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San José de Moro y el Fin de los Mochicas en el Valle de Jequetepeque, Costa Norte del Perú

  • Author(s): Castillo Butters, Luis Jaime
  • Advisor(s): Stanish, Charles
  • et al.

This dissertation presents a new perspective on the Late Moche phenomenon on the basis of the

excavations at San Jose de Moro and other Moche sites in the Northern Jequetepeque Valley,

North Coast of Peru. Since 1991 the San Jose de Moro Archaeological Program has focused on

the Middle Moche, Late Moche and Transitional Period occupations of these sites. This

dissertation reviews data obtained through archaeological surveys conducted in the region,

mapping and excavation programs, stratigraphic excavations of 47 large scale units at San Jose

de Moro, and in the analysis of 500 funerary contexts and a very rich collection of artifacts. The

dissertations focuses on three critical aspects to understand the collapse of the Moche and its

transformation during the Transitional Period: the relative and absolute chronology of the Late

Moche occupation of the Jequetepeque Valley and the North Coast of Peru; the study of Moche


funerary practices as means to define Moche social organizational aspects, identities and social

roles, particularly of powerful women, and the use of ideology in the construction of power

strategies; and, the origins, development and use of a peculiar ceramic style, Late Moche

Fineline, and it relations with other cultural manifestations present in Late Moche contexts.

The most important contribution to the debate is my view of the Moche as a complex political

phenomenon, with regional al local subdivision and different forms of political organizations and

developmental paths expressed in different artistic and material traditions. A revised

chronological scheme, both in terms of a sequence of periods and phases, with reference dates

and a detailed ceramics sequence is presented taking into account all the information that is

available for the Late Moche. All Moche burials excavated in SJM are presented and analyzed to

reiterate their representation of Late Moche society as a complex and hierarchical society, with

social distinctions accounting not only for status and wealth but for ritual roles and ideological

functions. Finally the Late Moche Fineline ceramic style is reviewed in the framework of its

contextual information, both in ritual spaces for ancestral cults as well as in burials of different


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