Reconstructing Ancient Andean Burial Contexts from Ancón, Peru: An Archaeological and Archival Approach


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships


Behavioral Sciences


This project builds upon successful efforts to reconstruct burial assemblages from the archaeological site of Ancón, Peru—one of the largest pre-Columbian cemeteries in the Andes. The current research focuses on the Ancón collection currently held at the Field Museum in Chicago. This collection includes nearly 200 mummies from the Middle Horizon and Late Intermediate Period, from 600 CE to 1438 CE, and more than 1,000 artifacts. Excavated in 1891 and exported to the United States soon after, the Field Museum’s Ancón mummies have become disassociated from their grave goods and their broader socio-cultural contexts—an unfortunate and all-too-common byproduct of archaeological research carried out in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Through a combination of archaeological and archival research, this project completes the restoration of the Field Museum’s Ancón funerary assemblages, reestablishing critical aspects of identity to deceased individuals and improving the research potential of the Ancón collection for future scholars.