Anatomical Science International

, Volume 87, Issue 4, pp 234–237 | Cite as

A case study of a high-status human skeleton from Pacopampa in Formative Period Peru

  • Tomohito NagaokaEmail author
  • Yuji Seki
  • Wataru Morita
  • Kazuhiro Uzawa
  • Diana Alemán Paredes
  • Daniel Morales Chocano
Case report


The Pacopampa site is located in the northern highlands of Peru and is an archaeological site belonging to the Formative Period (2500–1 BC). The excavation of the Pacopampa site yielded unusual human skeletons from the main platform of a ceremonial center of the site during the 2009 field season. The skeletal remains were associated with a pair of gold earplugs, a pair of gold earrings, and shell objects. This specimen is possibly a female aged 20–39 years. Detailed examination of the neurocranium revealed the presence of artificial cranial deformation with decreased cranial length, increased cranial breadth, and lateral bulging of the parietal bones. The estimated stature of this individual was 162 cm, which is about 15 cm higher than that of contemporary females of Pacopampa and about 20–25 cm higher than that of other Formative Period sites in northern Peru. The peculiarity of this individual, detected not only in the cultural artifacts but also in the physical features, is possible evidence for social stratification in the Formative Period.


Artificial cranial deformation Bioarchaeology Formative Period Human skeleton Peru 



This study was supported by KAKENHI (no. 19251013, 20770197).

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Association of Anatomists 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomohito Nagaoka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yuji Seki
    • 2
  • Wataru Morita
    • 3
  • Kazuhiro Uzawa
    • 4
  • Diana Alemán Paredes
    • 5
  • Daniel Morales Chocano
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of AnatomySt. Marianna University School of MedicineKawasakiJapan
  2. 2.National Museum of EthnologySuitaJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  4. 4.Faculty of Human SciencesUniversity of East AsiaShimonosekiJapan
  5. 5.Universidad Nacional Mayor de San MarcosLimaPeru

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