The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Resource and mortuary patterns as an interpretation of spatial use at Cerro Mangote, Panama


Department of Society, Culture and Language, University of New England

Saturday 10:45-11:00, Ballroom B Add to calendar

Cerro Mangote (7000-5000 BP) is a Preceramic site on the central Pacific coast of Panama. The archaeological evidence is consistent with a site used both as a mortuary and resource collection site (Piperno and Pearsall 1998, Ranere and Cooke 2003). The presence of a cemetery and with a multi-resource site suggests an important link between rituals by the living to particular foodstuffs and ancestors. To explore these connections, the mortuary treatments of the individuals recovered (n=110) were compared to musculoskeletal stress markers (MSM) and cross sectional geometry. The results highlight the experimentation in mortuary patterns by the living population, illustrating variation not typically assumed in a Preceramic site. The MSM suggest sex-specific activities. Male MSM are consistent with more robusticity in the upper limbs than lower. Female MSM indicate an equal distribution between upper and lower limb markers. The cross-sectional geometry suggests a relatively round shape in both the humeri and femora for males and females, with an equally similar slight anterior-posterior loading. There does not appear to be a statistically significant pattern relating these activity markers with burial treatments, but results suggest sex-specific use of resources at the site potentially related to subsistence based rituals. Previous archaeofaunal studies at the site are used to contextualize these patterns.

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