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Combining GPR and Archeological Excavations at Los Morteros: Looking "Inside" a Complex Preceramic Coastal Peruvian Site

Author(s): Alice Kelley ; Ana Cecilia Mauricio ; Daniel Sandweiss ; Joseph Kelley ; Daniel Belknap

Year: 2016

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Summary

The Los Morteros archaeological site is located on the desert north coast of Peru. This large, elliptical mound (ca. 225x200 m, with relief of 14.5 m) is situated on a 3 m high Mid-Holocene shoreline. Limited excavations in the 1970’s identified preceramic midden deposits. Subsequent ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey at the site revealed interior stratigraphy inconsistent with a sand dune or bedrock-cored sand deposit, suggesting human agency in the construction of the mound, rather than occupation of a pre-existing feature. New, more extensive excavations at the site have provided ground truth for the GPR data, allowing a more nuanced interpretation of the construction of the mound. Rather than being constructed of large, vertical walls, as originally thought, the mound is a composite of buildings, stone-floored patios, and midden deposits separated by wind-blown sand layers. By comparing the GPR data in excavated areas with known stratigraphy and identified archaeological remains, a more detailed and accurate analysis of the mound interior can be completed. These results will be useful in planning future excavations of the site and making inferences about site formation and chronology.


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Combining GPR and Archeological Excavations at Los Morteros: Looking "Inside" a Complex Preceramic Coastal Peruvian Site. Alice Kelley, Ana Cecilia Mauricio, Daniel Sandweiss, Joseph Kelley, Daniel Belknap. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404908)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America