, San José de Moro, and Huacas de Moche, the iconographic representations and skeletal remains expressed provide a very clear picture of the violently sacrificial predispositions that characterize these ancient societies.

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Keywords
Bioarchaeology, sacrifice, structural violence, iconography, Maya, Moche
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