From Foragers to Empires: Recent Research on the South Coast of Peru

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

From Paracas and Nasca to the Inca Empire, for thousands of years the South Coast of Peru was a hub for the evolution of indigenous societies in the Andes. This symposium focuses on the most recent research undertaken on the South Coast. From the dry Nasca Valley to the Paracas Peninsula, from the coast to the highlands, and from the Middle Preceramic through the colonial and Republican period, participants focus on foodways, ritual, pilgrimage, exchange, production, identity and a host of other issues that shed new light on our understanding of this region's prehistory.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-15 of 15)

  • Documents (15)

  • The 2014 Excavations at Cerro Tortolita, an Early Intermediate Period Ceremonial Center in the Upper Ica Valley. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kevin Vaughn. Michiel Zegarra. Beth Grávalos.

    This paper reports on the 2014 field season at Cerro Tortolita, a predominantly Early Intermediate Period (EIP) site in the Upper Ica Valley. While the site has been known archaeologically for at least four decades, no systematic investigation has ever been undertaken there. Our work documented the numerous sectors of the site and through vertical excavations established a preliminary chronology. We found that the site has an extensive ceremonial/ritual component including a U-shaped platform...

    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elsa Tomasto-Cagigao. Peters Ann.

    Until recently, our understanding of Paracas Necropolis was based on objects divorced form their contextual data. Research in archives and museum collections has allowed us to re-link object with context, and a complete restudy has been carried out for some gravelots. In these cases, systematic bioanthropological observations have provided more reliable and more detailed information on the persons at the center of the mortuary bundle. Age and biological sex have been re-evaluated based on...

  • Building control: architecture and the regimentation of daily life in eighteenth century Santa Cruz de Lancha, Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Maria Fernanda Boza Cuadros.

    Social control, central to Spanish colonial rule, was exercised through the regimentation of everyday life, the design and construction of space, and the imposition of practices such as sleeping on beds and mode of dress. In this paper I examine the built space at Santa Cruz de Lancha, an eighteenth century Jesuit hacienda in the Pisco valley, and elucidate on the ways in which the site architecture structured everyday life at the estate. Further, I pose and evaluate questions for future...

  • Compositional Analysis of Ceramics from the Las Trancas Valley, Nasca, Perú. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marcela Poirier. Kevin Vaughn.

    In this paper we address the results of an Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) on a sample of sherds from Santa Luisa and Higosñoc, two Las Trancas Valley sites from the Southern Nasca Region (SNR), Perú. By sampling sherds dating from the Early to the Late Horizon, this study adds temporal depth to previous compositional work in the region. While results confirm previous analysis conducted in the SNR suggesting compositional uniformity during Early Nasca, results also reveal...

  • Connecting the Pre-Columbian Past to the Present in South Coastal Peru: The Archaeology of the Colonial and Republican Haciendas of Nasca (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Brendan Weaver.

    The fertile desert middle-valleys of South Coastal Peru’s Grande Basin offered resources for great productive potential which supported a large population since the Formative Period and attracted intense agro-industrial interests during Spanish colonization. Historical archaeology offers tools for understanding regional processes of population replacement, highland/coastal exchange and migration, and the radical transformation of social processes during the last five centuries of intense...

  • Early Maize on the South Coast? (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Christina Conlee.

    Presently evidence for the earliest domesticated maize in the Central Andes comes from the north coast of Peru. Dating to the Middle Preceramic this early maize consists of Proto-Confite Morocho and Confite Chavinense, which were primitive types of popcorn. In contrast, little is known about the early use of maize on the south coast. A cob of Confite Chavinense was found in a Preceramic context at the site of La Tiza in southern Nasca. Surrounding contexts, including a hearth, date the context...

  • The Human/Animal Continuum in Nasca Sculptural Ceramics (c. 1-450) (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Meghan Tierney.

    Studies of Nasca polychrome ceramic iconography from many phases identify shamans in various roles. In ceremonial scenes shamans drink from cups filled with the entheogenic pulp of the San Pedro cactus, dance, play instruments, don costumes as supernatural imitators, and preside over rituals related to agriculture. Rarely however, is less immediately understandable ceramic imagery interpreted through the lens of shamanism as a Nasca worldview. Shamanic thinking privileges ambiguousness, trance...

    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kevin Lane. David Beresford-Jones. Alexander Pullen. Charles French. Susana Arce.

