Issues of Function and Scale as Viewed through Possible Ritual Structures at the Late Archaic Site of Huaricanga, Peru

Author(s): Matthew Piscitelli

Year: 2015


Throughout the Late Archaic Period (3000-1800 B.C.) communities along the north-central coast of Peru witnessed a dramatic increase in the material manifestations of ritual performance. During this time, the earliest monumental ceremonial architecture in South America was constructed at over 30 sites between the Huaura and Fortaleza River valleys in a region known as the Norte Chico. While considerable archaeological research has been conducted on the large-scale platform mounds and sunken circular plazas, little attention has been given to the small-scale ceremonial buildings distributed among the monumental structures. The emphasis on the impressive monumental buildings has also overshadowed our understanding of household archaeology during this time period. Therefore, some basic anthropological questions are still largely unanswered for the Late Archaic Period in the Norte Chico region: Where did people at these sites live? Did the small-scale structures serve ceremonial or domestic functions, or perhaps a combination of the two? What does the difference in scale between the smaller buildings and the monumental platform mounds and plazas suggest about the role of ritual in the emergence of complex societies? This paper addresses these questions using recent results from innovative, multi-disciplinary research conducted at the Late Archaic site of Huaricanga.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Issues of Function and Scale as Viewed through Possible Ritual Structures at the Late Archaic Site of Huaricanga, Peru. Matthew Piscitelli. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395334)


Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;