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Maritime resources played a significant economic role in the prehistoric coastal communities of Central and Northern Peru, and, prior to the current study, it was reasonable to assume they were equally important on the South Coast. In the 1980s, researchers postulated that the Nasca culture of the Early Intermediate Period was a state-level society based on inland agriculture, heavily augmented by aquatic foodstuffs gathered and processed at coastal settlements. Carmichael calls this the Nasca Maritime Hypothesis. It envisioned permanent, ocean front towns providing massive amounts of marine resources to inland centers, in exchange for agricultural produce. The research reported here was designed to test this hypothesis by means of a systematic ground survey covering a fifteen kilometer wide strip back from the shores, stretching from the north end of the Bahía de la Independencia to the southern boundary of the Bahía San Nicolás, a two hundred kilometer straight-line distance more than doubled by the winding coastline, and covering all of the coastlands opposite the inland valleys of Ica and Nazca. In the process, sites from all time periods were recorded, and all ecological zones within the study area were sampled, providing the first comprehensive overview of human exploitation in this region through time.
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The Department of Anthropology of the University of Maine, Orono is the publishing institution for Andean Past Monographs. Copyright for Andean Past Monographs is held by the DigitalCommons@UMaine subject to expansive personal-use exceptions. Andean Past Monographs takes the “green” route to open access.
Department of Anthropology, University of Maine, Orono
Nasca, Nazca, Ica, Maritime Hypothesis, archaeological survey
Carmichael, Patrick Henry and Cordy-Collins, Alana, "Prehistory of the Ica-Nazca Littoral, Peru" (2020). Andean Past Special Publications. 7.