    The earliest evidence of human occupation on the Río Ica, south coast Peru are middens at the river’s mouth, accumulated through episodic fisher-hunter-gatherer occupations during the Middle Preceramic Period. We present results of ongoing investigations and dating of these sites to between 7,000 and 6,000 Cal yr BP. Apart from a variety of rich marine resources, the occupants of these middens also exploited the river estuary, riparian woodlands in the river floodplain and lomas (or ‘fog...

  • Investigations of Nasca-Wari Interaction and Imperial Expansion during the Middle Horizon: A View from the Las Trancas Valley, Nasca, Peru. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Kerchusky.

    During the Middle Horizon (AD 750-1000) the Wari Empire established at least three colonies (Pacheco, Pataraya, and Inkawasi) in the Nasca Valley and its tributaries. Archaeological survey of the Southern Nasca Region conducted by Katharina Schreiber and students in previous decades observed dramatic changes to the local settlement patterns during this period (Edwards 2010, Schreiber 1999). The number and size of habitation sites in the Nasca and Taruga Valleys decreased but increased in the Las...

  • LA-ICP-MS Analysis of Nasca Ceramics from the Residential Sector at Cerro Tortolita, Ica, Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marie Gravalos. Kevin Vaughn.

    Excavations in 2014 at Cerro Tortolita, an Early Intermediate Period (EIP; ca. 100 BCE-600 CE) site located in the Upper Ica Valley, Peru revealed it to be a local ceremonial center with a dense, residential component. Work at the site revealed a high quantity of Nasca polychrome ceramics from the residential sector, many of which feature technical characteristics (e.g. paint and paste) that are distinct from Southern Nasca Region (SNR) polychromes, suggesting that they are of local origin. In...

  • Nasca Lines, Ceramic Sherds, and Social Changes: Recent Investigation at the Nasca Pampas, Southern Coast of Peru. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Masato Sakai. Jorge Olano. Yoichi Watanabe. Kaoru Honda.

    The objective of this study is to discuss the social changes of the societies in the Nasca region, the south coast of Peru through the analysis of ceramic sherds distributed near the lines and line centers. In 1926 the Nasca lines had been discovered by Alfred Kroeber and was investigated archaeo-astronomically by Paul Kosok and María Reich. At the 1980' Anthony Aveni and his colleagues carried out investigation at the pampas and contributed to reveal the detail of the Nasca lines and centers....

  • Ni la costa ni la sierra: The Archaeology of the Upper Nasca River Basin (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Matt Edwards.

    The human and cultural geography of Andean South America has been seen as fundamentally divided between the coast and the highlands since the early days of Spanish colonization; a conceptual bifurcation that is assumed to have great antiquity and has subsequently shaped archaeological research in the region. Better settlement data from the foothills of the southern Nasca valley have demonstrated that the indigenous cultures of the Nasca valley extended much higher into the Andean uplands than...

  • A Second Room of the Posts? Ceremonialism at La Marcha during Late Nasca and the Middle Horizon (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Verity Whalen. Corina Kellner. Alejandra Figueroa Flores. Deborah Spivak.

    Preliminary investigations of the La Marcha site have revealed a key residential, mortuary, and ceremonial locale in the Las Trancas Valley. While initial use of the site occurred during the late Formative, here we report on the considerable Late Nasca and Middle Horizon occupation. In addition to residential zones, we documented large plazas with huarango post features similar to those at Estaquería and Cahuachi. These include complexes of up to 9 posts, oriented in rectilinear clusters along...

  • Towards an understanding of the transition from Paracas to Nasca from a household perspective: Interpreting changes in ceramic consumption at Uchuchuma (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Stefanie Bautista.

    This paper highlights how the study of ancient dwellings and the activities that occurred within them can help archaeologists better understand the dynamic and complex nature of people, their relationships to each other, and the broader society they live in. In the Rio Grande de Nasca Region, Perú, Andean archaeologists assume that the Nasca (A.D. 1–700) developed directly from the Paracas (800–100 B.C.) based on the continuity of some pottery traits and settlement. While there has been...

  • Un nuevo patrón arquitectónico de la cultura Paracas en la sierra sur del Perú (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Johny Isla. Markus Reindel.

    En nuestras recientes investigaciones de la cultura Paracas en la vertiente occidental de los Andes del sur del Perú hemos encontrado un nuevo patrón arquitectónico, cuyo elemento básico lo constituye una estructura en forma de D, que se encuentra combinada en número de dos, tres y más elementos. En el caso ideal se forma un círculo perfecto, generalmente sobre una colina artificialmente modificada, y alrededor de un patio hundido. En el sitio de Cutamalla se han identificado doce complejos...