Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Displays of Violence and Power at the Edge of the Empire: Provincial Trophy Heads during Inca Times

  • Francisco Garrido (a1) and Catalina Morales (a1)

Abstract

The Inca expansion to the southern Andes catalyzed important political and symbolic changes in local communities. In addition to economic changes in mining production and the installation of logistical and administrative infrastructure, new forms of ideological violence emerged in the Copiapó Valley, Chile. One new form was the display and discarding of human heads, a burial pattern unprecedented in the region. In this article, we present evidence of perforated heads buried without grave goods next to a local cemetery in a Late Horizon village. We argue that the performative use of modified severed heads from young individuals at the Iglesia Colorada site was part of Inca ritual practices. Their use represented an effort to ideologically rule over newly incorporated subjects by demonstrating power and ensuring their compliance.

La expansión Inca en el sur de los Andes catalizó importantes cambios políticos y simbólicos en las comunidades locales. Además de los cambios económicos en la producción minera y la instalación de infraestructura logística y administrativa, surgieron nuevas formas de violencia ideológica en el valle de Copiapó (Chile). Éstas incluyeron la exhibición y descarte de cabezas humanas cercenadas, siendo un patrón funerario sin precedentes en la región. En este artículo presentamos evidencia de cráneos con perforaciones, los cuales fueron enterrados sin ofrendas mortuorias, en asociación a un cementerio de una aldea local del horizonte Tardío. Argumentamos que la utilización y exhibición de cabezas cercenadas de individuos jóvenes en el sitio Iglesia Colorada, fue parte de prácticas rituales. Éstas representarían un esfuerzo de dominio ideológico sobre poblaciones recientemente incorporadas al imperio, con el fin de demostrar poder y asegurar obediencia.

Copyright

Corresponding author

(francisco.garrido@mnhn.gob.cl, corresponding author)

