Recent Research and a Chronological Reevaluation of the Viru-Moche-Chicama Valleys

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

The Viru, Moche, and Chicama Valleys, on the north coast of Peru, are home to many pioneering studies of Andean prehistory and Peruvian archaeology, including the work of Rafael Larco, the Viru Valley Project and the Chan Chan/Moche Valley Project. As the focus of some of the most significant fieldwork to be carried out in the Andes, these three valleys remain the focus of many ongoing archaeological projects. This symposium is an opportunity to present recent research, contributing to a chronological reevaluation of the prehistory of the Viru, Moche, and Chicama valleys. Session participants will present data from their recent research from one or more of the three valleys and explain how this data impacts previous interpretations or ideas about culture periods and our understanding of the prehistory of the region. This session will enable presenters to introduce their new perspectives and research agendas for one of the most traditional areas of Andean Archaeology.

Geographic Keywords
South America

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  • Documents (9)

  • Anchoring the Absolute to the Relative: Recent Chronological Research in the Virú Valley, Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jordan Downey. Jean-François Millaire.

    For decades north coast specialists worked within a paradigm that viewed the Moche as an expansionist state. Moche fine ware was regarded as a reliable indicator for dating this polity's imperialism over its neighbours, an idea that traces its roots to the Virú Valley Project of the 1940s. Extensive recent field research has led many to question this colonial model, however, and to propose other, more fragmented, geopolitical scenarios. This shift has both undermined the universal usefulness of...

  • Ceramic Petrography and Early Intermediate Period Interaction in the Moche Valley, Peru: Current Understanding and Future Research (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jennifer Ringberg.

    Understanding the spatial distribution of pottery styles in combination with pottery composition and raw materials availability can help illuminate networks of interaction among groups at a regional scale. My research focuses on distinct pottery styles of the middle and upper Moche valley that had wide distribution during the Gallinazo and Early Moche phases. The pottery assemblage from three large, high status households at Cerro León (AD 60 to 350, 2 sigma cal.) in the middle Moche valley...

  • A Fortified Frontier - LIP Defensive Settlement in the Moche Valley (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Patrick Mullins.

    During the Late Intermediate Period (LIP, 1000-1476 CE), the florescence of the Chimú Empire in the Moche Valley on the coast corresponded with an explosion of fortified and defensive settlement up-valley and into the nearby highlands. Previous scholarship has associated these forts with tentative stages of Chimú expansion into the middle and upper reaches of the Moche Valley, placing the imperial frontier as located in the transitional zone between the river valley and the highlands above....

  • Irrigation Systems as a Chronological Proxy? Continuous Occupation at the Valley Edge, Chicama Valley, Peru. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ari Caramanica.

    The extension of irrigation systems from valley centers into the desert margins has been used by archaeologists in the Virú, Moche and Chicama valleys both as a form of relative dating and as a measure of societal complexity. Chronological periods in these valleys have become tied into uniform evolutionary sequences: the expansion of irrigation systems is correlated with population growth, technological advancement, and social hierarchy in the form of increased levels of bureaucracy and the...

  • La Poza de Huanchaco: A Late Early Horizon – Early Intermediate Period Fishing Community: social and material culture interactions between Salinar and Gallinazo (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Gabriel Prieto.

    La Poza has been excavated since 1965. Today is one of the most intensive sites that have been studied in the Moche valley but at the same time is perhaps the most damaged by modern urban growth. The recent excavations carried out at the site, using the test pitting technique have uncovered principally a Salinar and Gallinazo occupations. Human burials and domestic contexts with complete ceramic vessels are the most common findings in this site. The dense deposits provided a great collection of...

  • Linking Chronology, Culture History, and Culture Process in Moche Studies. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jeffrey Quilter.

    Revised chronologies affect our interpretations of cultural phenomena more than vice versa. This paper explores these issues in relation to the Moche. New dates suggest that the Moche phenomenon occurred later and ended later than previously thought and this is linked to a number of key issues in Andean culture history. The collapse of the Larco ceramic sequence is linked to the undermining of the concept of the Moche state and affects our concept of "Moche," in general. Particular attention...

  • Reassessing the Late Andean Period in the Moche Valley: the View from Cerro Huancha (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alicia Boswell.

    In this paper I review the history of thinking about the Late Andean Period in the Moche Valley and present recent research from the site of Cerro Huancha, a large center located in a tributary of the Moche River in the chaupiyunga ecological niche. Encompassing the duration of the Inca and Chimu Empires, AD 1000 – 1532, the Late Andean Period was a time of change in political power and Cerro Huancha provides insight to how these two empires administered and interacted with populations in the...

  • Southern Moche Politics Reevaluated: The Reconciliation of Relative (ceramic chronologies) and Absolute (radiocarbon) Dates. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michele Koons.

    Recently I performed a reevaluation of published radiocarbon dates for the Moche culture (200-900 AD). I only considered 14C samples obtained from short-lived plant materials found in association with "datable" ceramics (Moche I-V, and Early, Middle, and Late Moche). The purpose was to test the validity of the relative ceramic chronologies in each valley against absolute dates. For this paper, using Bayesian analysis I compare the well contextualized Moche dates from the Chicama Valley to...

  • To Live and Die in the City: Investigations of Health at the Huacas de Moche (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Celeste Gagnon.

    During the last two decades of work at the Huacas de Moche site a large number of human interments have been excavated. Although the remains of human sacrificial victims have been well studied, those buried as part of the daily course of events at the site have received less attention. Yet, if we are to understand how the Southern Moche Polity developed, thrived, and ultimately declined, then we must investigate the everyday lives of the women, men and children who were the polity. In this paper...