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Impact of a fourteenth century El Niño flood on an indigenous population near Ilo, Peru

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Impact of a fourteenth century El Niño flood on an indigenous population near Ilo, Peru
Creator:
Satterlee, Dennis Ray
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English
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xiii, 400 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Agriculture ( jstor )
Canals ( jstor )
Coasts ( jstor )
Flood irrigation ( jstor )
Floods ( jstor )
Irrigation canals ( jstor )
Rocks ( jstor )
Silts ( jstor )
Terraces ( jstor )
Valleys ( jstor )
Floods -- Peru -- Ilo Region ( lcsh )
Ilo Region (Peru) ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1993.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 362-398).
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Dennis Ray Satterlee.

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University of Florida
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Copyright [name of dissertation author]. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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IMPACT OF A FOURTEENTH CENTURY EL NINO FLOOD
ON AN INDIGENOUS POPULATION NEAR ILO, PERU










BY

DENNIS RAY SATTERLEE


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

1993


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA LIBRARIES





























Copyright 1993

by

Dennis Ray Satterlee






























To Carole (D.L.)--The Wind Beneath My Wings









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


A dissertation is large undertaking which can never be

accomplished by a single individual. Many important contributions
were made to this study by a number of people, and I wish to extend

to each of them my most heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation.

I wish to thank all my Peruvian friends who either directly
helped me in the field or who graciously imparted knowledge about

Peruvian prehistory. In particular I am indebted to some of my

fellow Programa Contisuyu members, Shawn Penmann, Rick Reycraft,
Bruce Owen, David Jessup, Elva Torres, Nene Lozada, and Jorge Tapia,
who help to make fieldwork pleasurable, most of the time. Special

thanks go to Dr. Karen Wise, curator at the Los Angeles Natural

History Museum, not only for the use of her slides of Miraflores

Quebrada in making some figures used in Chapter 5, but also because
she is a very good archaeologist and helpful friend. I also wish to
thank the other Peruvians, Walter, Helbert, and Felipe, who helped
me in the field, and who were always kind to the large Gringo who

speaks the not-so-good Spanish.

I would be remiss if I did not generously thank the personnel
of S.P.C.C., such as Ernie, Wayne, Ralph, Eduardo at Campamentos,
and Rick, and a myriad of other unknown personnel who do the
fabrication of anything that we need, and who also perform the
maintenance on our venerable field vehicles.
I wish to thank a few of my fellow UF graduate students who
helped me, and who took the time to listen to me. In particular, I
iv









want to thank Tom Eubanks, who was always a pleasure to be

associated with, and who helped me immensely in learning the
Illustrator computer program which I use to make my maps, etc.

Also some helpful suggestions were made from time to time by Steve

Kryzton. I wish to thank Greg Smith for being one of the most
friendly graduate students in the UF anthropology department. I

wish to thank George Avery and Ryan Wheeler, who were always
willing to help when any was needed. Special thanks go to the
"Maestro," Prof. Michael E. Moseley, for being my major professor for

these last four years and helping me to realize my life-time dream of

becoming a real archaeologist.

A number of figures were adapted from the works of others
including the following: Figure 1-5 was adapted from Clement and
Moseley 1991; Figure 2-2 was adapted from Dillon 1985; Figure 2-3
was adapted from S.P.C.C. 1985; Figure 3-2 was adapted from

Moseley 1992; Figure 3-5 was adapted from Silgado 1978; Figures 5-
14 and 7-26 were adapted from original drawings made by Nikki

Clark, with additional interpretations by Michael E. Moseley and
Jorge Tapia. Figures 7-11 and 7-12 were adapted from original field
drawings made by Karen Wise and myself in 1990. Of course, any
errors in translations and interpretations are solely my

responsibility.
Lastly, I wish to thank profusely Carole, my wife and chief field
assistant, for enduring the hardships and the loneliness while I was
in Florida and in Peru doing field work. It was not an easy task for
either of us.









TABLE OF CONTENTS



ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS ........................................................................................iv

A BSTRA CT ............................................................................................... xii

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION............................................ ........................ 1

Purpose of Study ................................................................ 1
Physical Setting............................................... ................5
Far-Southern Peru ................................................... .............. 5
The Coastal Quebradas ........................................ ........... .. 9
Introduction ................................... ................................ 9
Catchm ent A rea .................................................................... 1 1
Carrizal Quebrada............................................................. 12
Total Agricultural Area ................................ ............ 12
Settlement Size.............................................................. 1 3
Miraflores Quebrada ........................ ............................. 13
Agricultural Area........................................................... 13
Settlement Size.............................................................. 1 4
Pocoma Quebrada............................................................... 1 4
Agricultural Area........................................................... 14
Settlement Size............................ ................................ 1 5
Chapter Summaries....................... .................................... 15

2 EL NINO-SOUTHERN OSCILLATION................................. 15

Introduction .......................................................... ............... 20
Background Information...................................................... 23
The Cause of El Nifios........................ .................................24
The Peruvian (Humboldt) Current...................................27
Southern Oscillation .......................................................... 29
Climatic Changes Associated with ENSOs..................... 30
Exceptional Rainfall .......................................... .............. 30
Drought Conditions ............................................ ............. 3
Correlations Between Volcanic Activity and
El Nifio Phenomena..............................................................









Correlation Between Global Warming and
the Frequency of El Nifio................................. ............. 6
Effects of Strong El Nifios................................ ............ 37
F flooding ..................................................................................... 3 8
Disease and Pestilence ..................................... ............. 1
Impact on Coastal Agriculture.......................... ............. 3
Impact on Highland Agriculture.......... ................................ 4
Domesticated Animals......................................................4 5
M arine L ife ...................................... ...........................................
Guano Birds...........................................................................4 9
Econom ic Im pact .................................................................... 50
Positive Consequences of an El Nifio Event............5....5 1
Lom as....................................................... ............................ 5 1
Applying Modern El Nifio Data to
Prehistoric Settings ............................................ ............... 3

3 ARCHAEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND .......................................5 6

Initial Period.................................. ......................................5 6
Early Horizon........................................................................ 5 7
Early Intermediate Period............................. ........... 9
Middle Horizon .................................................................... 59
Late Intermediate Period ..................... ........................ 60
Cultural History of the Ilo Region .....................................6 5
Lithic Period .......................................................... ............... 6 5
Preceram ic Period......................................................................
Initial Period........................................................ ................6 8
Early Horizon........................................................................6 9
Early Intermediate Period ...............................................
Middle Horizon ................................................ ................7 1
Late Intermediate Period................................. .............. 2
Intensification and Development of
Irrigated Agriculture............................... ............. ................ 7 6
Introduction .......................................................... ............... 7 6
Water Management...........................................................8 3
Development of Agriculture................................. ........... 83
Social Change Associated with Agriculture...............8...8 5
Motivating Factors for the Development
of A agriculture .................................................. ................ 88
Advantages of Agricultural Terracing ........................8 9
Use of Fertilizers................................................................. 90
Risk Management........................................ ....................... 9 1
vii









Contribution of Agriculture to the Prehistoric Diet.....9 5
Religion and Agriculture....................................................
Background ........................... ......................................... 9 6
Role of the Gods in Agriculture.......................................9 7
Adoration of Huacas......................................... .............. 8
Oracles and Religious Centers ............................................ 102
Environmental Stress .......................................................... 109
Constant Stress.................................................................... 109
Tectonics ............................................................................. 11 0
Earthquakes....................................................................... 11
Tectonic Uplift ....................................................................... 11 6
Volcanic Eruptions....................... ................................ 11 7
El Nifio Rains and Floods .............................................. 120
Flood Studies Conducted in Peru.......................................125
Introduction ............................................................................ 12 5
Previous Flood Studies...................................................... 25
The Prehistoric Flood Record in Northern Peru.....1......127
The Prehistoric Flood Record in the Ilo Valley and
in the Coastal Quebradas Near Ilo,
Far-Southern Peru ................................................................ 130
C onclusions..................................................................................... 13 7

4 M ETH O D S........................................................................................ 14 0

Introduction ............................................................................ 14 0
Field Survey ............................................................................ 141
Unit Excavations ..................................................................... 143
Trenches................................................................................... 144
Shovel Testing ........................................................................... 146
Unit Profiles and Floor Plans............................................... 148
Quebrada Geologic Columns.................................. ..... 150
Mapping ................................................................................... 152
Laboratory Analysis ............................................................... 153
Recovery of Carbon .............................................................. 153
Computer Methods .................................................................. 154
Creating Computer Maps, Profiles, and
Illustrations ........ ....................................................... 154
Producing a Three Dimensional Model of the
Ilo V alley .............................................................................. ... 1 5 6
D discussion ................................................................................. 16 0


viii









5 SITE EXCAVATIONS.......................................................... .. 1 6 3

Introduction ............................................................................... 163
Choosing the Locations of Units.........................................164
Carrizal Quebrada.................................................................... 164
Miraflores Quebrada ...................... ................................ 169
Pocoma Quebrada........................................................... 17 1
Excavations at Carrizal Quebrada......................................173
Introduction ............................................................................ 17 3
Location and Descriptions of Units.................................. 173
Location and Descriptions of Geologic Columns.......... 78
Location and Description of the Prehistoric Canal.... 182
Agricultural Terraces ................................... ............... 183
Shovel Testing at Carrizal Quebrada............ ............. 85
Introduction ............................................................................... 185
Location and Description of the Shovel Tests.............185
Cultural Area North of the Carrizal Quebrada .............187
Excavations at Miraflores Quebrada ................................188
Introduction ............................................................................... 188
Sunken Features at Miraflores Quebrada...................188
Location and Description of Units and
Geologic Columns.......................................................... 193
Survey of the Upper Miraflores Quebrada...................1 97
Excavations at Pocoma Quebrada...................................... 199
Introduction ............................................................................... 199
Location and Description of Units and Profiles......... 199
Location and Description of Shovel Tests ......................203
Prehistoric Terraces..............................................................205
1982-83 Run-off Channel..................................................205
Irrigation C anals................................ .......................................206
Geologic Columns ................................................................ 207
Location and Description of Shovel Tests ..................... 208
Investigations in the Ilo Valley.........................................2 11
Introduction ..................................... .......................................... 1 1
The Ilo Valley Flood Sequence........................................211
Agricultural Terraces ....................................... ............. 1 2
What do Excavations Indicate about the
Flood Severity? ................................................ ........... ..... 13
Introduction .............................................................................. 13
Impact at Carrizal Quebrada............................................ 1 3
Impact at Miraflores Quebrada....................................1 6
Impact at Pocoma Quebrada ..............................................2 17
ix









