Tyson and Cordy-Collins Present Findings at Forensic Seminar

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On September 26, 2009, Rose Tyson and Alana Cordy-Collins presented their research, "Riding the Waves: Activity Markers on the Bones of an Ancient Peruvian Caballerito," at the San Diego Museum of Man's Rose Tyson 18th Seminar in the Forensic Sciences. 

Photo Information:  Holding a small-scale model of a reed (tule) boat, Tyson (left) and Cordy-Collins (right) are shown with Tori Randall, USD adjunct professor, Anthropology, who organized the seminar and is also curator of Physical Anthropology at the Museum of Man.

Abstract of Research

Rose A. Tyson, M.A., Curator Emerita of Physical Anthropology, San Diego Museum of Man, and Research Associate and retired Adjunct Professor, Anthropology Department, University of San Diego and Alana Cordy-Collins, Ph.D., Professor, Anthropology Department, University of San Diego

"Riding the Waves: Activity Markers on the Bones of an Ancient Peruvian Caballeritero." The new interdisciplinary field of Forensic Iconography is producing a number of intriguing discoveries. Most recently, a male skeleton excavated from a prehistorically-looted tomb at Dos Cabezas, a Moche site (ca. 450 CE) in the Jequetepeque valley of northern Peru, has been examined for evidence of his past occupation. Muscle attachments and other markers on the axial skeleton, upper and lower limb bones, and the hands and feet, present a pattern of several postures involved with ocean fishing from a reed (tule) boat. Moche ceramic art exhibits many examples of individuals riding, paddling, and fishing from these small craft. Ethnographic evidence corroborates the ancient Moche artistic data. North coastal Peruvian fishermen rode their tule boats astride, like small horses, as they paddled out through the surf. While working with their nets, they kneeled on the boat, and to process their catch, they sat cross-legged in the sartorial position. Although both the iconographic and ethnographic evidence of this practice are well established, no skeletal evidence has heretofore been available to reveal how the activity marks a tule boatman's bones.

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