Food for the Dead, Cuisine of the Living: Mortuary Food Offerings from Pacatnamú and Farfán, Jequetepeque Valley, Perú

Robyn E. Cutright

MA Thesis 2005

This study examines food offerings in Moche (AD 200-750_ and Lambayeque (circa AD 1000) burials at Farfán and Pacatnamú, two large sites in the Jequetepeque Valley on the north coast of Perú. While food offerings have previously been noted as part of north coast burial traditions, I view them here in terms of their relation not only to mortuary customs and funerary rites but also to the culinary traditions within which they were produced. Well-preserved botanical and faunal remains included as mortuary offerings in these burials provide an archaeologically visible snapshot of cuisine, revealing culturally informed choices of ingredients, preparations, and culinary equipment.

Analysis identifies commonly occurring combinations, associations between food remains and vessel forms, and patterning of food remains along lines of class, age, and sex. Comparison to contemporaneous domestic faunal, botanical, and ceramic assemblages suggest that the foods and preparation methods evident in these burials represent a restricted subset of daily cuisine, perhaps considered particularly symbolically or ritually appropriate for inclusion as funerary offerings.