Tombs With a View

Toyne cliffsTombs With a View: Using Vertical Archaeology to Explore Pre-Hispanic Cliff Tombs in Chachapoyas, Peru

Presenting Dr. J. Marla Toyne 

Assistant Professor, Anthropology department, University of Central Florida, Orlando 

March 21, 2014

University of Florida, Rolfs Hall, Room 205

Event begins at 2:00 p.m. 

Sponsored by: FASA and the Department of Anthropology, University of Florida

The ancient Chachapoya (A.D. 600-1490) of the high jungle on the eastern slopes of the Andean mountains of Peru created a mortuary landscape unlikely any other. Using narrow natural ledges on vertical cliffs, they constructed walled and windowed rooms, sometimes two stories, which were elaborately painted and decorated. These collective tombs are incredibly difficult to access even with modern technology, yet these ancient people built and repeatedly ascended to them to place their dead there. These tombs create a visual connection to communities across the valley and this suggests that the ancestors continued to watch over the living.

This presentation will explore our recent investigation of the mortuary site of La Petaca in the district of Leymebamba, using vertical repelling techniques in order to access, study, and excavation a selection of tombs in order to examine the lives and deaths of this particular population.

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