Impact in the lo Valley......................................... ............. 1 8
Evidence of the Survival or the Demise of
The C hiribaya ............................................................................ 2 2 0
Post-Miraflores Cultural Activity.................................... 220
Carrizal Quebrada................................................................. 220
Pocoma Quebrada......................................... ................ 22 1
The Ilo Valley ...................................................................... 222
Irrigated Agricultural in the Study Area ...................224
Introduction ............................................................................. 2 2 4
Types of Terraces Used in the Study Area ...............224
Types of Canals Used in the Study Area.................227
Irrigation Reservoirs ...................................................... 228
D discussion .......................................................................... 229

6 EXCAVATED DATA............................................................... 191

Introduction ............................................................................ 2 3 1
Types and Quantities of Material Expected from
E ach L ocality ....................................................................... ... 2 3 1
Excavated Data from the Carrizal Quebrada................... 233
Excavated Data from the Miraflores...............................243
Excavated Data from Pocoma Quebrada..........................269
What Recovered Artifacts Indicate about the
Strength of the Flood ..........................................................277
What Recovered Artifacts Indicate about a
Cultural Response or Change Caused by the Impact
of the Miraflores Flood .................................................... 285
Why were the Agricultural Terraces near Ilo
A bandoned......................................................................... .... 2 8 6

7 PROFILE AND COLUMN DATA ...........................................292

Introduction ............................................................................ 292
Carrizal Quebrada.................................................................. 292
U nit Profiles.......................................................................... 292
Quebrada Geologic Columns................................................299
Miraflores Quebrada........................ ..................................0 1
Unit Profiles....................... ............................................. 0 1
Quebrada Geologic Columns.......................................... 1 8
Pocoma Quebrada.................................................................... 323
U nit Profiles............................... ............................. 32 3
Canal Profiles ...................................... 327
x









Quebrada Geologic Columns................................................ 335
Ilo V alley ...................................................................................... 3 3 7
Tomb Site Stratigraphic Profile....................................... 3 7
Planting Surface #1 ..........................................................340
Canal Trench.............................................................................. 340
Geologic Column #1 ...........................................................................343
D discussion ............................................................................ 34 6

8 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND
RECOMMENDATIONS ...................................................... 349

Calculating the Volume and Speed of the Miraflores
Flood at the Miraflores Quebrada ....................................349
Dating the Miraflores Flood..................................... ....35 1
Flood Impact on the Agricultural System .....................353
Declining Demographics ...........................................................354
Impact on the Chiribaya Culture......................................... 355
Cultural Responses to the Miraflores Flood ...................357
Emigration into the Ilo Area after
the Miraflores Flood.......................................................... 5 8
Cultural Change Resulting from Natural Disaster.........359
Recommendations for Future Investigations.................360

REFERENCES............................................................................ 362

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH........ .......... ..................................... 399








Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

IMPACT OF A FOURTEENTH CENTURY EL NINO FLOOD
ON AN INDIGENOUS POPULATION NEAR ILO, PERU

By

DENNIS RAY SATTERLEE

December, 1993

Chairman: Professor Michael Moseley
Major Department: Anthropology



A strong El Nifio-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the only natural
phenomenon which can slow the earth's rotation and disrupt global

climate and rainfall patterns for a year or more, potentially altering a
culture's subsistence base. Some of these El Nifios are Pan-Andean

catastrophes that have stochastically occurred for approximately
5,000 years. If a strong El Nifio flood wrecks havoc upon the modern
population along the Peruvian littoral, the possible consequences of
an even stronger event could have been devastating to the

prehistoric indigenous populations of southern Peru.
This dissertation is based on my investigations of the largest,
late prehistoric El Nifio flood yet identified in the southern Andes of
Peru. The research was conducted in three coastal quebradas--
normally dry drainages--and in the Ilo Valley near the modern
fishing port of Ilo, Peru (170 S. Lat.) during the summers of 1990-
1992.









The focus here is to assess the impact of this inordinately large

El Nifio flood (ca. 1350 A.D.) on the irrigated agrarian systems and

settlements located within the study area and to analyze the stress

upon the resident Chiribaya Culture (ca. 1000-1350 A.D.). The

purpose was to test the hypothesis that the Miraflores Flood had
ultimately led to the demise of this culture.
Analysis of the frequencies of the recovered data support my
original hypothesis. Investigations also led to the identification of a

new phenomenon, which I have called a "SCDE" (Synergistically

Coupled Destructive Event), which combines the forces of seismic
events and El Nifio floods into a whole, that far exceeds the sum of its
parts in destructive power. In this case, a prehistoric SCDE must

have formed a massive wall of mud five to six meters high, which
roared down the mountains at 113 k.p.h., totally obliterating the

Chiribaya Culture at the Miraflores Quebrada as it swept every trace
of their village into the Pacific Ocean. In other areas, it so crippled

their infrastructure of agricultural terraces and irrigation canals that
the Chiribaya who managed to survive the SCDE disaster, sank into a
permanent cultural decline.


xiii














CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION


Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of a 14th
century flood event on the agricultural infrastructure of the

prehistoric indigenous population of the Chiribaya Culture and to test

the hypothesis that this flood ultimately led to the demise of the

Chiribaya Culture of the Osmore Drainage in extreme southern Peru
(Figure 1-1). This group occupied and farmed three coastal

quebradas (normally dry valleys) of Carrizal, Miraflores, and Pocoma,
and the Ilo Valley from about 1000-1350 A.D. In order to discover

evidence of this enormous flood event, which occurred about 1350
A.D. (PITT 0948), research was conducted from 1990-1992. The

study area in southern Peru included the 3 quebradas, located North
of the modern fishing port of Ilo and the Ilo Valley, located 5 km

North of this same city at 170 S. Lat. (Figure 1-2)
The Chiribaya were an autonomous group (Jessup 1991) which

used available river and spring flow to irrigate terraced fields in the
research area. This same group constructed a 9 km-long canal which
was used to irrigate the largest agricultural system ever built in the
lower Ilo Valley (Satterlee 1991; Figure 1-3). Both of these areas
demonstrate the dramatic impact of the same prehistoric flood event
on the Chiribaya Culture.





































C.


0 100 200 300
Kilometers


O /-
I----~----

Brazil
t-J
fI


% 1
_ -



1
rr ^
P I-


Chinck


C
c,


Y
s


- -- International Boundaries


80' W


Figure 1-1: Osmore Drainage in Extreme Southern Peru


12'S





















N


S
C" (#,k.

s


I0 1 2 3
I Kilometers
IL D..S. 1993
D.R.S. 1993


Figure 1-2: The Ilo Coastline


















































01 45Kilom
Kilometers


River



N

W ,-E

s





0 250 500 1000
Meters


D.R.S. 1993



Figure 1-3: Chiribaya Irrigated Agricultural System--Ilo Valley







5
Physical Setting
Extreme Southern Peru

Peru is located on the coast of South America, and it shares
common borders with Columbia and Ecuador to the north, with Brazil

and Bolivia to the east, and with Argentina and Chile to the south
(Figure 1-1). Although the Pacific littoral of Peru is the driest desert

in the New World (Lettau and Lettau 1978), it was home to some of
the most advanced civilizations in the Western Hemisphere, including

the Moche, Chimu, and the Inka.

In the dry altiplano of the southern Andes, the Tiwanaku
Empire held sway over most of the region for almost an entire
millennium. About 70 km from the study area, near Moquegua,
several outlying settlements with Tiwanaku affiliations have been
identified and studied (Goldstein 1989).

Peru is a country with ecological extremes. Much of it can be
divided into three distinct zones, i.e. the western dry coastal desert

with intermittent oases; the lush, humid tropical lowlands to the east;
and the intensely cold, high altiplano ringed by the Andean
Cordillera. These areas were occupied by scattered, mostly

autonomous, indigenous communities, many of which interacted
while practicing Ecological Complementarity (verticality), i.e. the
exchange of products between the different zones where only certain
crops could be grown because of a difference in the altitude. (Murra
1978; Stanish 1992).
Extreme southern Peru is generally known as the coasts of the
Departments of Moquequa and Tacna, which lie between the Tambo
and Izapa Valleys--16030'-1830' South Latitude and 69030'-72o East







6
Longitude. It is an area limited to the north by the highlands of

Arequipa and to the south by the Chilean border. It is bounded by
the Pacific Ocean on the west and by the high eastern Cordillera of
the Andes on the east. Archaeologically, this area has been one of
the least known in all of Peru (Vescelius 1960).

