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From bodies to bones: death and mobility in the Lake Titicaca basin, Bolivia

  • Scott C. Smith (a1) and Maribel Pérez Arias (a2)
Abstract

Disposal of the dead in early societies frequently involved multiple stages of ritual and processing. At Khonkho Wankane in the Andes quicklime was used to reduce corpses to bones in a special circular structure at the centre of the site. The quicklime was obtained from solid white blocks of calcium oxide and was then mixed with water and applied to disarticulated body parts. A few plaster-covered bones were recovered from the structure but most had been removed from the site, possibly by itinerant llama caravans. Thus, Khonkho Wankane was a ritual centre to which the dead were brought for processing and then removed for final burial elsewhere.

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References
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