Chapter 6. The Archaeological Study of Ancestor Cult Practices: The Case of Pampa Chica, a Late Initial Period and Early Horizon Site on the Central Coast of Peru



This chapter explores the spatial and material dimensions of ancestor cult practices for one specific archaeological case: the late Initial Period and Early Horizon (ca. 700–200 B.C.) site of Pampa Chica in the Lurin Valley on the central coast of Peru. It combines the analysis of ethnohistoric accounts, used to formulate an ideal-typical image of the spatial and material organization of ancestor worship in the Central Andes, with the analysis of several independent lines of archaeological evidence, in order to explore how the specific archaeological case resembles and/or deviates from the ideal-typical ethnohistoric image. Despite regional and temporal differences, Pampa Chica seems to have been a site designed, built, and used in ways that closely resemble ancestor worship sites described in ethnohistoric documents.