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13.4: Activity 3 - Excavation and Interpretation of Sites at Huaca de la Luna, Peru

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    Ilana Johnson, Sacramento City College

    Different types of archaeological evidence inform us about different aspects of a particular culture. Some tell us about their daily lives while others give us insight into their religious and spiritual beliefs. We have to remain aware that these sets of information give us only one piece of the puzzle we are trying to solve. When we put all of the information together, we can begin to understand the culture on a much more complex level and to decipher the political organizations and religious beliefs of past societies.

    In this activity, students will be assigned to one of five groups, and each group will analyze a data set from excavation of one or more related sites from Huaca de la Luna in the Moche Valley of Peru.

    Answer the following questions. Your instructor will guide you through this analysis.

    1. Describe the artifacts in your data set.

    2. What types of activities do the artifacts represent?

    3. What can you say about the people who made or used them (social status, gender, etc.)?

    4. What conclusions can you draw about the Moche culture regarding their:

    Daily life?


    Craft production?

    Social organization?

    Religious beliefs?

    Gender roles/ideologies?

    Other conclusions?

    1. What kinds of information are missing from your data set? Why is it missing? Consequently, what aspects of Moche culture cannot be inferred from your data set? Why not?

    Be prepared to give a short presentation to share your data set and conclusions with the class.

    2. After listening to all of the presentations, how can you use the other data sets to draw additional conclusions regarding the Moche culture in terms of their political organization, spiritual practices and beliefs, economic organization of craft production and labor, and how the city was planned and organized? Indicate the specific data that allowed you to draw those conclusions!