Date of Award

December 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Jean Hudson

Committee Members

Laura Villamil, Jason Sherman


Bioarchaeology, Callejon De Huaylas, Peru, Hinterlands, Mortuary Practices, Recuay Culture, Regional Perspective


Archaeological investigations of burial chambers in the north-central highlands of Peru constitute the corpus of this thesis. Most of the stone structures correspond chronologically and culturally to the Recuay Tradition, a time span of 100 to 800 CE. The study area is located in the Cordillera Negra of the Callejón de Huaylas basin (Ancash Department). CRM projects developed in the impact zone of the Pierina mine have contributed valuable information on the mortuary practices of a Recuay agro-pastoral community. This thesis relied on grave goods inventories, osteological analysis, and types of stone architecture in the burial chamber. Data from this community is compared to a sample from the Cordillera Blanca, situated at the eastern side of the Callejón de Huaylas. While the Cordillera Blanca tombs show evidence of high quality tomb construction and grave goods associated with chiefly groups, the Cordillera Negra tombs do not. This thesis investigates the possible explanations of the differences. After 700 CE, both areas suffered transformations with the intrusive presence of Wari-related materials and the increase of inter-regional interaction. At the same time, cultural change occurred in tomb construction to above-ground mausoleums (chullpas). Since the pioneering studies of J.C. Tello (1929) and W.C. Bennett (1944), no other study of Recuay burial practices has been carried out at regional scale. Basic information per burial chamber reaffirm mortuary customs in the area, and help to define the characteristics of Recuay funerary practices.