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Mortuary Practices and Ritual Associations

Shamanic Elements in Prehistoric Funerary Contexts in South America

John E. Staller and Elizabeth J. Currie


This volume has its origins in a symposium on South American Prehistory that took place at the Chicago 64th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in 1999. The 11 papers here reveal a pre-Hispanic world rich in metaphor and symbolism relating human beings to their origins and ancestral past, the wider natural world and their place within it. The shamanic world is one wherein symbols and symbolic behaviour are actively employed in mediating with the ‘Otherworld’ and its visionary inhabitants. The sites visited include Macchu Picchu, the Moche Mountains, and Coastal Ecuador.