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Re-Evaluating the Case for America’s First Cities: evidence from the Norte Chico region of Peru

Author(s): Matthew Piscitelli

Year: 2017

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The Late Archaic Period (3000-1800 B.C.) was a time of dramatic cultural transformations in the Central Andes. At the beginning of the 3rd millennium B.C., at least 30 large, sedentary agricultural settlements with monumental architecture appeared between the Huaura and Fortaleza river valleys in a region known locally as the "Norte Chico" ("Little North"). Given the quantity, size, and complexity of monumental architecture at these sites, as well as the unique settlement patterns, some have argued that the Norte Chico region was home to America’s first cities. Despite over 20 years of research in the area, many basic questions remain concerning demographics, the built environment, and socio-political organization. This paper presents recent evidence from the Late Archaic sites of Huaricanga and Caballete. The precious development of the Norte Chico region during the Late Archaic Period challenges our current understanding of the development of social complexity, and these new data will inform models of settlement growth by providing insight from a unique cultural history not normally considered in discussions of urbanism.

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Re-Evaluating the Case for America’s First Cities: evidence from the Norte Chico region of Peru. Matthew Piscitelli. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430793)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16875

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