Much of this region was home to the Chiribaya Culture between

the years of 1000-1350 A.D. Through a bit of serendipity, some of
the Chiribaya remains were uncovered by the Tsunami of 1868, but
it was not until 1956 that the Chiribaya Culture was first identified

by Humberto Ghersi Berrera (1956). Ghersi excavated seven
unlooted tombs in the cemetery that is now called "Chiribaya Baja,"

and he located several Chiribaya sites between the valley and the
mouth of the Ilo River (1956:90). Typical grave goods found were
decorated ceramics, woven sacks containing grain, food stuffs, herbs,
and coca leaves, panpipes, and some textiles (1956:107-110).

The territory from 500 m to 2,500 m of the Chiribaya
homeland is characterized, by some, as being unhealthy because

maladies, such as Uta (a form of leishmaniasis), Verruga (weeping
skin ulcers), goiter, and malaria are often found at these elevations

(Belan 1981). Despite the presence of these diseases, cultural
occupation extended from the edge of the Pacific coast up to an
elevation of 2,500 m, but the majority of Chiribaya artifacts are
found from sea level up to 1,000 m (1981:23; Stanish 1992).
Situated in the southern Andes, the Osmore Drainage (Figure 1-
4), which includes the upvalley Moquegua River and the downvalley
Ilo River, is a long, narrow valley (125 x 25 km) that covers slightly




























S


8080


0 5 10 20
Kilometers


(Note: Universal Transverse Mercator coordinates in meters)
Figure 1-4: Average Annual Precipitation--Osmore Drainage







8
less that 3,500 km2 with a population of about 70,000 (Rice and

Watanabe 1989). The geology of the drainage, like other Peruvian
coastal valleys, is composed of sedimentary, metamorphic, and

igneous rocks dating from the Cenozoic eras (McCreary and Koretsky

1966). The drainage can be conveniently divided into three sections
according to the highly variable precipitation influenced by a change

in altitude. While most of the central and northern coasts of Peru
receive an annual rainfall varying from 15-40 mm (Moore 1991:29),

the coast at Ilo is somewhat drier and receives annual rainfall of only

5 mm (McCreary and Koretsky 1966). In the Moquegua region (1400

m), the average rainfall increases to 100 mm. It is only at 3,900 m
and above that the precipitation is 250 mm or more (ONERN 1976;
S.P.C.C. 1985; Figure 1-4).
The Osmore River begins its flow as the Rio Asana at 5,100 m.

At Moquegua other smaller tributaries join to form the larger Rio

Moquegua. The lower 20 km of the river system is the spring-fed
Rio Ilo that is separated from the upper Moquegua Drainage by 35
km of dry river channel because the upper river flow disappears
underground at a higher elevation of about 1200 m. Only during the
years of particularly heavy highland precipitation does the lower Ilo

channel experience river flow, which helps to recharge the local

aquifer and to source seeps and springs. The last 20 km of the
drainage system has sparse natural vegetation and some feral cotton,
but the coastline is mostly devoid of any natural vegetation.

Scientific research began in Peru in the early 1900s (Uhle
1910), but until the early 1980s, when the Programa Contisuyu
began its interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research program in







9
the environs surrounding Ilo, little was known about far-southern
Peru. Perhaps this area was neglected because it lacks the

sometimes spectacular monumental architecture that is so

prominently visible along much of the central and northern coasts of

Peru. Although lacking in free-standing prehistoric architecture, this
region is rife with archaeological sites.


The Coastal Quebradas
Introduction
In any desert environment, a reliable water source is the
primary element needed to support agriculture. However, in the

study area, the Carrizal springs supply the only regular freshwater
source in the desert until one reaches the Tambo Valley, 8 km to the
north (Bawden 1990). Today the quebrada contains a spring source
that is 20+ meters lower in elevation than it was during the early

Spanish Colonial Period (Figure 1-5; Clement and Moseley 1991). At

the Miraflores Quebrada, a limited amount of irrigation water is
pumped from a small reservoir. At the Pocoma Quebrada, the
intermittent trickle of spring water is collected in a shallow concrete
tank. Since the water supply at any of the coastal quebradas is
meager, in order to provide sufficient irrigation water, it now must
be stored in a reservoir in order to create enough volume and
pressure to reach the scant remaining olive trees located downslope.
































































D.R.S. 1993


Figure 1-5: Water Table Drop at Carrizal Springs








Catchment Area

The "catchment" of a valley or quebrada is the total area of the
watershed which collects rainfall and funnels it into the lower

reaches of the valley or quebrada. The area of the catchment needs
to be at least 15 times greater than the area which the water

irrigates. Even then, this areal proportion is barely large enough to

supply ample runoff for agrarian surfaces (Doolittle 1990:34). Unlike
some of the northern valleys of Peru, which have permanent flowing
rivers that were traditionally diverted from one river valley to

another to increase the amount of water for agricultural purposes
(Ortloff et al. 1982), far-southern Peru lacks such resources.
Fortunately in some areas of the Ilo Valley and in the coastal
quebradas there are springs, which can be used to augment
whatever ephemeral flow came from the higher regions around
Moquegua or above.
After some investigating, it was soon discovered that there
were insufficient aerial photographs locally available to the author
which could provide the coverage needed to calculate the total
catchment area for the individual quebradas. It was hypothesized
that these figures might show some correlation between the depth of
the flood deposits found at a quebrada and the total catchment for
the quebrada. However, this idea could not be tested with the
accessible aerial photographs. Beginning with the Pocoma Quebrada,
Figure 1-2 shows that the approximate catchment for each quebrada
is about one-half of its neighbor to the south. Although the Carrizal
Quebrada has the largest catchment, the spring flow is none too great







12
despite the fact that the aquifer should be adequately re-charged

during each rainy season.


Carrizal Quebrada
Total Agricultural Area

The measurements of the agricultural and settlement areas
were made using a planimeter, which is an instrument that can be
used to calculate the area of a polygon of any shape. The numbers
from the vernier scale of the planimeter are squared and then

multiplied by a factor which is constant for each particular photo
scale, yielding the number of hectares within a measured area. The
accuracy of such measurements is dependent upon how closely one
follows the outline of the polygon. Any slight deviation from a path
will produce a different reading each time. Thus, several readings

are usually taken and then averaged for a more accurate result.
Since there are computer programs which will calculate both the

perimeter and the area of a polygon in microseconds, using a
planimeter is a somewhat antiquated method of measuring areas,
but, nevertheless, the results are usually quite acceptable.
Based on the analysis of aerial photography, the total land used
prehistorically for agriculture at the Carrizal Quebrada was
approximately 25.86 ha, while the modern agricultural land used for
olive cultivation accounted for 2.48 ha. Therefore, the percentage of
land used by modern agriculture is 9.6% of the prehistoric land
usage, which compares favorably with the results of a field study
conducted by Clement and Moseley (1990a and 1990b, 1991), who
concluded that the late modern agriculture accounted for only 6% of







13
the total land under cultivation compared prehistorical farming

activities at the Carrizal Quebrada.


Settlement Size

It was difficult to make an exact determination of the location
of the domestic areas at Carrizal because the quebrada has been
farmed by the Spanish Colonialists as well as by modern farmers.
Deciding on the extent of domestic areas was further complicated

because at least one area may have been used before and after the
Miraflores Flood. Lacking the data from house foundations or from

mortuary estimates, it is almost impossible to estimate accurately the

prehistoric native population which lived at Carrizal. Population
figures from the ethnohistorical records such as the visitsas" (e.g. San
Miguel 1567; Toledo 1570-75; Zufiiga 1562) are not too useful
because it is a known fact that the native population declined by as
much as 70-80% after the smallpox pandemic beginning in 1521

(Moseley 1992). Therefore, 1.65 ha, based on the measurements of
two separate suspected domestic areas, is probably a reasonable
estimate of the settlement size at the Carrizal Quebrada.


Miraflores Quebrada
Agricultural Area

At the Miraflores Quebrada, prehistoric agriculture
encompassed an estimated 18.49 ha, while the late modern
agriculture now covers only 8.83 ha. These figures mean that the
decrease in total agricultural usage at this quebrada is 47.8%. This
decline would seem to indicate that the total food production for the







14
Ilo region may have suffered substantially in the last few centuries.

However, since most of the agricultural land in these three
quebradas has been devoted entirely to olive production for over
400 years, much of the comestibles would have had to come from the

highlands, as they do today.


Settlement Size

Although the domestic terraces of the village at the Miraflores

locale are totally blanketed by flood deposits, the terraces are still

easily delineated using stereo viewing of an aerial photograph.
Furthermore, since the land was covered so completely by sediments,
this settlement is one of the few places that neither colonial nor
modern agriculture disturbed the domestic area. The settlement
here measures approximately 140 m by 140 m or 1.96 ha, which is

only slightly larger than the domestic areas at the Carrizal Quebrada.




Pocoma Quebrada
Agricultural Area
Pocoma Quebrada has the largest active olive grove for 20 km
along the coast immediately north of Ilo. There are still 15 ha of
olive trees growing here. This agricultural area still does not
compare favorably to the 29.7 ha which was used for prehistoric
agriculture. Thus, similar to the Miraflores Quebrada, the total area
under cultivation at Pocoma Quebrada has decreased by slightly over
50% since the Chiribaya people farmed this area. The most alarming
fact discovered while doing the analysis of the prehistoric and







15
modern cultivated areas at each quebrada was the vast difference in

the total hectares under cultivation today compared to when the
Chiribaya Culture occupied these quebradas. The most glaring
example is the very small amount of modern agriculture at the

Carrizal Quebrada, but this same pattern of less land being cultivated
through time also holds true for the other two quebradas
investigated.




Settlement Size

If all of what appears to be domestic terraces were once
occupied, then the Pocoma Quebrada would have had the largest

Chiribaya settlement, covering a total of 2.61 ha. Although there is
evidence of the Miraflores Flood even at this highly elevated area
(compared to the other two quebradas), the impact of the Miraflores
Flood may not have affected the Chiribaya living here as directly or
severely as it did elsewhere.




