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Bioarchaeology and Identity in the Americas$

Kelly J. Knudson and Christopher M. Stojanowski

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813036786

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813036786.001.0001

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The Complex Relationship between Tiwanaku Mortuary Identity and Geographic Origin in the South Central Andes

The Complex Relationship between Tiwanaku Mortuary Identity and Geographic Origin in the South Central Andes

Chapter:
(p.194) 9 The Complex Relationship between Tiwanaku Mortuary Identity and Geographic Origin in the South Central Andes
Source:
Bioarchaeology and Identity in the Americas
Author(s):

KELLY J. KNUDSON

CHRISTOPHER M. STOJANOWSKI

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813036786.003.0009

Abstract and Keywords

Political integration and expansion in archaeological states and empires uniquely affected incorporated peoples, who often created and manipulated social, political, and religious identities in response to interactions with larger and more powerful polities. Between AD 500 and 1000, the Tiwanaku polity exerted influence throughout the South Central Andes. This chapter utilizes multiple lines of evidence, including isotope and biodistance analyses, cranial modification, mortuary artifacts, and burial treatments to examine the relationships between the hinterland sites of Chen Chen and San Pedro de Atacama and Tiwanaku. While individuals buried at Chen Chen included immigrants from the Tiwanaku heartland, in San Pedro de Atacama local inhabitants consciously manipulated their social identities as they articulated with the distant Tiwanaku polity. This unique example of identity formation and manipulation in the archaeological record demonstrates the potential of multiple lines of bioarchaeological evidence to elucidate the complex relationships between material culture, geographic origin, and identity.

Keywords:   Tiwanaku, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Chen Chen, San Pedro, migration, isotope analysis

When faced with the political integration and expansion of states and empires, incorporated peoples often create and manipulate political, social, and religious identities in their interactions with larger and more powerful polities. In the Andes, as in other regions, states and empires like the Tiwanaku (ca. AD 500–1100) and the Inka (AD 1400–1532) integrated large geographical areas through political, social, and economic strategies, such as colonization, forced migration and resettlement, ideological manipulation, trade, and taxation (e.g., Bauer 1996, 2004; Bauer and Stanish 2001; D'Altroy 1992, 2002; D'Altroy and Schreiber 2004; Kolata 1993, 1996, 2003; Stanish 2003). In this chapter we present a bioarchaeological approach to the study of identity creation and manipulation to elucidate the complex roles of both heartland and hinterland populations in the process of Tiwanaku political integration and expansion.

More specifically, we utilize multiple lines of bioarchaeological and archaeological evidence to examine the nature of Tiwanaku influence and changes in Tiwanaku mortuary identities between AD 500 and 1100. During this period, called the Middle Horizon, the Tiwanaku polity exerted influence far beyond its heartland in the Lake Titicaca Basin to affect Tiwanaku-affiliated sites in the coastal Moquegua Valley of southern Peru (like Chen Chen) and in northern Chile at the San Pedro de Atacama oasis, among others. Using multiple lines of evidence, including isotopic signatures, biodistance analysis, cranial modification styles, mortuary artifacts, and burial treatments, we argue that at least some individuals buried at Chen Chen were in fact immigrants from the Tiwanaku heartland and that the Moquegua settlements articulated with the Tiwanaku polity as a colony or diaspora. Hence there is a clear correlation between Tiwanaku mortuary traditions and biological affiliation with the Tiwanaku heartland for the individuals buried in the cemetery of Chen Chen. In contrast, in the northern (p.195) Chilean oasis of San Pedro de Atacama, the Tiwanaku mortuary artifacts were buried with a local population, not immigrants from the Lake Titicaca Basin. In San Pedro de Atacama, local inhabitants manipulated their ethnic, social, political, and/or religious identities as they articulated with the distant Tiwanaku polity. Through this example of identity formation and manipulation in the archaeological record, we demonstrate the potential of multiple lines of bioarchaeological evidence to elucidate the complex relationships of material culture, geographic origin, and identity.

Identity Manipulation and Bioarchaeology

For over 50 years scholars have conceived of identity, including ethnic identity, as situational, flexible, and dynamic (e.g., Barth 1969; Díaz-Andreu et al. 2005; Hutchinson and Smith 1996; Jones 1997; Romanucci-Ross and De Vos 1995). Given the time-depth of the archaeological record, however, much archaeological research has focused on investigating long-standing identities through consumption patterns and material culture (e.g., Aldenderfer 1993; McGuire 1982; Pyszczyk 1989; Rattray 1990; Reycraft 2005; Smith 2003). When ethnographic and historical evidence is taken into account, a more dynamic picture, with more evidence of the manipulation and mediation of different identities, emerges (e.g., Bentley 1987; Bowser 2000; Epperson 1999; Gosden 2004; Larick 1991; Lightfoot 1995; Rothschild 2006; Stahl 1991).

Likewise, bioarchaeology can contribute much to our understanding of identity manipulation in the archaeological record by combining different lines of evidence on the relationships among mortuary patterns, genetic affiliation, ethnicity, gender, and other social and religious factors and identities. For example, the genetic affiliation of an individual is static and cannot be manipulated. Material culture used by an individual during her or his life can be changed regularly, however, and can passively or actively communicate information through style and other attributes (e.g., Bourdieu 1990; Conkey and Hastorf 1990; Dietler and Herbich 1998; Hegmon 1998; Sackett 1977; Wells 1998; Wiessner 1983). In contrast, cranial modification styles reflect family or community decisions, and likely group identity, since an individual's cranium must be modified over the first few years of life and cannot be changed or manipulated later in life (e.g., Blom 2005b; Torres-Rouff 2002, this volume). Similarly, while mortuary practices may reflect the individual as she or he was in life, the mortuary activities themselves reflect the actions of the community and/or family who buried that individual (p.196) (e.g., Arnold and Wicker 2001; Brown 1971; Carr 1995; Chesson 2001; Dillehay 1995; Gillespie 2001; Rakita et al. 2005; Saxe 1970; Silverman and Small 2002).

By using various lines of bioarchaeological evidence to elucidate different identities, we can address key questions in the South Central Andes. For example, how did individuals living in dispersed settlements throughout the Tiwanaku realm differentially manipulate their identities when articulating with a more powerful foreign polity? How did individuals passively or actively use material culture to define themselves in relation to other individuals and to define themselves in relation to other social groups? How do individuals use material culture to manipulate and communicate meanings and information and advertise their identities?

Tiwanaku Mortuary Identity and Geographic Origin at Chen Chen, Peru

Tiwanaku Presence in the Moquegua Valley of Southern Peru

The heartland of the Tiwanaku polity, including the capital of Tiwanaku, is located in the southeastern Lake Titicaca Basin of Bolivia. From the large urban center of Tiwanaku, the Tiwanaku polity likely exerted political, economic, and religious control over much of the Lake Titicaca Basin during the Middle Horizon period (ca. AD 500–1100). However, Tiwanaku-style material culture, and presumably Tiwanaku influence, is spread throughout the South Central Andes. In southern Peru, the Moquegua Valley is home to the three large Tiwanaku-affiliated site complexes of Chen Chen, Omo, and Río Muerto and at least 30 smaller Tiwanaku-affiliated sites (figures 9.1, 9.2) (Goldstein 2005). Based on residential and ritual architecture and artifact assemblages, with ceramics indistinguishable from altiplano counterparts, numerous scholars have argued that the Moquegua Valley was home to Tiwanaku colonies or diaspora communities that provided the Tiwanaku heartland with ritually important low-altitude crops such as maize (Goldstein 1993, 2005; Kolata 1993; Mujica et al. 1983; Owen 2005).

Multiple Lines of Evidence for Identity at Chen Chen

The cemetery at Chen Chen, which is the largest Tiwanaku-affiliated mortuary complex in the South Central Andes, provides a unique opportunity to investigate Tiwanaku identities and the relationship between the Tiwanaku heartland and the Moquegua Valley. Here we investigate biological affiliation (p.197)

The Complex Relationship between Tiwanaku Mortuary Identity and Geographic Origin in the South Central Andes

Above: Figure 9.1. The Tiwanaku-affiliated site complex of Chen Chen (photo by Deborah E. Blom).

The Complex Relationship between Tiwanaku Mortuary Identity and Geographic Origin in the South Central Andes

Left: Figure 9.2. Geologic sketch map of the South Central Andes, showing the sites discussed in the text. Strontium isotope ratios measured in exposed bedrock, groundwater, and modern and archaeological small mammals in the region are also displayed (Grove et al. 2003; Hawkesworth et al. 1982; James 1982; Knudson and Price 2007; Knudson et al. 2004; Knudson et al. 2005; Rogers and Hawkesworth 1989).

(p.198) through genetic analyses and geographic origins through strontium isotope analysis. We then compare those data to cranial modification data, which have been linked to group identity in Tiwanaku society (Blom 2005a, 2005b; Blom and Janusek 2004; Hoshower et al. 1995), and mortuary patterns, such as tomb type, burial orientation, and mortuary artifacts, to examine the relationship between mortuary and other cultural traditions and biological origin.

The genetic affiliation of individuals buried at Chen Chen was first investigated through biodistance analysis of cranial nonmetric traits (Blom 2005a; Blom et al. 1998) and then by using mitochondrial DNA (Lewis et al. 2007; Lewis and Stone 2005). These data indicate that the mortuary populations at Chen Chen and Tiwanaku are genetically closely related. Since the genetic similarity may result from individuals moving from Chen Chen to Tiwanaku or vice versa, however, we then used strontium isotope analysis of archaeological human enamel and bone samples from Chen Chen to investigate geographic origins (Knudson and Price 2007; Knudson et al. 2004). Briefly, strontium isotope ratios vary according to bedrock geology and can be used to differentiate individuals who spent the years of enamel and/or bone formation in the southeastern Lake Titicaca Basin or the Moquegua Valley (figure 9.2) (Bentley 2006; Price et al. 1994). Based on enamel strontium isotope ratios, at least 2 females out of the 25 individuals sampled from Chen Chen likely lived in the southeastern Lake Titicaca Basin during the first three years of their lives yet migrated to and were buried at Chen Chen sometime during adulthood (figure 9.3) (Knudson and Price 2007; Knudson et al. 2004). The relatively small number of documented first-generation migrants from the southeastern Lake Titicaca Basin, however, may imply that the Tiwanaku-affiliated sites in the Moquegua Valley were not populated by large numbers of first-generation migrants and that the community was a long-lived and self-sufficient colony with biological ties to the Tiwanaku heartland. In conclusion, multiple lines of evidence demonstrate that the biological identity of the individuals buried at Chen Chen was in fact derived from the Tiwanaku heartland.

First-generation altiplano immigrants at Chen Chen, however, cannot be distinguished based on cranial modification style, mortuary artifacts, tomb architecture, or tomb placement. All burials analyzed from the cemetery of Chen Chen are associated with Chen Chen-style ceramics, which are visually indistinguishable from altiplano Tiwanaku ceramics (Goldstein 2005), so artifacts do not distinguish the nonlocals from the locals buried at Chen Chen. In addition, the individuals buried at Chen Chen who have (p.199)

The Complex Relationship between Tiwanaku Mortuary Identity and Geographic Origin in the South Central Andes

Figure 9.3. Strontium isotope ratios from archaeological human tooth enamel from individuals buried at the sites of Chen Chen, Coyo Oriental, Coyo-3, and Solcor-3. The following local ranges for each study region were determined by taking the mean strontium isotope ratios from archaeological and modern small mammal bones plus and minus two standard deviations: 87Sr/86Sr = 0.7087–0.7105 for the southeastern Lake Titicaca Basin, 87Sr/86Sr = 0.7074–0.7079 for the San Pedro de Atacama region, 87Sr/86Sr = 0.7059–0.7066 for the Moquegua Valley, and 87Sr/86Sr = 0.7058–0.7082 for the Ilo Valley.

(p.200)
The Complex Relationship between Tiwanaku Mortuary Identity and Geographic Origin in the South Central Andes

Figure 9.4. Fronto-occipital cranial shape modification in specimen number M1–0169 compared with the unmodified crania of specimen number M1–2068 (photo by Deborah E. Blom).

southern Lake Titicaca Basin signatures in their tooth enamel or bone (M1–3840, 87Sr/86Sr = 0.708843; M1-S/NB092, 87Sr/86Sr = 0.709995; and M1–1600, 87Sr/86Sr = 0.708850) all exhibit fronto-occipital cranial modification (figure 9.4). But this type of cranial modification does not distinguish these individuals from other local individuals buried at Chen Chen either. Of 287 crania at Chen Chen, 200 exhibited fronto-occipital modification (Blom 1999). Subtle differences in cranial modification did not vary with tomb type or tomb location at Chen Chen (Blom 1999) and cannot be used to identify immigrants from the Lake Titicaca Basin identified through strontium isotope analysis.

Therefore, our data show that at Chen Chen identification with the Tiwanaku polity was not confined to individuals born in the Lake Titicaca Basin and did not distinguish between different individuals or different groups buried at Chen Chen. In this case, the material culture, cranial modification data, and strontium isotope data all point to a community-wide Tiwanaku social and political identity and perhaps ethnic identity.

(p.201) Identity Manipulation and Tiwanaku Mortuary Artifacts in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Tiwanaku Influence in San Pedro de Atacama

The San Pedro de Atacama region of northern Chile is a large oasis in the Atacama Desert (figure 9.2). Because of excellent preservation and extensive cemetery excavations in the oasis, researchers have elucidated a long cultural sequence, including the presence of Tiwanaku-style artifacts during the Middle Horizon period (ca. AD 500–1100). In the San Pedro de Atacama oasis, the mortuary artifacts are characterized by the presence of Tiwanaku-style textiles and wooden snuff tablets, tubes, and spatulas used for the inhalation of hallucinogenic snuffs, with fewer quantities of Tiwanaku-style pyroengraved bone tubes and vessels, ceramics, and gold keros, which are vessels presumably for the consumption of maize beer (Bravo and Llagostera 1986; Costa-Junqueira and Llagostera 1994; LePaige 1961; Llagostera et al. 1988; Oakland Rodman 1992; Stovel 2001; Torres 1985, 1987; Torres et al. 1991). Based on the presence of Tiwanaku-style mortuary artifacts as well as biodistance analysis of cranial nonmetric traits and cranial modification studies, a number of scholars have argued that a population of immigrants from the Tiwanaku heartland in the Lake Titicaca Basin lived in San Pedro de Atacama (Kolata 1993; Oakland Rodman 1992; Varela and Cocilovo 2000).

Material Culture and Geographic Origins in San Pedro de Atacama

Strontium isotope analysis of 53 individuals buried with Tiwanaku-style and/or local-style mortuary artifacts in the San Pedro de Atacama cemeteries of Coyo Oriental, Coyo-3, and Solcor-3 has not identified any individuals whose enamel strontium isotope signatures are from the southeastern Lake Titicaca Basin (figure 9.3) (Knudson 2004; Knudson and Price 2007). Therefore, no immigrants from the Tiwanaku heartland have been identified in Middle Horizon San Pedro de Atacama cemeteries. Other lines of evidence, notably cranial modification studies and biodistance analysis of cranial nonmetric traits at Solcor-3, also support the hypothesis that local inhabitants of San Pedro de Atacama adopted Tiwanaku-style mortuary artifacts without biological ties to the Tiwanaku heartland (Llagostera et al. 1988; Torres-Rouff 2002). In addition, the Tiwanaku-style mortuary artifacts in San Pedro de Atacama coexist with artifacts such as ceramics, (p.202) baskets, and textiles in the local styles. This is significantly different from the Moquegua settlements, where local styles are absent (Goldstein 2005).

The Role of Tiwanaku-Style Mortuary Artifacts in San Pedro de Atacama

If the San Pedro de Atacama oasis was not populated by first-generation migrants from the Tiwanaku heartland, how can we explain the presence of Tiwanaku mortuary artifacts in San Pedro de Atacama? Numerous scholars have explored the economic influence between the Tiwanaku polity and the inhabitants of San Pedro de Atacama (e.g., Kolata 1993; Torres and Conklin 1995). San Pedro de Atacama was likely an important oasis on caravan routes and may also have been a source for salt, copper, lapis lazuli, and turquoise (Stanish 2003; Torres and Conklin 1995).

The trade of Tiwanaku-style artifacts for food, water, salt, and raw materials from the oasis, however, does not adequately explain the preponderance of Tiwanaku-style ritual goods like snuffing paraphernalia in San Pedro de Atacama cemeteries (Torres and Conklin 1995). Did inhabitants of the San Pedro de Atacama oasis adopt Tiwanaku religious identity during the Middle Horizon? The presence of Tiwanaku-style snuff tablets in cemeteries where some individuals were buried with snuff tablets carved in local styles may be the result of some individuals adopting and advertising Tiwanaku belief systems. Local San Pedro de Atacama inhabitants may have gained power or prestige through their use of Tiwanaku-style snuffing paraphernalia instead of snuff tablets and tubes in local styles; for example, Agustín Llagostera (1996) argues that local elites gained power in San Pedro de Atacama through their association with nonlocal artifacts (see also Helms 1993). Individuals buried with Tiwanaku-style mortuary artifacts are in fact associated with high-status goods like metal artifacts and greater numbers of artifacts (e.g., Bravo and Llagostera 1986; Costa-Junqueira and Llagostera 1994; Llagostera et al. 1988; Oakland Rodman 1992). While status differences do exist in the San Pedro de Atacama cemeteries, the high percentages of individuals identified as “high-status” imply that the inclusion of Tiwanaku-style artifacts was not limited to a few, elite individuals.

In addition, while Tiwanaku-style iconography exists on some snuff tablets, ritual acts such as the act of snuffing itself presumably did not change depending on the style of the snuffing paraphernalia. Therefore, while Tiwanaku-style ritual objects were important mortuary artifacts in San Pedro de Atacama, it does not appear that the adoption of Tiwanaku-style snuffing paraphernalia was accompanied by a dramatic change in ritual activity in the oasis. In fact, this type of drug paraphernalia is rare in Moquegua, (p.203) where abundant evidence of Tiwanaku ritual behavior is present (Goldstein 2005).

While specific types of Tiwanaku-style mortuary artifacts were incorporated into San Pedro de Atacama cemeteries, the inhabitants of San Pedro de Atacama do not appear to have adopted Tiwanaku identity as expressed in ritual or mortuary contexts. As previously discussed, Tiwanaku mortuary traditions in the Moquegua Valley site of Chen Chen are very different from those in the San Pedro de Atacama oasis. While some individuals are buried with Tiwanaku-style mortuary artifacts, burial treatment, tomb type, and burial orientation are all characteristic of local Atacameño practices and mortuary identity (e.g., Costa-Junqueira and Llagostera 1994; Llagostera et al. 1988; Torres and Conklin 1995).

Identity Manipulation in San Pedro de Atacama

Alternatively, scholars such as Amy Oakland Rodman (1992: 316) argued that “the oasis was home to a foreign altiplano population who maintained for centuries an ethnic identity visible in a distinct textile style.” Oakland Rodman made an excellent point that clothing and textile style are more indicative of ethnic identity than other types of artifacts. Given this, it is clear that some individuals buried in the cemetery of Coyo Oriental were actively displaying Tiwanaku affiliation in their mortuary practices, and Oakland Rodman argued that these individuals derived from the altiplano. Knudson's research, however, indicates that the situation was more complex. Surprisingly, none of the individuals included in both Oakland Rodman's textile analysis and strontium isotope studies were migrants from the altiplano (figure 9.3). In light of this, a closer examination of grave inclusions reveals other discrepancies at odds with the migration hypothesis. The individuals buried in Tiwanaku-style textiles such as tunics and headdresses were not necessarily the individuals buried with other Tiwanaku-style artifacts, and some individuals buried with Tiwanaku-style snuff tablets were not buried with Tiwanaku-style textiles, like individual CO-4093 from Coyo Oriental (Oakland Rodman 1992; Torres 1987).

When compared with sites where ethnic enclaves have been identified, the archaeological evidence from San Pedro de Atacama cemeteries shows key differences. For example, distinct enclaves of individuals whose ethnic identity was different from that of their neighbors can be found at sites such as Teotihuacan in central Mexico (Price et al. 2000; Rattray 1990; White, Spence, et al. 2004; White, Storey, et al. 2004) and Hacinebi in Turkey (Stein 1999, 2002). In these ethnic enclaves, mortuary patterns are consistent with (p.204) geographic origins, residential architecture, and domestic artifact styles. In the San Pedro de Atacama oasis, however, ethnic identity as recognized through textile styles is not consistent with mortuary traditions, cranial modification styles, genetic relationships, or geographic origins. Since the Tiwanaku presence in the San Pedro de Atacama oasis does not appear to be associated with coercion (Costa-Junqueira et al. 1998; Neves et al. 1999; Neves and Costa 1998) or population movement (Knudson and Price 2007), the oasis inhabitants must have actively pursued the manipulation of Tiwanaku ethnic identity.

Discussion and Conclusion

We have argued that bioarchaeology can address a number of important questions regarding identity formation and manipulation. How did individuals living in various settlements throughout the Tiwanaku realm differentially manipulate their identities when articulating with a more powerful foreign polity? How did individuals passively or actively use material culture to define themselves in relation to other individuals and to define themselves in relation to other social groups? How do individuals use material culture to manipulate and communicate meanings and information and advertise their identities?

At Chen Chen in southern Peru, homogeneity in material culture, mortuary patterns, and cranial modification styles coexists with heterogeneity in enamel strontium isotope signatures. This implies that first-generation migrants from the altiplano were not identified by themselves or by others in their community as distinct based on mortuary artifacts, tomb type, or cranial modification. Individuals living at Chen Chen appear to have retained or reinvented an identity with their homeland over multiple generations. In the San Pedro de Atacama oasis, however, heterogeneity in mortuary artifacts and the inclusion of Tiwanaku-style artifacts in some tombs at the cemeteries of Coyo Oriental, Coyo-3, and Solcor-3 is in contrast to the homogeneity in enamel strontium isotope ratios and geographic origins. In these cemeteries, some individuals utilized mortuary artifacts to advertise Tiwanaku affiliation. It is possible that the manipulation of identity in the oasis resulted from political, economic, and religious interactions with the Tiwanaku polity. But the presence of ritual objects and mortuary textiles in Tiwanaku styles does not point to a purely political or economic relationship between the two regions. This is an example of individuals manipulating their mortuary identity, and possibly ethnic identity, as they articulated (p.205) with but were not dominated by (e.g., Rothschild 2006) the larger and more powerful Tiwanaku polity to the northeast.

In conclusion, we have used a number of different lines of bioarchaeological and archaeological evidence to investigate identities in the Middle Horizon South Central Andes. Individuals in the Moquegua Valley and in the San Pedro de Atacama oasis utilized and manipulated Tiwanaku identity in a variety of ways, depending on their economic, political, and/or religious relationship with the Tiwanaku polity. Through contextualized bioarchaeological analyses of identity at the level of the individual, we have elucidated the complexity of relationships in the South Central Andes during the expansion of the Tiwanaku polity.

Acknowledgments

Our work over the years would not have been possible without the generous financial support of the National Science Foundation (BCS-0202329 and SBR-9708001), the Wenner-Gren Foundation (grant number 5863), the Latin American Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the Geological Society of America. In addition, archaeological human remains from Tiwanaku were excavated under the auspices of the Proyecto Wila Jawira, which was supported by multiple grants awarded to Alan L. Kolata (National Science Foundation BNS-8607541, BNS-8805490, DEB-9212641; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration GC-95–174; National Endowment for the Humanities RO-21806–88, RO-21368–86). The following individuals and institutions generously provided contextual information, laboratory and museum access, and/or logistical support: James H. Burton, Centro de Investigaciones Arqueológicas de Arequipa, José Cocilovo, María Antonietta Costa-Junqueira, Nicole Couture, Paul D. Fullagar, Agustín Llagostera, Museo Contisuyo, Amy Oakland Rodman, T. Douglas Price, Proyecto Arqueológico Pumapunku-Akapana, Paula Tomczak, Christina Torres-Rouff, Hugo Varela, and Bertha Vargas. Finally, we began to examine the issues discussed in this chapter when we were invited to participate in a symposium entitled “Tensions, Theory, and Directions in Bioarchaeology,” organized by Kenneth C. Nystrom at the 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Anthropology Association, where we presented “The Bioarchaeology of Identity: Case Studies from the South Central Andes.” We thank the members of that symposium and its organizer for stimulating our examination of bioarchaeology and identity.

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