Biodistance Analysis of the Moche Sacrificial Victims from Huaca de la Luna plaza 3C: Matrix Method Test of Their Origins
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
The purpose of this study is to test two competing models regarding the origins of Early Intermediate Period (AD 200–750) sacrificial victims from the Huacas de Moche site using the matrix correlation method. The first model posits the sacrificial victims represent local elites who lost competitions in ritual battles with one another, while the other model suggests the victims were nonlocal warriors captured during warfare with nearby polities. We estimate biodistances for sacrificial victims from Huaca de la Luna Plaza 3C (AD 300–550) with eight previously reported samples from the north coast of Peru using both the mean measure of divergence (MMD) and Mahalanobis' distance (d2). Hypothetical matrices are developed based upon the assumptions of each of the two competing models regarding the origins of Moche sacrificial victims. When the MMD matrix is compared to the two hypothetical matrices using a partial-Mantel test (Smouse et al.: Syst Zool 35 (1986) 627–632), the ritual combat model (i.e. local origins) has a low and nonsignificant correlation (r = 0.134, P = 0.163), while the nonlocal origins model is highly correlated and significant (r = 0.688, P = 0.001). Comparisons of the d2 results and the two hypothetical matrices also produced low and nonsignificant correlation for the ritual combat model (r = 0.210, P = 0.212), while producing a higher and statistically significant result with the nonlocal origins model (r = 0.676, P = 0.002). We suggest that the Moche sacrificial victims represent nonlocal warriors captured in territorial combat with nearby competing polities.
sutter, verano, human sacrifice, Peru, biodistance analysis
Richard C. Sutter and John W. Verano (2007).
Biodistance Analysis of the Moche Sacrificial Victims from Huaca de la Luna plaza 3C: Matrix Method Test of Their Origins. American Journal of Physical Anthropology.132 (2), 193-206.