Chapter Summaries


Chapter 2 begins by discussing the causes of the global-
impacting weather phenomenon known as the El Nifio-Southern
Oscillation (ENSO) and the associated changes in climatic regimes,
such as torrential rains and exceptional drought. Further discussion
includes the possible correlations between volcanic eruptions and the
onset of an ENSO and between global warming and the frequency of







16
ENSOs. Also considered are the often severe effects of El Nifio
flooding on the Peruvian people, coastal and highland agriculture,
domestic herding activities, and marine life. In conjunction with

these adverse effects, the economic impact on Peru's predominant
capital-generating enterprise, commercial fishing, and the related
industry of fishmeal production is discussed. In an effort to offset
some of the intense negativism, the positive consequences of a strong

El Nifio are also mentioned. The final topic discussed is the
application of modern data in a prehistoric milieu.
Chapter 3 begins with a brief synopsis of each of the Periods
and Horizons that are associated with significant cultural changes and
achievements in Peruvian Prehistory. A good portion of this chapter

is devoted to the important and often debated topic of the

intensification and development of irrigated agriculture. Social
changes associated with agriculture are also discussed. Some of the
motivating factors which are credited with giving impetus to the
development of agriculture are examined. The advantages of
agricultural terracing, the use of fertilizers, and risk management, all
of which are pertinent topics related to farming in the often hostile

Peruvian environment, are also discussed. Discussion likewise
includes how the agriculture-based prehistoric diet of Peru compares
to the modern Peruvian diet. The difference between traditional and
modern methods of water management are explored. A number of
topics closely aligned with the relationship between religion and
agriculture, such as the role of the gods in agriculture and oracles
and religious centers, are investigated at length. A delineation of
important environmental factors, including constant stresses and







17
periodic stresses, which adversely affect agriculture, is given. The
final topics considered in this chapter are the previous flood studies

conducted in Peru, the general prehistoric flood record in Peru, and
the specific prehistoric flood record in the study areas of the
Osmore/Ilo Valley and the coastal quebradas.

Chapter 4 discusses the methods used during the three field
seasons in Peru. Field survey was used to search for potential sites

and to analyze the flood impact to the domestic and agricultural
areas. Excavation techniques, such as unit excavations, trenches, and

shovel testing are discussed. Methods used to prepare the geologic
columns, unit profiles, and canal cross sections for the transfer of

pertinent features and information to graph paper are discussed.

The methods for creating maps which contained the locations of
units, trenches, and geologic columns are outlined. Laboratory
techniques used to process materials from the field and their

analysis are also explained. Methods used to recover carbon for 14C
dating are discussed. The final topics considered are the techniques

used in creating computer maps, profiles, and illustrations from field
drawings for inclusion in this dissertation.
Chapter 5 discusses a number of important aspects of my field

work influencing decision making and interpretations. For example,
the criteria for choosing the location of units and geologic columns is
outlined. A brief description of the location of units, columns, and
trenches and other pertinent data are given. What the excavations
indicate about the severity of the Miraflores and Chuza Floods is
discussed. Also discussed is what the archaeological record suggests







18
concerning the post-flood survival or demise of the Chiribaya people
who occupied the study area.

Chapter 6 begins by discussing the types and quantities of
cultural materials which could be expected to be found at each

investigated locality. The main focus of this chapter are the data
contained in the tables listing the artifactual materials recovered
from each level of a particular unit, feature, geologic column, or
midden. The total sherd distribution from each quebrada, the sherd
distribution from the individual floods, and the sherd weight

distribution per natural strata are analyzed in order to infer the
relative strengths of the two flood episodes and the relative flood
impact at each location. Several hypotheses are offered as possible
explanations for the existing discrepancies in the sherd distributions.
Finally, a discussion of the possible reasons for why the agricultural
terraces near Ilo, Peru, were abandoned is presented.
Chapter 7 presents an analysis of the unit profiles and geologic
columns. These data are analyzed to determine the composition of
the Chuza and Miraflores Floods. The flood record and the
stratigraphy are scrutinized to assess the consistency of the flood

deposits found in the individual quebradas. Finally a discussion is
presented concerning the depths of the flood deposition at each
quebrada and at the specific locations where units and geologic

columns are located in an effort to determine whether the deposits
were found at a uniform depth at each investigated location.
Chapter 8 presents the summaries, syntheses, and conclusions
of all the data gathered during the course of three field seasons in
far-southern Peru. These data are analyzed to estimate the overall







19
impact of the Miraflores flood on the Chiribaya Culture. Further

analysis includes the determination of whether or not the evidence
supports the original thesis that the impact of the Miraflores Flood
was of sufficient magnitude to destroy totally or partially the

irrigated agricultural system which was the Chiribaya subsistence

base. A scenario of a possible response by the Chiribaya people in
the months following the flood devastation is presented. Possible
recommendations are made which could help to improve or modify

future flood investigations so that maximum information can be

obtained, while at the same time using the minimum of amount of

field time and spending the least amount of money on field
assistants.














CHAPTER 2
EL NINO-SOUTHERN OSCILLATION

Introduction

Few, if any, natural phenomena have the global impact of an

El Nifio-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). A strong event can slow the

rotation of the earth, alter the length of day, impact global climate,
and create worldwide disasters (Salstein and Rosen 1983). Strong

ENSOs can displace normal climatic regimes, especially in the

Tropics, for periods lasting from a few months to a few years
(Rasmusson 1984:5). The very strong 1982-83 El Nifio caused

record rainfall in California, severe spring flooding in the northern
United States, record droughts in Africa (the worst of the century)

and Australia, unusual wintertime conditions as far apart as the
U.S.A. and New Zealand (Rasmusson 1984), and devastating rains

and flooding along the western coast of South America (Caviedes
1984; Glantz, 1984; Tapley and Waylen 1989; Waylen and Caviedes

1986). This extraordinary event was the most prolonged and
catastrophic El Niiio ever recorded, surpassing the great El Nifios of
1925 and 1891 (Rasmusson 1984:11; Glantz 1984). Although a
strong El Nifio affects humanity worldwide, the devastation is often
most apparent along the Peruvian littoral (Figure 2-1). Here the
torrential rains cross one of the driest deserts in the world (Lettau
and Lettau 1978) and descend one of the steepest watersheds
found anywhere--falling from 6,000 plus meters to sea level in a

20























Brazil




I.
J




11
'-- I -- '



^- ~'-
V^" xxI


0 100 200 300
Kilometers


C
(V
4,


N

W -E
Y
S


- International Boundaries


Figure 2-1: The Peruvian Littoral


12"S


C.
/

C


80' W







22
distance of a few hundred kilometers. Thus, severe flooding, flash
floods, and immense mud slides are commonplace along the

Peruvian littoral during strong ENSO events (Glantz 1984; Arntz
1984).

The purpose of this chapter is to explore the following: the
causes of the stochastic weather phenomenon that has become

known as the El Nifio-Southern Oscillation; climatic changes--
exceptional rainfall and drought--associated with strong El Niiios;

possible correlations between volcanic eruptions and the El Nifio

phenomenon; possible correlations between global warming and
the frequency of El Nifios; the effects of the ENSO-induced torrential
rains and flooding; the subsequent impact on the Peruvian

population, agriculture (both coastal and highland), domesticated
herd animals, and marine life; economic impact; positive
consequences of an El Nifio; and, finally, the application of modern
data to prehistoric settings.
Since the 1991-92 El Nifio is continuing into this year (Sonja

Guillen, personal communication 1993), this study of an extremely
large Prehistoric event may help us better understand that some
large 20th century ENSOs, which are viewed as very severe, are
possibly but a harbinger of what may lie ahead for the inhabitants

of the Peruvian coastline since there seems to be an increase in
Strong to Very Strong events in the last two centuries based on
historical records (Table 2-1).








Background Information

Because of the Colonial Spanish's penchant for keeping
administration and litigation records, we have accounts of extreme

rainfall and flooding in Peru as early as 1541 (Quinn et al. 1986).
The selected El Nifios presented in Table 2-1 are only those strong

events that have a high confidence rating as determined by Quinn,
et al., through a literature search of Spanish Colonial documents,

early Spanish chroniclers and clerics, and other non-Hispanic,

historical sources concerning Peru.



Table 2-1: Strong Historical El Nifio Events


YEAR STRENGTH YEAR STRENGTH YEAR STRENGTH

1541 S 1728 VS 1899-00 S

1552 S 1791 VS 1911-12 S

1567-68 S 1803-04 S+ 1917 S
1578 VS 1828 VS 1925-26 VS

1607 S 1844-45 VS+ 1932 S

1624 S+ 1871 S+ 1940-41 S
1652 S+ 1877-78 VS 1957-58 S
1701 S+ 1884 S+ 1972-73 S
1720 S+ 1891 VS 1982-83 VS


(Note: S=Strong; VS=Very Strong)







24
Although there has been information available for centuries

concerning devastating Nifio floods along the Peruvian coast, and

good records exist for the 1891 event (Murphy 1926), it was not
until the 1970s that evidence for strong events and their effects
was widely presented to the public. Prior to this date, media

coverage of the El Nifio phenomenon, in any form, was virtually
non-existent because the 1957-58 event was little known outside

of Peruvian newspaper accounts, but the 1972-73 El Nifio was the

first to receive a great deal of worldwide attention because of the

widespread droughts in West and East Africa, Ethiopia, the Soviet
Union, Australia, and Central America that were associated with
this perturbation (Glantz 1984:15-16). Because of the interest in

this event, the recent media coverage given to the 1982-83 El Nifio

was so extensive that it might be believed by some that El Nifios
are 20th century weather phenomena. However, since 1979 (Nials
et al.) El Niiio flooding has been studied archaeologically, and recent

geoarchaeological evidence suggests that the Peruvian desert coast
has experienced massive flooding from cataclysmic El Nifio rains for

about 5,000 years (Sandweiss 1986; Rollins et al. 1986).


