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Anales de antropología

On-line version ISSN 2448-6221Print version ISSN 0185-1225


HEPP, Guy David; AGUILAR, José  and  SANDBERG, Paul A.. Mortuary Contexts in La Consentida, Oaxaca, during the Early Formative. An. antropol. [online]. 2020, vol.54, n.1, pp.57-69.  Epub Jan 15, 2021. ISSN 2448-6221.

In this paper, we consider bioarchaeological and mortuary evidence for the origins of formal cemeteries and changes in skeletal health during the Early Formative period (2000-1000 BC) in coastal Oaxaca. Excavations at the village site of La Consentida (1950-1525 cal BC) have recovered 14, or possibly 15, individuals in 12 burials. The dating of these burials is based on a radiocarbon sample from a femur processed with XAD purification, the association of that dated burial with burials and features surrounding it, and additional radiocarbon dates. Offerings recovered with these burials, which are among the earliest known in Oaxaca, along with patterns of mortuary treatment, suggest a community with distinct social roles but without formalized hereditary hierarchy. Stable isotope values, microbotanical evidence, and faunal remains suggest a mixed diet incorporating maize and wild resources. An increase over time in dental attrition, along with changes in ground stone and ceramic artifact use, appear to contradict stable isotopic evidence of relative stability in maize consumption. We interpret these findings as indicative of a culinary change from the consumption of maize in liquid form to that of flour processed with grinding stones. On the basis of consistencies in body positioning and orientation, along with patterns in burial offerings, we suggest that La Consentida’s burials indicate the establishment of the first formalized funerary contexts in coastal Oaxaca.

Keywords : Mesoamerica; paleodiet; cemeteries; maize consumption; Archaic-Formative transition.

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