Dr. J. Marla Toyne

Túcume Biorchaeological Project – Skeletal Biology and Mortuary Variation

For almost two decades, I have been participating in ongoing archaeological research at Túcume, Lambayeque Valley (northern coast of Peru, near modern Chiclayo).  At this large multi-component archaeological complex (A.D. 1000-1532), we collaborate with site archaeologists excavating tombs from cemeteries, as well as identifying human and animal burials from within architecture. Work focuses in human osteology analyzing skeletal patterns in demography, morphology, diet, dental health, pathology, trauma, and biodistance (population history).

Undergraduate and graduate students interested in osteology and archaeology.

Chachapoyas Bioarchaeology Project – Mortuary Patterns and Population Biohistory

For over a decade, I have been the biological anthropologist responsible for the analysis of human skeletal remains recovered from the archaeological excavations at the prehispanic site of Kuelap, located on the eastern slopes of the Chachapoyas region of Peru – department of Amazonas. Frequently called a “fortress” this massive archaeological complex has been the focus of great interest and speculation for over 150 years. Recent archaeological, conservation, and touristic investment have strengthened our ability to investigate recovered materials from the site and others in more remote locations, and also to assess the impact archaeology has on the local communities.

Across the Chachapoya region, in collaboration with Peruvian and Spanish colleagues, we use vertical climbing techniques to explore how the location of mortuary structures reflects the nature of social relationships among different groups, their ancestors and the living landscape.  In a physically challenging environment the Chachapoya risked their lives to build elaborate tombs and regularly inter their dead on vertical cliffs and in deep caves. We explore innovative techniques to reach, explore, map, record, and analyze these mortuary structures. Osteological analysis of the recovered skeletal and mummified remains provides a window into the lives of the individuals who were interred and archaeological investigation of the mortuary structures helps identify the material and symbolic expression of identity.

Graduate students interested in bioarchaeology (osteology), archaeology, tourism.

Contact Dr. J. Marla Toyne for additional information.