The Cause of El Nifios
"The term El Nifio (Little Christ Child) was coined long ago by

Peruvian fishermen who witnessed the annual warming of the
coastal waters just after Christmas" (Dillon 1985:6). An El Nifio is,
among other things, the appearance of uncommonly warm water
along the coasts of Ecuador and Peru, which causes disastrous
ecological and economic consequences. Although its effects have







25
been traced at least as far as the western equatorial Pacific, the
manifestations of El Nifios are especially dramatic along the

Peruvian littoral (Smith 1983). This phenomenon, which can
persist for 6 to 18 months (Thayer and Barber 1984), is much more

involved than the simple occurrence of unusually warm water
along the South American strand.
Before the actual onset of an El Nifio, there are stronger than
average easterlies in the western equatorial Pacific for at least 18

months. These winds tend to move water from the eastern Pacific
toward the West as indicated by (a) in Figure 2-2, and
consequently the sea level is usually higher in the West than in the

East (Cane 1983). In September or October the easterlies begin to
diminish along the equator west of the International Date Line, and
subsequently this "dome" of warm water in the central Pacific,

which is 2-3 meters higher than in the eastern Pacific, "sloshes
back east colliding with Peru and overriding the cold Peruvian
(Humboldt) Current" (also known as the South Equatorial Current)

(Feldman 1983:17; (b) in Figure 2-2). At the same time, the
thermocline in the West is depressed and becomes deeper than
average by as much as 50 meters or more and the equatorial

upwelling is, also, reduced (Smith 1983). Both local and remote
responses to the wind contribute to rises in both sea level and sea-
surface temperatures (SST) that are characteristic of El Nifio (Cane
and Zebiak 1985).
In the fall of the year preceding the 1983 Nifio, SST

anomalies varied from 3.5C to 80C above normal along the coast of




























) -.T' ". -u 3>, C 0



/ 2
I




I z
0
Lj 3 | *




IIO

3 a.




-, 0 u

13 o ="

I' '6:^
IUI
'U 3U
' 0 v


SV0
WI V

i1 r7 I 1 3
"! S
"-- v^







27
Peru. For example, at Callao the SST increased 20C per month for

the last third of 1982 (Cane 1983). These extremely warm waters
are carried south by the South Equatorial Current (Reverse

Humboldt Current) when its flow reverses directions during an
ENSO event as indicated by (c) in Figure 2-2.
After an actual Nifio event, the anomalies slowly return to a

normal condition, but SST anomalies lag behind their atmospheric

counterparts. "This is consistent with the ocean's 'thermal inertia'
and immense capacity for the storage of energy" (Ropelewski

1984:592). Nevertheless, after another slight warming beginning
in the following December and continuing into the next year, the

SST falls and often is cooler than normal, and the waters again

resume their normal westerly flow.


The Peruvian (Humboldt) Current
Interacting with the El Nifio Current, also known as the
Equatorial Countercurrent, is the Peruvian (Humboldt) Current, i.e.

South Equatorial Current, which is a layer of water driven by the

wind northward toward the equator as indicated by (c) and (b) in

Figure 2-2. Averaging 2.80C cooler than other waters of the same
latitude (Mason 1957), the Peruvian Current is an integral part of
the weather system along the Peruvian coast because it cools the
air and causes rain to fall off-shore, thus perpetuating the desert
conditions on land. It also creates the persistent garua (fog and
mist) along the coast during the winter in the Southern
Hemisphere. As early as 1555 A.D., Augustin de Zarate (1965)
noted the great coolness of the sea along the Peruvian coast.







28
However, it was the prolific author and great naturalist Alexander

von Humboldt, after whom the current is named, who brought vital

attention to the current in his early 19th century writings. He

noted that the coastal waters of Peru were cooler than the air, and,

therefore, the water must cool the air and not vice versa as was

suggested earlier (Humboldt 1818; Merriman 1955).

Interacting with the Humboldt Current is the Peruvian

Undercurrent, which flows just below the Humboldt Current along

the coast southeastward toward the South Pole [see (d) in Figure 2-

2]. This action supplies the cooler water and nutrients that upwell

along the coast of central Peru (Smith 1983), which, in normal

years (Table 2-2), is carried North and then to the West where it


Table 2-2: Classification of Oceanic-Atmospheric Conditions


El Nifio Years Normal Years Anti-El Nifio Years

1925 1957 1927 1940 1956 1930 1964

1926 1965 1928 1942 1959 1937 1966

1932 1972 1929 1944 1969 1947 1967

1933 1973 1931 1945 1971 1948 1968

1939 1977 1934 1946 1975 1950 1970

1941 1978 1935 1949 1976 1951 1974

1943 1983 1936 1952 1981 1954 1979

1953 1938 1955 1982 1963 1980


(After Waylen and Caviedes 1985)







29
mixes with the warmer equatorial water. During the anti-El Nifio
years, the waters are even cooler than normal. However, during El

Niio years, these processes reverse and anomalies transpire.


Southern Oscillation

Always accompanying a strong El Niflo is the Southern

Oscillation, which is "a coherent pattern of pressure, temperature,
and rainfall fluctuations discovered and named by Sir Gilbert
Walker more than a half-century ago" (Rassmusson and Wallace

1983:1195). The primary manifestation of the Southern Oscillation

is an alternating change in atmospheric pressure at sea level

between the southern Pacific subtropical high and the region of low

pressure stretching from Africa to northern Australia. Other
manifestations involve fluctuations in sea-surface temperatures in

Africa, Indonesia, and northern Australia (Rassmusson and Wallace

1983).
The connection between an El Nifio and the Southern

Oscillation was not identified until the 1960s by Bjerknes, who
discovered that a cycle exists where there is a positive feedback
between the ocean and the atmosphere. Stronger equatorial
easterlies increase upwelling in the West and, therefore, an east-

west temperature contrast. This difference in temperature, in turn,
increases the thermal driving of the atmosphere, thus creating
stronger easterlies. The negative phase of this cycle is an El Nifio
Event.
The vacillating barometric pressures of the Southern
Oscillation, the westerly winds, the warmer than normal SST, and







30
the ocean currents all interact helping to create the anomalies of an
El Nifio. The "driving force" behind these interactions is the ocean's

circulation, which plays the role of a flywheel in the climate
system, and this circulation is responsible for the extraordinary

persistence of the atmospheric anomalies from month to month or
even sometimes from season to season (Rassmusson and Wallace

1983).


Climatic Changes Associated with Strong El Nifios
Exceptional Rainfall
One of the more unusual anomalies associated with an El Nifio

is the inordinate amounts of rainfall that occur along the normally

hyperarid Peruvian Coast. "The result in the particular strong ENSO
event of 1982-83 was a 40- to 60-fold increase in precipitation in

the region" (Tapley and Waylen 1989:62). Some areas of northern
Peru and Ecuador received rains 1,000 per cent greater than the

15-year monthly average (Arntz 1984:36). Although the 1972-73

El Nifio was not as strong, nonetheless, increases of 15- to 30-fold
in precipitation are recorded for that year.
An increase in maximum daily river runoff is, normally, a
prime indicator for the amount of precipitation an area receives.
All the rivers of the northern Peruvian coast exhibit a dramatic
increase in runoff during strong El Nifio perturbations (Table 2-3).
In particular, the Piura River had a runoff 400 times its 30-year
mean in January of 1983. It should be noted that precipitation
patterns do vary somewhat from valley to valley and region to
region (Waylen and Caviedes 1984), and large river discharges can







31
Table 2-3: Maximum Daily Runoff of Selected Rivers in


Peru, December, 1982 to May,
in Cubic Meters per Second.


1983.


Thirty Year Means measured


River Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May
Chira
Max. Runoff 288.2 1197.2 1641.9 2282.0 2437.1 2375.4
30-Yr. Mean 36.6 86.6 220.4 309.3 323.5 134.8
Piura
Max. Runoff 320.0 1314.6 1418.0 2428.4 2064.0 2473.0
30-Yr. Mean 0.5 3.6 59.8 108.2 89.7 29.9
Chicama
Max. Runoff 66.2 112.3 81.8 900.0 600.0 400.2
30-Yr. Mean 8.9 33.4 66.6 101.7 78.2 29.7
Moche
Max. Runoff 90.0 120.0 24.0 240.0 280.3 28.8
30-Yr. Mean 3.9 9.8 17.0 34.2 29.9 10.2
Viru
Max. Runoff 14.4 80.0 9.0 70.3 120.0 10.0
30-Yr. Mean 1.3 4.3 10.1 14.8 10.0 4.0


(After Caviedes 1984)


be misleading unless accompanied by rainfall on the coast (Quinn et

al. 1986). Nonetheless, when such massive runoffs occur,
devastating concomitant floods usually follow.
This variation in precipitation can be seen in southern Peru

where the 1993 El Nifio precipitation is more than it was for 1991-

92 event. The normally dry, lower Osmore River generally flows
only briefly for one or two days in March because of highland
precipitation (Figure 2-3; Manuel Pacheco, personal communication
1990). However, the river flowed in December, 1992, and again in

January and March of 1993. The January flow was exceptionally
strong and severely damaged some of the coastal highway which


Northern




































Sp


2,C..J m


100 mm
s


0 5 10 20
SKlometers
Kilometers


D.RS. 1993


Figure 2-3: Average Precipitation--Osmore Drainage







33
runs through the town of Ilo in southern Peru (Sonja Guillen,
personal communication 1993).

