Jean-François Millaire
Department of Anthropology

The University of Western Ontario
Burial at Huaca Santa Clara, Peru



Virú Polity Project

I am currently directing a research project that investigates the nature of early state formation and early urbanization along the north coast of Peru, which will focus on the polity that ruled over the Virú Valley during the Early Intermediate period (c. 200 BC-AD 800). This project partly stems from recent debates on north coast cultural history, which calls for a careful re-examination of the nature of the “Gallinazo” and “Virú” archaeological cultures —a theme that was the focus on a round table I organized in Peru in 2004 (Millaire and Morlion eds. 2009). While our work will focus mainly on the core of this polity —an ensemble of adobe platform mounds locally known as the Gallinazo Group— and involve large scale excavations in deep stratified contexts, investigations will also be conducted in other parts of the valley. The team will include Peruvian and foreign researchers, as well as graduate and undergraduate students.



Andean Isotope Sampling Program

Since July 2007, I am involved in a program of isotopic (water and soil) sampling in Peru in collaboration with Christine White, Fred Longstaffe, and graduate students. This program aims at creating a baseline for current and future research on ancient mobility patterns in the Andean region using data from archaeological contexts.

Click here to access the program page



Agreement with the Museo Larco

In August 2007, The University of Western Ontario has signed an agreement with the Museo Larco in Lima. This agreement will stimulate collaborative research efforts and benefit researchers from both institutions.

Click here to visit the museum web site

Click here to browse the online catalogue



Huaca Santa Clara Project

Between 2002 and 2005, I directed a research project in the Virú Valley, Peru. The research, supported by the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and through a Fellowship in Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks (Washington, D.C.) was a field project focussing on the Moche and Gallinazo cultures. The centrepiece of this investigation was an excavation I organized on the Prehispanic site of Huaca Santa Clara, an important settlement in this region. The aim was to investigate the nature of the settlement within the context of state formation and early urbanization during a key period in Andean prehistory. This was done through surveys, large-scale excavations, multi-disciplinary analyses, and the use of GIS technology to help assess the position of Huaca Santa Clara within the regional political system and explore the cultural affiliation of the local elites and their relations with rulers of the valley and leaders in more distant regions. In order to make the results of my work available, I have embarked on a series of publications, including a book on the Gallinazo occupation of Huaca Santa Clara.



Moche Cemeteries Project

As part of my doctoral research on Moche burial practices, I directed this fieldwork project in the Moche Valley between 1998 and 2000. The main objective of this study, funded by the Gilchrist Educational Trust, the Sainsbury Research Unit, the Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust and the Society of Antiquaries of London, was to document Prehispanic funerary practices within cemeteries and in non-residential architecture. During these campaigns, burials of upper and lower levels of the Moche society were excavated and subsequently studied within a broader analysis of social differentiation in Moche society using multivariate statistical techniques. A book stemming from this research was published in 2002 (Moche Burial Patterns An Investigation into Prehispanic Social Structure, Archaeopress, Oxford). As an offshoot in this interest in prehistoric mortuary practices, I also wrote an article on the cult of the ancestors in Moche society (published in Latin American Antiquity in 2004).