The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)

A “trophy” head individual found at the Middle Horizon site of Huaca del Loro in the Las Trancas Valley of Nasca, Peru (A.D. 600-1000)


1Anthropology, Northern Arizona University, 2Anthropology, Texas State University, San Marcos, 3Proyecto Huaca del Loro, Las Trancas, Nasca, Peru

April 17, 2020 15, Platinum Ballroom Add to calendar

Huaca del Loro was the largest site in the entire Nasca drainage of southern Peru during the Middle Horizon (A.D. 600-1000). Recently, modern excavations were undertaken to understand the role Huaca del Loro played in the Nasca-Wari relationship. Wari and Nasca were well known to each other and shared ceramic styles and possibly ideology. The Wari entered the Nasca drainage during the Middle Horizon and built at least three compounds: Pacheco, Pataraya, and Inkawasi. Excavations in the 1950s and earlier suggested that Huaca del Loro could have been a local site of resistance or a Wari imperial outpost. In summer 2019, we uncovered a D-shaped temple, which is one of the first identified in coastal Peru. Material culture associated with the Wari architecture consists of local Loro ceramics, Wari style offerings, and limited amounts of Wari imperial ceramics. In the large habitation area, excavations uncovered quincha (cane) architecture in the local style along with Loro ceramics, suggesting this area was occupied by local people although future excavations are necessary to assess the nature of this sector. In a communal tomb in the elite area of the site, we found a “trophy” head individual buried with at least three other adults. This individual is stylistically aligned with local Nasca people and suggests that even with significant Wari influence at the site, the Nasca were able to continue and control an important cultural behavior.

National Science Foundation Senior Archaeology Award 1758084 to CMK and CC

Slides/Poster (pdf)