References

Hide All
Acsadi, Gyorgy, and Nemeskeri, Janos 1970 History of Human Lifespan and Mortality. Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest.
Acuto, Félix 2010 Living under the Imperial Thumb. In Distant Provinces in the Inka Empire, edited by Malpass, Michael and Alconini, Sonia, pp. 108150. University of Iowa Press, Iowa City.
Aguirre, Igor, Hauser, Arturo, and Schwardtfeger, Beate 1999 Estudio hidrogeológico del valle del río Copiapó, segmento Embalse Lautaro–Piedra Colgada, Región de Atacama. Sernageomin, Santiago.
Alvrus, Annalisa 1999 Fracture Patterns among the Nubians of Semna South, Sudanese Nubia. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 9:417429.
Angel, Lawrence 1966 Porotic Hyperostosis, Anemias, Malarias, and Marshes in the Prehistoric Eastern Mediterranean. Science 153:760763.
Arnold, Wolfgang, Naumova, Ella, Koloda, Vladimir, and Gaengler, Peter 2007 Tooth Wear in Two Ancient Populations of the Khazar Kaganat Region in the Ukraine. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 17:5262.
Arriaza, Bernardo 2005 Arseniasis as an Environmental Hypothetical Explanation for the Origin of the Oldest Artificial Mummification Practice in the World. Chungara 37(2):255260.
Aufderheide, Arthur, and Rodríguez, Conrado 2000 The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Paleopathology. Cambridge University Press, New York.
Baraybar, José Pablo 1987 Cabezas trofeo Nasca: nuevas evidencias. Gaceta Arqueológica Andina 15:611.
Berenger, José 1998 La iconografía del poder en Tiwanaku y su rol en la integración de zonas de frontera. Boletín del Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino 7:1937.
Berenger, José 2004 Cinco milenios de arte rupestre en los Andes Atacameños: imágenes para lo humano, imágenes para lo divino. Boletín del Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino 9:75108.
Berenger, José 2009 Chile bajo el imperio de los Inkas. Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, Santiago.
Betanzos, Juan de 2004 [1551] Suma y narración de los incas. Ediciones Polifemo, Madrid.
Bibar, Geronimo 1966 [1558] Crónica y relación copiosa y verdadera de los reinos de Chile. Fondo Histórico y Bibliográfico José Toribio Medina, Instituto Geográfico Militar, Santiago.
Botella, Miguel, Aleman, Inmaculada, and Jiménez, Sylvia 1999 Los huesos humanos, manipulación y alteraciones. Ediciones Bellaterra, Barcelona.
Bray, Tamara L., Minc, Leah D., Ceruti, Maria, Chávez, José, Perea, Ruddy, and Reinhard, Johan 2005 A Compositional Analysis of Pottery Vessels Associated with the Inca Ritual of Capacocha. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 24:82100.
Browne, David M., Silverman, Helaine, and Garcia, Ruben 1993 A Cache of 48 Nasca Trophy Heads from Cerro Carapo, Peru. Latin American Antiquity 4:274294.
Buikstra, Jane, and Ubelaker, Douglas 1994 Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains. Arkansas Archeological Survey Research Series No. 44. Arkansas Archeological Survey, Fayetteville.
Cantarutti, Rebolledo, and Mera, Rodrigo 2004 Estadio fiscal de Ovalle; redescubrimiento de un sitio Diaguita-Inca en el valle de Limarí. Chungara 36(2):833845.
Castillo, Gastón 1998 Los períodos intermedio tardío y tardío: desde la cultura Copiapó al dominio Inca. In Culturas Prehistóricas de Copiapó, edited by Cervellino, Miguel and Hans Niemeyer, Gastón Castillo, pp. 163282. Museo Regional de Atacama, Copiapó.
Cerutti, Maria 2015 Frozen Mummies from Andean Mountaintop Shrines: Bioarchaeology and Ethnohistory of Inca Human Sacrifice. BioMed Research International 2015:112.
Cervellino, Miguel G. 1992 La imagen del sacrificador en el arte rupestre de la región atacameña. Boletín del Museo Regional de Atacama 4:161174.
Chenery, Carolyn, Pashley, Vanessa, Lamb, Angela, Sloane, Hilary, and Evans, Jane 2012 The Oxygen Isotope Relationship between the Phosphate and Structural Carbonate Fractions of Human Bioapatite. Mass Spectrometry 26(3):309319.
Cornejo, Luis 2001 Los Inka y sus aliados Diaguita en el extremo austral del Tawantinsuyu. In Tras la huella del Inka en Chile, edited by de Arte Precolombino, Museo Chileno, pp. 7489. Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, Santiago.
D'Altroy, Terence 2015 The Incas. Wiley Blackwell, Malden, Massachusetts.
Daux, Valérie, Lécuyer, Christophe, Héran, Marie Anne, Amiot, Romain, Simon, Laurent, Fourel, François, Martineau, François, Lynnerup, Niels, Reychler, Hervé, and Escarguel, Gilles 2008 Oxygen Isotope Fractionation between Human Phosphate and Water Revisited. Journal of Human Evolution 55:11381147.
Finucane, Brian 2008 Trophy Heads from Nawinpukio, Perú: Physical and Chemical Analysis of Huarpa-Era Modified Human Remains. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 135:7584.
