The Final Days of Paracas in Cerro del Gentil, Chincha Valley, Peru.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0153465
This article describes and analyzes a highly significant archaeological context discovered in a late Paracas (400-200 BCE) sunken patio in the monumental platform mound of Cerro Gentil, located in the Chincha Valley, Peru. This patio area was used for several centuries for ritual activities, including large-scale feasting and other public gatherings. At one point late in this historical sequence people deposited a great deal of objects in what is demonstrably a single historical event. This was quickly followed by a series of minor events stratigraphically immediately above this larger event. This entire ritual process included the consumption of liquids and food, and involved the offering of whole pottery, pottery fragments, botanical remains, bone, lithics, baskets, pyro-engraved gourds, mummies, and other objects. We interpret these events as an "abandonment ceremony" or "termination ritual" during the late Paracas period, one that may have lasted for weeks or even months. The subsequent Topará occupation at the site (ca. 200 BCE- AD 100) involved the architectural enhancement of the mound area, but the pattern of use of the patio itself ended. Such a termination ritual signals a reorganization in the regional political structure of Paracas society.