San Jose de Moro

In the last twenty years the archaeology of the North Coast of Perú has produced some of the most remarkable and sustained results in the history of Peruvian archaeology. One seldom mentioned aspect is that many of the most productive research programs are long lasting efforts, constituted by multidisciplinary and multinational teams of researchers. By 1991 four such research projects (Sipán, Huaca de la Luna, Huaca El Brujo and San José de Moro) were already exploring different but correlated aspects of the evolution of Moche society. The San José de Moro Archaeological Project (PASJM) has studied the cultural development of the Jequetepeque valley throughout approximately 1000 years, focusing on the nature of ritual practices and their role in power strategies. Although best known for its Late Moche burials of elite females, SJM has produced one of the most detailed occupational sequences and data to support an alternative explanation of the way Moche society rose to become not one but a cluster of the most advanced early states in the new world. This paper summarizes 16 years of research, attempting to make sense of the way data was gathered and hypothesis and interpretations were crafted, all of which have shaped our understanding of the peculiar nature of SJM, of the Jequetepeque Valley, and ultimately, of the evolution of complex societies in the North Coast of Perú.


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