Forgey, Kathleen, and Williams, Sloan 2003 Cabezas trofeo Nasca: evidencias osteológicas y arqueológicas de la colección Kroeber. Revista andina 36:237262.
Garrido, Francisco 2016 Rethinking Imperial Infrastructure: A Bottom-Up Perspective on the Inca Road. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 43:94109.
Garrido, Francisco, and Li, Tao 2017 A Handheld XRF Study of Late Horizon Metal Artifacts: Implications for Technological Choices and Political Intervention in Copiapó, Northern Chile. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 5:935942.
Garrido, Francisco, and Salazar, Diego 2017 Imperial Expansion and Local Agency: A Case Study of Labor Organization under Inca Rule. American Anthropologist 119:631644.
Gheggi, María Soledad, and Seldes, Verónica 2012 Evidencias bioarqueológicas de conflicto ca. 1000–1432 AD en la Quebrada de Humahuaca y el Valle Calchaquí. Intersecciones en Antropología 13:103115.
Gil, Adolfo, Neme, Gustavo, Ugan, Andrew, and Tykot, Robert H. 2014 Oxygen Isotopes and Human Residential Mobility in Central Western Argentina. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 24:3141.
Goodman, Alan H., and Rose, Jerome C. 1991 Dental Enamel Hypoplasias as Indicators of Nutritional Status. In Advances in Dental Anthropology, edited by Kelley, Mark and Larsen, Spencer, pp. 279293. Wiley-Liss, New York.
Hillson, Simon 2005 Teeth. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Isaza, Juliana 2015 La Antropología Física y el diagnóstico del sexo en el esqueleto a partir del cráneo: métodos actuales y futuras perspectivas. Boletín de Antropología, Universidad de Antioquia 30(50):94126.
Klaus, Haagen, and Toyne, J. Marla 2016 Ritual Violence on the North Coast of Peru: Perspectives and Prospects in the Archaeology of Ancient Sacrifice. In Ritual Violence in the Ancient Andes: Reconstructing Sacrifice on the North Coast of Peru, edited by Klaus, Haagen and Toyne, J. Marla, pp. 124. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Knudson, Kelly 2009 Oxygen Isotope Analysis in a Land of Environmental Extremes: The Complexities of Isotopic Work in the Andes. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 19:171191.
Knudson, Kelly, Williams, Sloan, Osborn, Rebecca, Forgey, Kathleen, and Williams, Patrick 2009 The Geographic Origins of Nasca Trophy Heads Using Strontium, Oxygen, and Carbon Isotope Data. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 28:244257.
Krenzer, Udo 2008 Compendio de métodos antropológico forense. Cafca, Ciudad de Guatemala.
Kumar, Vijay, Agarwal, Swapnil, Bastia, Binay, MG, Shivaramu, and Honnungar, Ravindra 2012 Fusion of Skull Vault Sutures in Relation to Age—A Cross-Sectional Postmortem Study Done in 3rd, 4th & and 5th Decades of Life. Journal of Forensic Research 3(10):46.
Lallo, John, Armelagos, George, and Mensforth, Robert 1977 The Role of Diet, Disease, and Physiology in the Origin of Porotic Hyperostosis. Human Biology 49:471483.
Le Paige, Gustavo 1964 El Precerámico en la cordillera atacameña y los cementerios del Período Agroalfarero de San Pedro de Atacama. Anales de la Universidad del Norte, Antofagasta.
Lessa, Andrea, and de Souza, Sheila Mendonça 2004 Violence in the Atacama Desert during the Tiwanaku Period: Social Tension? International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 14:374388.
Lessa, Andrea, and de Souza, Sheila Mendonça 2006 Broken Noses for the Gods: Ritual Battles in the Atacama Desert during the Tiwanaku Period. Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 101(2):133138.
Llagostera, Agustín 2006 Contextualización e iconografía de las tabletas psicotrópicas Tiwanaku de San Pedro de Atacama. Chungara 38(1):83111.
Longinelli, Antonio 1984 Oxygen Isotopes in Mammal Bone Phosphate: A New Tool for Paleohydrological and Paleoclimatological Research? Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 48(2):385390.
Loth, Susan, and Henneberg, Maciej 1996 Mandibular Ramus Flexure: A New Morphologic Indicator of Sexual Dimorphism in the Human Skeleton. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 99:473485.
Lovejoy, Owen, and Heiple, Kingsbury 1981 The Analysis of Fractures in Skeletal Populations with an Example from the Libben Site, Ottowa County, Ohio. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 55:529541.
Lovell, Nancy 1997 Anaemia in the Ancient Indus Valley. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 7:115123.
Lovell, Nancy 2008 Analysis and Interpretation of Skeletal Trauma. In Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton, edited by Katzenberg, Anne and Saunders, Shelley, pp. 341386. Wiley-Liss, Hoboken, New Jersey.
Luz, Boaz, Kolodny, Yehoshua, and Horowitz, Michal 1984 Fractionation of Oxygen Isotopes between Mammalian Bone Phosphate and Environmental Drinking Water. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 48(8):16891693.
