Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Nicola Sharratt

Second Advisor

Dr. Bethany Turner

Third Advisor

Dr. Patrick Ryan Williams

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Cassady Urista


Dietary practice during the transition from Early Intermediate Period (200 BC-AD 600) to the Middle Horizon (AD 600-1000) is crucial to understanding Pre-Hispanic life on the southern coast of Peru. The Cerro Del Oro material was excavated in 1925 by Alfred Kroeber and since been biochemically unstudied for almost ninety years; left dormant at The Field Museum in Chicago. Through bioarchaeological reconstruction of diet and health at the site of Cerro Del Oro from a cemetery sample (N=35) in the Cañete Valley, the effects of demographic and subsistence changes can be examined through a combined analysis of osteological and light isotopic data. Stable carbon (13C/12C, or δ13C) and oxygen (18O/16O, or δ18O) isotopic values from tooth enamel carbonate are utilized to reconstruct diet during early childhood of each individual. Results indicate that the majority of the population were consuming a moderately variable terrestrial protein or C3 diet. This is significant due to the close proximity to marine resources.