Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



In this thesis I examine the presence and distribution of defensive structures in Nepeña, Ancash, Peru, during the Early Horizon (ca. 900-200 B.C.). Data are gathered from pedestrian surveys, GPS coordinates, drawings, and photographs. I analyze architectural and spatial data using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools. I integrate these methods to investigate the organization and distribution of defensive structures in the lower Nepeña, in particular at the archaeological complexes of Caylán, Samanco, and Huambacho. Caylán is a multi-component archaeological complex with a major Early Horizon occupation, and serves as the primary site while the others are used to draw a comparative analysis. Questions I attempt to answer include: (1) What form of warfare occurred in the Nepeña Valley during the Early Horizon? (2) Were the sites of Caylán, Samanco, and Huambacho consolidated communities? (3)What were the implications and origins of conflicts? I endeavor to answer these questions by delineating fortification strategies including the direction of enemy approach, size and strength of defending and opposing forces, and the scale of conflict. Data were obtained from a survey conducted between June 27th, and July 25th, 2013. The project benefits from the financial support of the West-Russell Travel grant, provided by Louisiana State University, and the Louisiana Board of Regents (PI: David Chicoine). Results of systematic surface surveys and excavations at the aforementioned sites indicate the increased importance of armed conflicts and intercommunity violence, mostly during the second half of the first millennium BC. Although warfare is likely to have played a major role in shaping local sociopolitical and ritual landscapes, spatial and architectural data have yet to be systematically collected and analyzed. Ancient conflicts are materialized in the presence of fortified walls, observation posts, and hilltop forts. The formal and spatial characteristics of these features are described to shed light on the presence of defensive architecture.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

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Committee Chair

Chicoine, David