As Table 2-3 clearly shows, the daily run-off from each of
these rivers swelled dramatically above the 30-year average
during the 1982-83 El Nifio. When rivers increase their flow as

much as 3,600+ per cent above average in a span of a month of so,

the impact on the surrounding terrain must be enormous. In light
of the evidence, the massive coastal floods produced by such a

torrent should have caused severe damage.


Drought Conditions

While much precipitation falls along the north coast of Peru

during an El Nifio, normally little rain falls along the southern coast
and little snow or rains occurs in the high altitudes of the southern
highlands. Currently, some of the most reliable data concerning

both prehistoric and modern climatic conditions come from deep,
glacial ice cores. Studies of the 1,500-year-record contained in the

ice cores from the Quelccaya Glacier in southern Peru (Figure 2-1)
demonstrate that a major dry season persisted from 920 to 1050
A.D. (Thompson et al. 1984). It was about this time that the ridged
fields around Lake Titicaca were abandoned because of severe

drought conditions (Thompson et al. 1984). The data also indicate
approximately a 30 percent reduction in precipitation in the
highlands during 1972-73 and 1982-83 events (Thompson et al.
1985). These were years with strong and very strong El Nifios,
respectively (Table 2-1). Even though the 1991-92 El Nifio was not
nearly as severe as the 1982-83 event, the drought conditions







34
were even more pronounced in some areas, especially in the valley
surrounding Arequipa (Lorenza Carpe Diez, personal

communication 1993).
These events seem to indicate that the pattern of copious

rainfall along the coast during ENSOs, with a corresponding dearth
of precipitation in the highlands, held true in prehistoric times as

surely as it does in modern times. This pattern should not be too
surprising since the modern climatic regime has remained
fundamentally the same for approximately 4,500 years. According

to recent evidence, there has been stochastic major flooding along
the Peruvian littoral during this time (Rollins et al. 1986).


Correlations Between Volcanic Activity and El Nifio Phenomena

Strong volcanic eruptions have been proposed by some as

contributors to El Nifio events--not so much as the singular cause of
an El Nifio, but as an adjunct to the atmospheric and oceanographic

conditions that produce such an event. Handler (1984) has shown
that a positive correlation exists between large magnitude, low

latitude volcanic eruptions and the onset of El Nifios (a negative
correlation for high latitude volcanic eruptions exists). In 1600
A.D., Huayna Putina, in the southern highlands of Peru, erupted
continually from February 19 until March 6, eclipsing the sunshine
for seven days in Arequipa (Thompson et al. 1986). Therefore, if
Handler is correct, then very possibly the disruption of the
atmosphere by the Huayna Putina eruption could have contributed
to the strong El Nifio in 1607 A.D. (Table 2-1), whose flood deposits
are found throughout the study area.










There are other instances of El Nifio occurrences during
or following a year with major volcanic eruptions in
tropical areas, the most recent being El Chichon during
April, 1982, in Mexico. Notably the eruption of
Krakatoa in 1883 was followed during the summer of
1884 by torrential rainfall in northern Peru, a typical
manifestation of an El Nifio event. Evidence supports
that same association of El Nifio phenomena during
1721, 1728, and 1804 with reported volcanic eruptions
in the Pacific basin. In contrast, the occurrences of El
Niiio in 1911, 1925, and 1957 were independent of
volcanism, but concurrent with large meteorological
anomalies elsewhere (Caviedes 1984:290).
There seems to be a strong correlation between large

magnitude volcanic eruptions and the El Nifio phenomenon. The

recent 1991-92 El Nifio, rather than diminishing, is continuing into
1993, which is rather unusual because this is the first time in over
four decades that an ENSO has persisted longer than one season

(Quinn et al. 1979). It seems plausible that the 1991-92 Nifio is
continuing for another year because of the inordinate amount of

volcanic tephra that was spewed into the atmosphere by the
Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines in 1992.
Volcanic eruptions often do affect the climate, but the results
seem to vary worldwide depending on the latitude of the volcano

and the size of the eruption. The 1982-83 El Niiio, the strongest
event of the 20th century, was preceded by the eruption of Mt. St.
Helens in 1980 and the eruption of El Chichon in 1982. Both of
these events impacted the climate and may have affected the
intensity of the 1982-83 event.
Although ENSOs can occur independently of volcanic
eruptions, there is a correlation between large magnitude eruptions







36
and strong ENSOs. Therefore, it appears as if additional research
concerning the link between climatic change and volcanic activities
would be very useful. Fortunately, in the last decade, researchers
have been investigating information, such as precipitation amounts,
airborne dust, and volcanic ash, which are trapped within the
glaciers of Iceland (Hammer et al. 1980), Peru, (Thompson at al.
1984, 1985, 1986, and 1988), and more recently in China
((Thompson et al. 1989; Ellen Mosley-Thompson, personal
communication 1993).


Correlation between Global Warming and the Frequency of El Niiios
There may also be a connection between global warming and
its effects on the frequency and, perhaps, the magnitude of El
Nifios. Although early Spanish Colonial records may be lacking
somewhat in detail, there seems to be a pattern of an increase in
stronger events since the Industrial Revolution (Table 2-1).
However, tree ring data from Chile and Argentina present contrary
evidence that show no trend toward warming since the start of the
Industrial Revolution (The Gainesville Sun [TGS], 31 May 1993).
The mean temperature in this region has risen and fallen many
times in the past few millennia. Nevertheless, ice core sampling
from Greenland's ice sheet suggests that air pollution could lead to
dramatic shifts in the climate over the next 100 years (The Tampa
Tribune [TTT], 18 July 1993), which might affect the frequency of
major ENSO anomalies. Innovative studies of fossil temperature
changes retained in the earth, recovered by deep boreholes, show a
general warming trend in a number of areas of the United States







37
and Alaska. Models predict that the warming trend should be most
vigorous at the high latitudes. Nearly everywhere the warming has
20th century onset. Some areas evince temperatures that exceed

global average, while others have cooled. Significant gaps in the

borehole data exist for the Amazon Basin and other regions (Pollack
and Chapman 1993:46-50). Currently, there are no data for the
coast of Peru. Thus, the controversy continues, and it is only
through such studies as this one that this connection may

eventually be dismissed or established with certainty.


Effects of Strong El Nifios
Introduction

When assessing the effects of a strong El Niflo on a prehistoric
culture with no written records, we must rely heavily on current

data and draw conclusions from the impact of modern flood events
on human populations and their infrastructures. Furthermore, we

must assume that similar results could have occurred easily in
prehistoric times as well. Only then can we test hypotheses against
the geoarchaeological and archaeological records.
Climatic anomalies seem to be the norm for the years when a

strong El Nifio occurs. "During the summer of 1983 in the U.S., the
climate was such that June was the 6th coldest on record, while

August of that year was the hottest on record" (Ropelewski
1984:591). Europe and the British isles experienced an extremely
dry and warm summer (Chen 1983), and July was the hottest ever
in England where weather records have been kept for almost 350
years (Radcliffe 1983).










Flooding

The most immediate and dramatic consequence of a major El
Nifio is the catastrophic flooding that cripples the Peruvian littoral.

These areas are normally inordinately dry since many of them
receive only 45 mm of rainfall in a quarter of a century preceding
an El Niiio (Nials et al. 1979). "As might be expected, the pattern of

annual flood size is dominated by elevation in normal and Anti-El

Nifio years (Table 2-2). However, in El Niflo years, the pattern
becomes more strongly influenced by latitude as the equatorial air

masses related to the InterTropical Convergence Zone and the
Equatorial Countercurrent move farther south" (Waylen and
Caviedes 1986:151).

Devastating El Nifio flooding is not exclusively a modern

phenomenon because geoarchaeologists have determined that

major flooding occurred in the Moche Valley as early as 500 B.C
(Rollins et al. 1986). Another great flood--2 to 4 times greater than

the 1925 flood--inundated, Chan Chan, the powerful capital of the
Chimu Empire, in the early 12th century A.D. (Quinn et al. 1986).

This flood disrupted the culture, and eventually the capital was
abandoned.

About 1000-1100 A.D., the infamous "Chimu Flood" probably
occurred (Nials et al. 1979). This monstrous flood may be the
source of the legend about the great deluge which led to the demise
of the king of Chot (Chotuna), called Fempellac (Donnan 1990).
After he was tricked into sleeping with a demon, disguised as a
beautiful woman, it rained continually for 30 days, which caused







39
much hunger in the area. The priests of the temple and other

leaders became so angry because of Fempellac's offense against the

gods that they bound his hands and feet and threw him into the
sea ("lo hecharon en el profundo de el mar") (Cabello Valboa
1955:327-329 [1586]).

Early historical records from the 16th through the 18th
centuries are often lacking in details concerning flooding since such

an event was commonly viewed as a punishment for transgressions
against a wrathful god (Quinn et al. 1986). Fortunately, 19th
century observations were more scientific, and, thus, accurate
records of the rainfall and the consequences of devastating flooding

were kept.
The strong El Nifio of 1891 was documented by a number of

individuals in Peru, one of whom proposed a tentative theory

concerning the inordinate amounts of rainfall. "The most
reasonable explanations of these rains is that they have something

to do with the Corriente del Ninio or Reverse Humboldt Current"

(Murphy 1926:35). "The last rains were in February, 1891, and
they were certainly torrential It seemed to come down in
sheets, like a cloudburst, but was by no means local" (Murphy

1926:36). The flat plain at Talara in northern Peru was covered by
three feet of water, and the resultant mess was like quicksand. As

one author exclaimed, "In 1891, the situation was abnormal in the
extreme" (Merriman 1955:70).
The flooding from the 1925 Niiio was even more catastrophic.
A third of the town of Huanchaco was totally obliterated as adobe
homes were dissolved and washed away (Nials et al. 1979).







