Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



This thesis focuses on the spatial analysis of monumental, residential compounds at the Early Horizon urban center of Caylán (800-1 B.C.), Nepeña Valley, Peru. The utilization of space parallels the economic, social political and ideological aspects of human cultures. Hence, through the study of architectural space, aspects of the culture such as social organization can be deduced. This thesis focuses on the residential compounds with the objective of reconstructing patterns of social and community organization at Caylán. The monumental, residential compounds located at Caylán are organized into a dense urban core. The enclosures abut one another through a complex system of streets and corridors. Based on the data from mapping and excavation operations carried out in 2009-2010, this study presents more detailed spatial information gathered through a fine-grained pedestrian survey realized in 2014. The updated maps are analyzed to delimit the various compounds and reconstruct their respective internal spatial syntax. Surface evidence allows the delimitation of 43 compounds, preliminarily interpreted as supra-household, neighborhood-type of urban spatial units. The formal descriptions of the compound architecture combined with gamma analysis indicate that the Caylán compounds share similar spatial precepts. They consist of a large public plaza, through which compounds are accessed from outside streets. More than a dozen streets have so far been documented. In each of the compounds, the plaza is the gateway to production and living areas. Those consist of smaller colonnaded patios, and subsequently accessed smaller patios and covered rooms interpreted as resting areas. This pattern is typical of the residential, enclosure-based neighborhoods at Caylán. To express variability between compounds and to understand their configuration, gamma analyses were completed for the best-preserved architectural structures (n=7). The size and complexity of most compounds suggest they housed several households, perhaps organized in a neighborhood-like urban structure.



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Committee Chair

Chicoine, David