The Hydrologic and Geologic Dynamics of the Las Peñas Spring

Author(s): Megan LeBlanc

Year: 2018


This presentation addresses the hydrology of agricultural terraces and a spring associated with the Late Intermediate Period (post AD 1200) site of Las Peñas located in the Moquegua Valley of Peru. Positioned 150 meters northwest of Las Peñas, the spring is located at roughly 2,700 meters in elevation and sits at the base of several agricultural terraces. This field system was presumably in production at the time Las Peñas was occupied and is still in use today. Using coring techniques, sediment samples, GPR data, and aerial photography, I examined the hydrologic and geologic dynamics of the landscape to understand their potential relationship to the people who occupied Las Peñas. These data were analyzed in combination with sediment samples from the site of Cerro X, an unexcavated potential Middle Horizon reservoir, to put the Las Peñas spring in the broader context of the Moquegua Valley. Small spring systems can teach archaeologists about water storage in arid, highland conditions. It can also provide unique insight on the ancient and modern hydrology of sloped agricultural terraces. Springs at the base of agricultural terraces provide fresh water resources for humans and their animals in an area where water is sparse.

Cite this Record

The Hydrologic and Geologic Dynamics of the Las Peñas Spring. Megan LeBlanc. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442804)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22096