Molnar, Petra 2008 Dental Wear and Oral Pathology: Possible Evidence and Consequences of Habitual Use of Teeth in a Swedish Neolithic Sample. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 136:423431.
Moore, Jerry 1996 Architecture and Power in the Ancient Andes: The Archaeology of Public Buildings. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Muñoz, Ivan 1987 Enterramientos en túmulos en el valle de Azapa: nuevas evidencias para definir la Fase Alto Ramírez en el extremo norte de Chile. Chungara 19:93127.
Neira, Maximo, and Coelho, Vera 1972 Enterramientos de cabezas de la cultura Nasca. Revista do Museu Paulista 20:109142.
Nielsen, Axel 2007 Armas significantes: tramas culturales, guerra y cambio social en el sur andino prehispánico. Boletín del Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino 12(1):941.
Niemeyer, Hans 1986 La ocupación inkaica de la cuenca alta del Río Copiapó. Revista Comechingonia 4:165294.
Niemeyer, Hans 1993 Estrategia del dominio inca en el valle de Copiapó. Proceedings of the XII congreso nacional de Arqueología chilena, pp. 333371. Temuco, Chile.
Niemeyer, Hans 1998 El período medio, Complejo las Ánimas. In Culturas Prehistóricas de Copiapó, edited by Cervellino, Miguel and Niemeyer, Gastón Castillo Hans, pp. 115162. Museo Regional de Atacama, Copiapó.
Niemeyer, Hans, and Cervellino, Miguel 1982 El Torín, un sitio temprano en la Cuenca alta del río Copiapó. Proceedings of the IX congreso nacional de Arqueología chilena, pp. 126158. La Serena, Chile.
Ogburn, Dennis 2007 Human Trophies in the Late Pre-Hispanic Andes. In The Taking and Displaying of Human Body Parts as Trophies by Amerindians, edited by Chacon, Richard and Dye, David, pp. 505522. Springer, New York.
Ortner, Donald, and Turner-Walker, Gordon 2003 The Biology of Skeletal Tissues. In Identification of Pathological Conditions in Human Skeletal Remains, edited by Ortner, Donald, pp. 1135. Academic Press, San Diego.
Pellegrini, Maura, Lee-Thorp, Julia A., and Donahue, Randolph E. 2011 Exploring the Variation of the δ18O and δ18O Relationship in Enamel Increments. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 310:7183.
Pollard, Mark, Pellegrini, Maura, and Lee-Thorp, Julia 2011 Technical Note: Some Observations on the Conversion of Dental Enamelδ18Op Values toδ18Ow to Determine Human Mobility. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 145:499504.
Poma de Ayala, Guamán 1980 [1615] Nueva corónica y buen gobierno. Biblioteca Ayacucho, Caracas.
Pozorski, Thomas, and Pozorski, Sheila 2018 Early Complex Society on the North and Central Peruvian Coast: New Archaeological Discoveries and New Insights. Journal of Archaeological Research 26:353386.
Proulx, Donald 1989 Nasca Trophy Heads: Victims of Warfare or Ritual Sacrifice? In Cultures in Conflict: Current Archaeological Perspectives, edited by Archaeological Association of the University of Calgary, pp. 7385. University of Calgary Archaeological Association, Calgary.
Proulx, Donald 2001 Ritual Uses of Trophy Heads in Ancient Nasca Society. In Ritual Sacrifice in Ancient Peru, edited by Benson, Elizabeth and Cook, Anita, pp. 99136. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Quevedo Kawasaki, Silvia 2000 Patrones de actividad a través de las patologías en población arcaica de Punta Teatinos, norte semiárido Chileno. Chungara 32:79.
Resnick, Donald 1984 On the Etiology and Pathogenesis of Porotic Hyperostosis of the Skull. Investigative Radiology 19(4):313317.
Roberts, Charlotte, and Manchester, Keith 2010 The Archaeology of Disease. History Press, Gloucestershire.
Roldán, Jimena, and Sampietro, María 2011 Los cráneos trofeo Condorhuasi-Alamito (Catamarca, Argentina) dentro del pensamiento religioso andino. Revista Española de Antropologia Americana 41(2):327348.
Rothschild, Bruce 2012 Extirpolation of the Mythology that Porotic Hyperostosis Is Caused by Iron Deficiency Secondary to Dietary Shift to Maize. Advances in Anthropology 2(3):157160.
Sanhueza, Lorena 2001 El aríbalo Inka en Chile central. Revista Werken 2:4769.
Sarmiento de Gamboa, Pedro 1942 [1572] Historia de los Incas. Emece, Buenos Aires.
Seldes, Verónica, and Botta, Florencia Natalia 2014 Violence Indicators in Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina: The Regional Development Period from a Regional Perspective. Anthropological Review 77(1):87109.
Silverman, Helaine, and Proulx, Donald 2002 The Nasca. Blackwell, Malden, Massachusetts.
Šlaus, Mario 2003 Anthropological Analysis of Human Skeletal Remains from the Hallstatt Period “Vinkovci-Nama” Site. Opuscula Archaeologica 27:257267.
Steele, Gentry, and Bramblett, Claude 2012 The Anatomy and Biology of the Human Skeleton. Texas A&M University Press, College Station.
Stehberg, Rubén 1995 Instalaciones incaicas en el norte y centro semiárido de Chile. Centro de estudios Barros Arana, Santiago.
