Overtaking the Past: Addressing Modern Site Destruction in the Moche Valley

Author(s): Morgan Welch; Patrick Mullins; Brian Billman

Year: 2016


Through increased study of the rural hinterlands surrounding the Chimu capital at Chan Chan, a broader understanding of state structured domestic and administrative sites--so as to control labor, land, and water--has emerged. Located in the Moche Valley of Peru, the Chimú sites of Cerro la Virgen and Milagro de San Jose have the potential to provide valuable data related to urban-rural relationships, but run the risk of being destroyed by modern human activity.

Using previous research and more recent data collected as part of MOCHE Inc., the authors illustrate the archaeological potential of these sites, demonstrate the extent of modern urban and rural destruction at both sites, and outline immediate and future avenues for site protection and preservation. To continue studying prehistory in this region, it’s necessary to gain a better understanding of the motivations driving modern urban-rural expansion as well as specific community relationships to nearby archaeological sites. The economic value of the land occupied by these sites, not the economic incentive behind looting, is seen as posing the greatest threat. In conclusion, suggestions for both short-term and long-term approaches to site preservation are provided, focusing on collaborative efforts between local communities and archaeologists.

Cite this Record

Overtaking the Past: Addressing Modern Site Destruction in the Moche Valley. Morgan Welch, Patrick Mullins, Brian Billman. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405200)

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Spatial Coverage

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