40
Hundreds of people died and thousands of homes were destroyed.

Since "gutters and tin roofs were a luxury rather than a necessity,"

(Caviedes 1975:501) the incessant rains soaked the adobe walls,
ceilings, and foundations to such an extent that they disintegrated.
Severe flooding has also destroyed much of Peru's patrimony.
The impressive Huaca del Sol, which was already severely damaged

in the early 1600s by the Spanish hydraulic mining efforts to

retrieve precious metals from the tombs, experienced further
damage during the 1925 El Niiio. Yet, the damage was not nearly

so much as that done by an ancient flood, ca. 500 A.D., which left a
high-water mark a full 8 meters above the 1925 flood level (Nials
et al. 1979). Evidence that both the Huacas del Sol and de la Luna
were damaged, by this ancient flood, lies in the fact that the adobe
bricks were saturated and "glued" together by the torrential rains
and the flooding.

Located in the La Leche Valley, the Baton Grande-Poma
archaeological Complex, with some three millennia of history, was
not badly damaged by the 1925 event. Nevertheless, ca. 1100 A.D.

a mammoth flood overwhelmed the citizens of the area forcing
their relocation (Craig and Shimada 1986). Fortunately, these
MegaNiiios only happen at a rate of about two per millennium, but
they are significantly larger and much more damaging than the
1982-83 event (Sandweiss 1986). Apparently the 14th century El
Nifio flood studied near Ilo is one of these rare events since it left
widespread, deep deposits that would easily qualify it as a
MegaNifio. It is also possible that this flood could have been







41
associated with previous, strong tectonic activity which would have

sufficiently loosened materials for easy transport by flood waters.
There were a number of minor El Nifios from the 1930s

through the 1960s, but almost 50 years elapsed before the next
major event. In 1972-73 the country of Peru was again pummeled

by a strong El Nifio. This time more people died and more property
was damaged or destroyed, but this 1972-73 event merely

foreshadowed the widespread destruction that would arrive in
1982-83. For months, the coastlines of Ecuador, Peru, and even
Chile suffered relentless rainfall and flooding.


Disease and Pestilence
Flooding is an obvious and immediate consequence of a

strong El Nifio, but it is the disease and pestilence in the ensuing
weeks and months following such an event that is often neglected

by the news media in favor of the more sensational flooding

sequences. It was reported, for example, that the floods
immediately destroyed 12,500 homes and damaged 28,000 more in
the Tumbes and Piura River valleys alone, during the 1982-83
event (Jackson 1984), but such massive flooding frequently causes
many belated problems for humans that are often ignored.
Thus, although 800 people died in Peru during the 1982-83
El Nifio (Thayer and Barber 1984), the survivors did not escape
unscathed. In the north along the Rio Tumbes, "constant rains and
humid atmospheric conditions compounded the picture of misery in
which mosquito swarms and outbreaks of malaria, typhoid, and







42
skin diseases haunted the inhabitants of the valley throughout the

summer, fall, and winter of 1983" (Caviedes 1984:277).


At the peak of El Niiio, rainfall, poor diet, and constant
high humidity favored the spread of tuberculosis: a
health report issued in June 1983 stated that 60
percent of the population of Chulucanas had contracted
the disease .. .in the village of Canchaque .. an
epidemic of Uta, a leishmaniasis of the skin, spread,
particularly among children, and caused terror among
the rural population...[usually transmitted by biting
flies, this disease produces single or multiple lesions
with proliferating weeping ulcers and sloughing of skin]
(Beck and Davies 1976).


Were this not enough, the valley was invaded by tropical bugs,

among which was the catigaza, whose sting produced swelling,
ulceration, and even paralysis of the affected limb, accompanied by
fever (Caviedes 1984).
Health conditions were atrocious in many areas of Peru

during 1983, but they were even worse in 1925. In addition to the
millions of dragonflies, caballitos del diablo, there were millions
more mosquitoes which carried the malaria virus. Besides the
rampant malaria, dengue fever was a common malady. This

infectious fever, which is usually epidemic, causes excruciating pain

in the joints and muscles of its victims--hence, its nickname of
"breakbone fever."
Because many railroad beds/bridges and roads were
destroyed by flooding, dozens of towns and cities were isolated
from food supplies. The poor diet contributed not only to







43
gastroenteritis, which claimed the lives of hundreds of children,

but, also, to beriberi which caused the death of scores more

because of the lack of vegetables (Murphy 1926). Presented with

the facts concerning the suffering following a modern event, one
could easily imagine the misery and decimation that must have run

amuck along the coast of southern Peru following the gargantuan

14th century El Nifio event.


Impact on Coastal Agriculture

Humans are inextricably bound to the products of agriculture,

and, when this valuable resource is disrupted by whatever means,

we usually suffer. The 1925 flooding washed away, not only crops-

-i.e. rice, sugarcane, and cotton--but the none too plentiful top soil

as well. To add to the misery of the winter winds and sand storms,

hordes of crickets--grillos--feasted upon the scant vegetables

(Murphy 1926). Burros and llamas replaced the railroad to carry

the desperately needed foodstuffs slowly from the sierra to the

coast.

In 1972-73, the rivers were so clogged with debris that they

overflowed and completely drowned the riparian orchards and

fields. In the Jequetepeque river basin, irrigation channels for the

rice fields were destroyed (Caviedes 1975). Since the volumes of
water associated with the 1982-83 event were so much more than
other historical El Nifios, the damage to agriculture and to related

support facilities was even greater. Of course, crop loss was not
restricted only to Peru. In two Ecuadorian provinces--Los Rios and







44
Machala--54,000 hectares of cropland were destroyed by flooding

(Caviedes 1984).
Since the coast of Peru is a hyperarid desert, agriculture is

totally dependent on the technology of irrigation. The rains of the

1982-83 El Nifio either severely damaged or completely destroyed
many irrigation canals. The Moche River washed away 500 meters
of two main irrigation canals, while it filled some other sections of

these open canals completely with sand. Also destroyed was
almost a full kilometer of highway which is needed to transport the
agricultural products to the markets and processing facilities
(Feldman 1983).
Again, many of the El Nifio related problems, such as damage
to agricultural infrastructure and diseases that plague modern Peru

following a major perturbation, should hold true for prehistoric
times as well. Also, the impact of the 14th century A.D. megaflood
must have been even greater owing to the lack of adequate
technology and a sufficient labor force with which to recover from
such grievous disasters.


Impact on Highland Agriculture
While the coast suffers from devastating rains and floods

during a strong El Nifio, the highlands suffer from catastrophic
drought. In the southern highlands around Lake Titicaca, in 1983,
70 percent of the major staple crop, potatoes, was destroyed. This
crop failure was quite serious because the indigenous population
mainly survives the long winter months by eating freeze-dried
potatoes--Chuhio--which can be easily stored for the entire winter







45
season. Unfortunately, because of the severe drought and the
extreme food shortage, even the seed potatoes for next year's

planting had to be eaten (Jackson 1984). Even though there was
some precipitation in the highlands around Lake Titicaca, "the

scattered rainfall of February and March 1983 was insufficient to

grow potatoes, quinoa, maize, and alfalfa during the peak of
summer" (Caviedes 1984:288).
Famine is normally alleviated by kin groups sharing food

with each other. This native "disaster relief" is usually sufficient to

cope with the frequent droughts and subsequent low crop yields,

but in 1983 the situation was so dire that this traditional "risk

management" system was inadequate. To compound an already
grievous situation, some highland people were incapable of helping

their kin since entire villages, along with all the potentially helpful
relatives, were completely buried by mud slides. A full one-third
of the remaining villages were also badly affected by this
particular ENSO event (Feldman 1983).


Domesticated Animals

Not only humans endure great suffering during strong ENSO

events, but domesticated animals, mainly camelids, such as the
Llama and Alpaca, also do not fare well during these times. During
both the 1925 (Murphy 1926) and 1982-83 events (Jackson 1984),
as pasturage became scarce because of the drought, the sheep and
camelids in the highlands began to starve. At the other extreme
along the north coast, especially near Trujillo, vast tracts of







46
valuable pasture were totally obliterated by flash floods, further
impacting domesticated grazing animals.
The most seriously drought-affected areas were the

highlands of southern Peru and Bolivia. By the end of April, 1983,
the drought had spread from the Titicaca basin to the entire
altiplano and had wreaked hardship among traditional cattle and
llama herders. As was the case during previous El Nifio-related

droughts (1891, 1941-42, 1957, and 1972), the level of Lake
Titicaca dropped to record lows. The herds of cattle and llama
become so thin that social problems resulted for many poor
peasant families because they were accused of not properly caring
for their livestock. Unable to maintain the weakened animals,
some peasants sold them at extremely low prices, while other
families pushed to the limits of need and despair, even sold their
own children to wealthier families (Caviedes 1984:288-289).


Marine Life
In normal years, the main upwelling centers of the Pacific
Ocean, extending as far South as the Paracas Peninsula, coincide
with the greatest carbon-producing areas and with the richest
anchovy grounds along the Peruvian coast. An El Nifio triggers a
devastating crisis in the ecosystem. The upwelling of the cool
water weakens, and the less salty and oxygen-poor warm tropical
waters overlap the cold waters of the Peru Current, resulting in a
sizable decrease in phytoplankton and zooplankton, which feed the
anchoveta (Caviedes 1975).







