Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




This study utilizes stable isotope and dental microwear analyses to elucidate diet and subsistence practices of indigenous Muchik peoples interred at two sites in the Lambayeque region of northern Peru: La Capilla Santa María Magdalena De Eten (CSMME) (n=17) and La Capilla Del Niño Serranito (CNS) (n=18). Burials at CNS date to the Early Colonial Period (A.D. 1533-1620), while burials at CSMME date to the Mid- to Late-Colonial Period (A.D. 1625-1760). Dental microwear and stable isotope investigations reveal a highly correlated dietary profile across both sites, which suggests consistent subsistence practices across the Colonial Period, insofar as can be measured using these techniques. However, there is significant differences between CNS and CSMME in dental microwear features indicating the foods consumed by all members at each site—since sex and age are not significantly different between the two sites—is perhaps attributable to the influence of Spanish colonial rule to the degree to which these dental microwear features capture larger patterns in these two populations. Although samples sizes are limited, at CNS, the frequency of fine scratches and small pits increase with age and coarse scratches decrease between childhood and adolescence, indicative of transitions in diet or the use of the teeth during the maturation. Further, statistical inquiry found no significant dental microwear differences between site, age, or sex in the studied populations.