Life at the Edge of the Desert – Archaeological Reconstruction of the Settlement History in the Valleys of Palpa, Peru
Within the framework of the Research Project for the Development of New Scientific Methods and Technologies in Archaeological Research, the settlement history of the Nasca–Palpa area was investigated by an interdisciplinary project. This chapter provides an overview of the results in the form of a hypothetical reconstruction of 5000 years of pre-Hispanic cultural history. Earliest traces of settlements and graves in the Palpa valleys date to the Archaic period (approx. 3800 BC). The region then was settled more intensively in times of favourable climatic conditions during the Initial period (1500–800 BC). During Paracas times (800–200 BC) the region slowly became densely populated and during the Nasca period (200 BC–600 AD) the area experienced a cultural florescence followed by a sudden demise triggered by a phase of extreme aridity. After being populated only sparsely during the Middle Horizon (600–1000 AD), a rise in humidity led to another peak in settlement density during the Late Intermediate period (1000–1400 AD). The Inca (1475–1532 AD) established administrative posts in the region which again experienced a decline in production due to the onset of another arid phase just before the arrival of the Europeans.
KeywordsValley Floor Settlement History Archaic Period Middle Horizon Surface Survey
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