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Moche Spectacles of Death: Performance, Corporality, and Political Power in the Jequetepeque Valley, Peru

Luis Muro, Stanford University, Junior Fellow 2017–2018

My research is based on the archaeological excavations I conducted at Huaca La Capilla, a pyramidal mound in the Moche cemetery of San José de Moro. While my initial goal was to trace the activities carried out at Huaca La Capilla, my dissertation now includes perspectives on deathscape, processions, and nocturnal rituals. I found surprising parallels between the ritual architecture represented in the art and the real-world architecture in Huaca La Capilla. I completed four chapters of my dissertation, including a spatial and architectural analysis of the buildings of Huaca La Capilla and a detailed study of mural painting and graffiti. In addition, I submitted two grant proposals, wrote a conference paper and an article for a Peruvian art catalogue, and began working on my second coedited volume on Peruvian heritage discourses. I also worked with the Donnan and McClelland Moche Archive, leading to a detailed analysis of narrative scenes associated with the “Burial Theme” and sculptural representations associated with the manipulation of corpses.