Anthropological Science
Online ISSN : 1348-8570
Print ISSN : 0918-7960
ISSN-L : 0918-7960
Ritual consumption and sacrifice of llama (Lama grama) at the Pacopampa site in the Northern Highlands, Peru
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Article ID: 2104111


Domesticated camelids spread to Peru’s Northern Highlands by 500 BC. The complexity and development of the society that then developed in the region have been explained by social networks enabled by the use of the llama as a cargo animal. However, the actual use of domesticated camelids in the Formative Period remains unclear. This study analyzed camelid skeletal remains excavated from the Pacopampa site (1200–400 BC) to provide information on the actual use of these animals. Osteometry determined the camelid to be llama; alpaca was not identified in the samples. Body part frequency, butchering mark distribution, and mortality profile revealed ritual consumption of the meaty part of young individuals. Four sacrificed immature llamas were detected. In contrast to the great similarity with the consumption process of artiodactyls’ only llamas were sacrificed, while deer were not targeted. Although there were no features in the animal bone material indicating the use of secondary products, the increasing number of artifacts related to textile production suggest the fiber might be the result of llama herding.

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