Dental relatedness corresponding to mortuary patterning at Huaca Loro, Peru

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Abstract

Within and between tombs at the 1,000-year-old site of Huaca Loro on north coastal Peru, interment characteristics vary to an intriguing degree. Following and elaborating upon prior intracemetery studies, biological relatedness among associated burial groupings was assessed using 23 dental characters (assuming familial allele segregation) for 29 individuals. Biological patterning was based on multivariate distance between individuals using all traits, rather than the previously widespread reliance upon univariate comparison of each trait separately within samples. This multivariate approach did seem more informative. Statistically significant variation of biological similarities and dissimilarities corresponded to spatial groupings and also to various specific archaeological indications of the cohesiveness, or lack thereof, of interment pattern. The partition of biological distances among tombs at Huaca Loro supports the archaeological evidence that the tombs represent a planned elite cemetery. Am J Phys Anthropol 117:113–121, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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