Of Layers and Sherds: A Context-Based Relative Chronology of the Nasca Style Pottery from Palpa

  • Niels Hecht
Part of the Natural Science in Archaeology book series (ARCHAEOLOGY)


The archaeological fieldwork in the Palpa area allowed establishing a relative chronological scheme for the local Nasca-period pottery. This regional sequence defined for the Palpa area shows some remarkable differences from the sequences defined formerly for the adjacent valleys: former approaches dealt with regionally heterogeneous pottery assemblages, often without known context provenience. The chronological ordering relied on stylistic seriation and grave contexts. But when applied to settlement evidence the phases were represented quite unevenly. Most likely the stylistic approach could not sufficiently distinguish regional from chronological differences. Thus, some of the defined phases would be better interpreted as contemporaneous substyles.

The focus has shifted to the regional uniformity of the material to define a local sequence for the Palpa area first. Instead of stylistic arguing, the sequential ordering of the pottery now follows the stratigraphic evidence encountered in our excavations in settlement sites. As a result, four settlement phases could be defined for the Palpa area. These newly defined phases reflect changes in settlement habits better than the former stylistic phases did.

Together with the C14 dates provided by our natural sciences partners a revised and well-established chronological framework for Palpa can be presented here that will serve as a standard and chronological reference for the development of other regional sequences.


Settlement Site Stratigraphic Analysis Relative Chronology Uppermost Level Stratigraphic Evidence 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niels Hecht
    • 1
  1. 1.German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Commission for Archaeology of Non-European Cultures (KAAK), Bonn53173 BonnGermany

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