The final days of paracas in Cerro del Gentil, Chincha Valley, Peru

Henry Tantaleán, Charles Stanish, Alexis Rodríguez, Kelita Pérez

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4 Scopus citations


This article describes and analyzes a highly significant archaeological context discovered in a late Paracas (400-200 BCE) sunken patio in the monumental platform mound of Cerro Gentil, located in the Chincha Valley, Peru. This patio area was used for several centuries for ritual activities, including large-scale feasting and other public gatherings. At one point late in this historical sequence people deposited a great deal of objects in what is demonstrably a single historical event. This was quickly followed by a series of minor events strati-graphically immediately above this larger event. This entire ritual process included the consumption of liquids and food, and involved the offering of whole pottery, pottery fragments, botanical remains, bone, lithics, baskets, pyro-engraved gourds, mummies, and other objects. We interpret these events as an “abandonment ceremony” or “termination ritual” during the late Paracas period, one that may have lasted for weeks or even months. The subsequent Topará occupation at the site (ca. 200 BCE- AD 100) involved the architectural enhancement of the mound area, but the pattern of use of the patio itself ended. Such a termination ritual signals a reorganization in the regional political structure of Paracas society.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0153465
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, Cotsen Endowments, Institute for Field Research (IFR), and National Geographic Society National Science Foundation. The authors gratefully acknowledge the private financial support of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Cotsen, Harris Bass, Bruce Hector and Charles Steinmetz. The funders had no role in study design,

Funding Information:
All necessary permits were obtained for the described study, which complied with all relevant regulations. We thank the Peruvian Ministry of Culture for permits and supervision of our work. We especially acknowledge the assistance of Rubén García in his capacity as the representative of the Dirección Desconcentrada of the Ministerio de Cultura in Ica. We acknowledge to Mr. Ben Nigra for co-direct excavations in Huaca Soto along with Lic. Kelita Pérez. We likewise thank Luka Baraka and Ing. Luis García from the company Agroexportadora Vírgen del Rosario who generously supported our research adjacent to their land. Henry Tantaleán thanks especially the Prometeo Project of the Secretaría de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación de la República del Ecuador. Thanks to Jalh Dulanto for satelital image used in Fig 2. We finally acknowledge the work of Paolo Zorogastúa and Mary Ávila for the botanical and zoological analyses.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2016 Tantaleán et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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