GIS Applications in the Analysis of Prehispanic Settlement in Cajamarca, Peru

Author(s): Ashley Harris; Jason Toohey; Kirk Scheffler

Year: 2018


The Cajamarca Valley of northern Peru has seen changing settlement patterns throughout its nearly 12,000 year human occupation. Although several archaeological surveys have taken place in and around the basin over the past 70 years, this is the first project to apply the tools of Geographic Information Systems to this existing settlement data. This region-scale analysis is a significant addition to the traditional archaeological research in Cajamarca which has focused largely on the excavation of particular sites. The employment of nearest neighbor, central feature, view shed, and least costs analyses is revealing significant demographic change from the Formative Period through the Late Horizon. Analyses point to significant clustering of sites during the Formative Period with populations focused on large ceremonial mound sites in the basin. During subsequent periods, settlement oscillates between higher and lower elevation zones implying both economic and defensive pressures on settlement. The novel application of GIS tools to existing settlement data is allowing us to speak to issues of population movement in the region with greater confidence than has been the case in the past.

Cite this Record

GIS Applications in the Analysis of Prehispanic Settlement in Cajamarca, Peru. Ashley Harris, Jason Toohey, Kirk Scheffler. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442758)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22668