Stuart-Macadam, Patricia 1989 Nutritional Deficiency Diseases: A Survey of Scurvy, Rickets and Iron-Deficiency Anemia. In Reconstruction of Life from the Skeleton, edited by Iscan, Yasar and Kennedy, Kenneth, pp. 201222. Liss, New York.
Szilvássy, Johann 1988 Altersdiagnose am Skelett. In Anthropologie. Handbuch der vergleichenden Biologie des Menschen I, edited by Knussmann, Rainer, pp. 421435. Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart.
Torres, Manuel 1984 Iconografía de las tabletas para inhalar sustancias psicoactivas de la zona de San Pedro de Atacama, norte de Chile. Estudios Atacameños 7:135147.
Torres-Rouff, Christina, and Junqueira, María Antonietta Costa 2006 Interpersonal Violence in Prehistoric San Pedro de Atacama, Chile: Behavioral Implications of Environmental Stress. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 130:6070.
Troncoso, Rosa, Espinoza, María, Pérez, Yasna, Castro, Ricardo, Lorca, María, Vega, Natalia, Feuker, Panja, Arévalo, Carlos, Mercado, Elzanna, Creixell, Christian, Ortiz, Miguel, and Wall, Renate 2012 Evaluación hidrogeológica de la cuenca del río Copiapó con énfasis en la cuantificación, dinámica y calidad química de recursos hídricos superficiales y subterráneos. Sernageomin, Copiapó.
Tung, Tiffiny 2007 Trauma and Violence in the Wari Empire of the Peruvian Andes: Warfare, Raids, and Ritual Fights. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 133:941956.
Tung, Tiffiny, and Knudson, Kelly 2008 Social Identities and Geographical Origins of Wari Trophy Heads from Conchopata, Peru. Current Anthropology 49:915925.
Turner, Bethany, Kamenov, George D., Kingston, John D., and Armelagos, George J. 2009 Insights into Immigration and Social Class at Machu Picchu, Peru Based on Oxygen, Strontium, and Lead Isotopic Analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 36:317332.
Turner, Thomas, Collyer, Michael, and Krabbenhoft, Trevor 2010 A General Hypothesis-Testing Framework for Stable Isotope Ratios in Ecological Studies. Ecology 91(8):22272233.
Ugan, Andrew, Neme, Gustavo, Gil, Adolfo, Coltrain, Joan, Tykot, Robert, and Novellino, Paula 2012 Geographic Variation in Bone Carbonate and Water δ18O Values in Mendoza, Argentina and Their Relationship to Prehistoric Economy and Settlement. Journal of Archaeological Science 39:27522763.
Uribe, Mauricio 2000 La arqueología del Inka en Chile. Revista Chilena de Antropología 15:6397.
Uribe, Mauricio, and Sánchez, Rodrigo 2016 Los Incas en Chile. Aportes de la arqueología chilena a la historia del Tawantinsuyu. In Prehistoria en Chile. Desde sus primeros habitantes hasta los Incas, edited by Falabella, Fernanda, Uribe, Mauricio, Sanhueza, Lorena, Aldunate, Carlos, and Hidalgo, Jorge, pp. 529572. Universitaria, Santiago.
Valdez, Lidio 2009 Conflicto y decapitación humana en Amato (valle de Acari, Peru). Bulletin de l'Institut Français d'Études Andines 38(2):177204.
Verano, John 1995 Where Do They Rest? The Treatment of Human Offerings and Trophies in Ancient Peru. In Tombs for the Living: Andean Mortuary Practices, edited by Dillehay, Tom, pp. 189227. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC.
Verano, John 2003 Mummified Trophy Heads from Peru: Diagnostic Features and Medico Legal Significance. Journal of Forensic Sciences 48(3):525530.
Verano, John 2008 Trophy Head-Taking and Human Sacrifice in Andean South America. In Handbook of South American Archaeology, edited by Silverman, Helaine and Isbell, William, pp. 10471060. Springer, New York.
Verano, John, Uceda, Santiago, Chapdelaine, Claude, Tello, Ricardo, Paredes, Maria Isabel, and Pimentel, Victor 1999 Modified Human Skulls from the Urban Sector of the Pyramids of Moche, Northern Peru. Latin American Antiquity 10:5970.
Walker, Phillip 1997 Wife Beating, Boxing, and Broken Noses: Skeletal Evidence for the Cultural Patterning of Violence. In Troubled Times: Violence and Warfare in the Past, edited by Martin, Debra and Frayer, David, pp. 145180. Gordon and Breach, Amsterdam.
Wedel, Vicky, and Galloway, Alison 2014 Broken Bones: Anthropological Analysis of Blunt Force Trauma. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois.
Williams, Sloan, Forgey, Kathleen, and Klarich, Elizabeth 2001 An Osteological Study of Nasca Trophy Heads Collected by A. L. Kroeber during the Marshall Field Expeditions to Peru. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago.
Wilson, Andrew, Taylor, Timothy, Ceruti, Maria, Chavez, Jose, Reinhard, Johan, Grimes, Vaughan, Meier-Augenstein, Wolfram, Cartmell, Larry, Stern, Ben, Richards, Michael P., Worobey, Michael, Barnes, Ian, and Gilbert, M. Thomas P. 2007 Stable Isotope and DNA Evidence for Ritual Sequences in Inca Child Sacrifice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104:1645616461.

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed