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Andean OntologiesNew Archaeological Perspectives$
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María Cecilia Lozada

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056371

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056371.001.0001

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Moche Corporeal Ontologies

Moche Corporeal Ontologies

Transfiguration, Ancestrality, and Death

5 Moche Corporeal Ontologies
Andean Ontologies

Luis Armando Muro

Luis Jaime Castillo

Elsa Tomasto-Cagigao

, María Cecilia Lozada, Henry Tantaleán
University Press of Florida

The body is an analytical category that has been very little problematized, and even less theorized, in archaeology. This limitation is particularly notorious in Andean archaeology. This chapter resonates with the current discussion of the ontological turn in the discipline and discusses how this paradigm offers new theoretical tools for an alternative understanding of the human body, its boundaries, and the various ways in which it manifests in the natural and social world. By using Viveiros de Castro´s Amerindian Perspectivism, this chapter re-evaluates the archaeological data from the Late Moche (AD 650–850) cemetery of San José de Moro, in northern Peru, and, thus, characterizes a Moche corporeal ontology, under which the body is conceptualized as an ever-changing entity with relational characteristics and transubstantiation properties. This conceptualization echoes the Andean notion of sami or vital essence, which transfigures, transmutes, and exerts significant influences on the social and natural world of Andean people.

Keywords:   Corporeal ontology, Late Moche, Sam Jose de Moro, Amerindian Perspectivism

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