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Dating the dead: New radiocarbon dates from the lower Ica Valley, south coast Peru

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Cadwallader, Lauren  ORCID logo
Torres, SA 
O’Connell, TC 
Pullen, AG 
Beresford-Jones, DG 


jats:pThis article presents radiocarbon dates from human bone samples (jats:italicn</jats:italic> = 13) from seven pre-Columbian cemeteries in the Samaca and Ullujaya Basins of the lower Ica Valley, south coast of Peru, spanning from the end of the Early Horizon to the Inca Late Horizon. These contexts have been severely looted. Yet, in all cases, their putative dating by material culture remains is confirmed by these jats:sup14</jats:sup>C dates. This shows that such disturbed contexts, sadly typical of the Peruvian coast, can nonetheless still yield valuable bioarchaeological and burial practice data. These dates elaborate upon an emerging picture of the absolute dating of the cultural phases of the wider south coast region, in particular casting new light on the poorly understood Middle Horizon to Late Intermediate period transition. A paucity of archaeological data for this 3-century period has been taken as evidence of some sort of environmentally or socially induced lacuna. Instead, the jats:sup14</jats:sup>C dates presented here suggest that the basins of the lower Ica Valley were continuously occupied over this period.</jats:p>



4301 Archaeology, 4303 Historical Studies, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology

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Cambridge University Press (CUP)
We thank the Ministerio de Cultural del Perú for granting permission for the fieldwork (No. 0028-2010-VMPCIC-MC) and analysis of samples for dating (No. 369-2011-VMPCIC-MC); Alberto Benavides Ganoza and the people of Samaca for facilitating fieldwork; the Arts and Humanities Research Council for LC's doctoral funding; the NERC Radiocarbon Facility for funding radiocarbon dating (grant number NF/2012/1/7 to TCO’C and LC); and Tom Higham, Diane Baker, Ingmar Unkel and Elmo Leon for their help and advice.