47
A strong El Nifio event severely disrupts the ocean's
production of both chlorophyll and phytoplankton by as much as

75 percent. The larval anchovy feed on phytoplankton, but, as fate
would have it, the zooplankton do also. So the failing food supply is
now even more diminished for the young fish and, as a result of
the competing zooplankton, millions of the larval anchovy do not
survive (Walsh et al. 1980). As if this destruction were not enough
misfortune, even those anchovy which do survive decrease in

absolute growth and reproductive success (Barber and Chavez
1983).
Even the weak El Nifio of 1975 caused an 80 percent
reduction in the productivity of nutrients, and this production

occurred in a narrower zone than in normal years (Cowles et al.
1977). "When the warm surface water invades the Peruvian

littoral, the sensitive anchovy dives down some twenty meters to
colder waters or migrates southward ." (Caviedes 1975:498).
"The major El Niiio, in 1972, combined with overfishing,

almost wiped out the vast school of anchoveta (Engraulis Ringens)
that had propelled Peru into first place among fishing nations (with

a catch greater than the combined total of both North and Central
Americas)" (Feldman 1983:17). Before the 1972 event, Peru
accounted for one-fifth of the world's total fish production
(Caviedes 1975). This loss of the anchoveta catch, of course,
affected the fishmeal production and, consequently, the price of
beef since cattle eat the fish meal as a protein source. Without the
fish meal, cattle owners had to turn to more costly soybeans as a
substitute.







48
The anchovies died off or were so severely depleted after
1977 that pilchard (a member of the herring family) replaced

anchovy as the mainstay of the fishing industry. These small fish

can survive in warmer waters between 23C and 25C, while
anchovy cannot. Unfortunately, the horse mackerel, which preys

on both pilchard and anchovy, also prefers these same warm
waters. Therefore, the number of the fish available to commercial

fishermen steadily declined (Caviedes 1984). For example, the
anchovy catch declined from 1.7 million tons in 1982 to 100,000
tons in 1983 (Arntz and Tarazana 1990). Of all the marine life it is
the middle of the normal food web that is disrupted the most by

the anomalies of an El Niio (Arntz and Tarazana 1990:333).

Yet another threat to the fishing industry in Peru, caused by
El Nifios, is called a red tide, which has caused the death of

countless fish along the Peruvian coast. "Red tides are spectacular
dinoflagellate blooms that occur in oceans and often lead to mass
mortality of marine fishes and invertebrates" (Krebs 1978:540).
Because of the warm weather anomaly, when the water

temperature, salinity and/or nutrients are in certain proportions,
the marine protozoans dinoflagellatess) rapidly increase. The
Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) required by aquatic bacteria to
decompose the accumulated metabolic waste from the billions of
protozoans is such that there is not enough oxygen for the fish to
survive (Owen 1980). In March of 1990, 24 tons of fish washed
ashore at Chimbote (Francisco Mamani, personal communication
1990). Although it is uncertain at this time, it appears that a red
tide may have caused their demise.







49
Murphy (1926) relates that, in 1891, during the day the sea
was covered with blood-like patches many acres wide. The final

effect of this freak of nature was that so many fish and other

marine life died that the subsequent hydrogen sulfide produced
actually blackened the white paint on the ships in the Callao Harbor

(Merriman 1955). In 1925 another red-tide appeared. "As

testimony to the loss of life, the gruesome phenomenon is a
harbinger of death appropriately known as El Pintor (the painter)
(Nials et al. 1979:7). The loss of human and animal life in total

numbers, as a consequence of a strong El Nifio event, seems small
when one assesses the total impact on marine life. Yet,
understandably, this loss may not be of great significance to
anyone--except, perhaps, the fishermen.


Guano Birds

Many of the guano producing sea birds eat pilchard, anchovy,
and other smaller fish when they are driven to the surface by

larger marine predators. During an ENSO event, these larger
predators move from the extraordinarily warm waters to cooler

waters elsewhere. When this happens, some birds migrate to other
areas, but most birds actually starve to death because the smaller
fish are not readily available at the surface. For example, there are

normally 300,000 birds on Christmas Island; by the Spring of 1983,
there were none inhabiting the island (Thayer and Barber 1984).
Those birds which stay closer to the coast fare somewhat better,
but thousands still die for want of sufficient food (Barber and
Chavez 1984).







50
The guano birds are quite important economically to the

people of Peru since these guanay--cormorants, gannets, and

pelicans--produce a valuable fertilizer (Caviedes 1984). Prior to
the 1925 event, the guano bird population was estimated at 30
million. The strong 1925, and 1972-73 El Nifios have reduced their
numbers to 7.5 million (Nials et al. 1979). Murphy (1926)
describes the scene following the 1925 El Nifio, by saying, "By the
end of January sick and dead guano birds began to be numerous in
northern Peru, and the peste (plague) spread rapidly southward
until countless thousands of carcasses lined the whole shoreline of

the country" (1926:32). Surely it will take years for nature to
rectify the decimation of the millions of birds along the Peruvian

littoral caused by the El Nifios of this century.


Economic Impact
It is almost unbelievable that something as innocuous as an

influx of warm water could so drastically disrupt the ecosystem
along the western coast of South America, but the evidence speaks
for itself. During the 1982-83 El Nifio, the worldwide combined
loss of human life from floods, polluted water supplies, and drought

has been estimated at 10,000 or more deaths. Property damage
has been estimated at $10 billion (Dillon 1985:6-7). In addition to
the death of 800 humans in Peru, the total destruction from the
1983 event alone is estimated at over 3 billion dollars (Thayer and
Barber 1984). Included in this staggering figure is the loss of
hundreds of millions of dollars for the Peruvian fishing industry,
which has for years been a major source of income for the country.







51
The fishing industry first felt a financial crunch in the 1920s when

the local fisheries along the coast failed as the common schooling
species, i.e. anchovy, etc., died or departed (Murphy 1926).
The 1972-73 El Nifio's disruption in the ecosystem started an

immutable chain reaction of events for the 128 fishmeal factories
then in existence. Burdened by debts, low productivity,
maintenance costs, and wages, sixty-five small fishing plants, most
locally owned, faced bankruptcy, and the owners were willing to

sell their plants to the Peruvian government for whatever was
offered. The remaining plants had financial backing because they
were owned by foreign countries or by 10 Peruvian magnates who
could absorb the losses and continue operations at a reduced level.

Finally, to preserve the fishing industry, on May 7, 1973, it was
nationalized in an effort to control the growth of the industry, the
welfare of the fishermen, and the marketing of the sea products
(Caviedes 1975). Following the 1982-83 event, the fishing

situation became so desperate that the entire fishing fleet
continually tried a variety of new techniques to catch whatever it
could (Barber and Chavez 1983).


Positive Consequences of an El Nifo Event
Lomas
Fortunately, there are some positive consequences of an El
Nifio. After encountering so much suffering, destruction, and death,
any small glimpse of beauty is a welcome respite. Ironically, while
the human disaster continued, a vast area of the desert in northern
Peru was in "full bloom with green shrubs everywhere" (Jackson







52
1984:33). In some places, wet fog drifts inland from the sea, and

when there is enough fog, a seasonal flora develops in what are
called Lomas--these areas are not a continuous band, but more like
an "island archipelago" of verdant patches of vegetation (Dillon

1985).
"Current tabulation of the entire lomas flora shows it to
contain ca. 1,000 species of angiosperms and ferns" (Dillon and

Rundel 1990). Included in these various families, genera, and
species are rare plants, which are being carefully studied in an

effort to understand their origins and the formation of these idyllic
"islands" (Pare 1984). It is believed that the composition of the

plants and flowers reflect past climatic and geologic events (Dillon
1985) and, thus, can be useful in modern attempts to reconstruct
and to understand these ancient events.
For years, people have been observing and recording the

beauty of the desert when it awakens from its long, barren sleep.
It has been suggested that Pizarro's march through the Piura area,

as he and his men trekked toward Cuzco in 1532, "was possible
only because he chanced to land upon the desert shores during one
of the rare "aios de abundancia or years of abundant water and
vegetation" (Murphy 1926:54). In 1891, during another one of the
"years of abundance," when the rains occurred, one person noted,

"the desert soil is soaked by the heavy downpour, and within a few
weeks the whole country is covered by abundant pasture" (Murphy
1926:35). Although this pasture is ephemeral, when it dries it
affords goats a natural hay for a year or so. Often seasonal lakes

and ponds are created by these monsoon-like rains and the plant







53
life proliferates, attracting flocks of ducks from as far away as the
Guayaquil region. In some places, for the first time in forty years,
flowering plants reached the coast (Murphy 1926)
During the rain of 1972, as well as of 1925, in many places

the buried grass seed germinated providing ample grass which
more than met the grazing needs of the ranchers in northern Peru.
In fact, this new-found abundance encouraged some local ranchers
to import many thousands of feeder cattle and breeding stock.
Goat herds were seen roaming around various areas taking
advantage of the unusual fresh vegetation during the fall and
winter months of 1972 (Caviedes 1975).
In 1983, there was a particularly rich bloom in the Lomas
along the coast of Peru and as far south as Chile. Typically the
unusual outburst by the dormant vegetation appears some two or
three months after the maximum rainfall. The Peruvian
government has even designated one area as a national park--
Lomas de Lachay--which is located about two hours drive north of
Lima (Caviedes 1984). Even in the far south of Peru, there is lush
pasture in the normally desert-like Sama river valley during such
events, and the local herders bring their cattle into the valley to
enjoy this rare serendipity (Francisco Mamani, personal
communication 1990).


Applying Modern El Niiio Data to Prehistoric Settings
The Peruvian landscape is one of the most dynamic in the
New World, if not in the entire world. Peruvian history is rife with
examples of major seismic events, including the most devastating







54
historical earthquake in the Western Hemisphere, i.e. May 31, 1970

(Silgado 1978; Webb and Fernandez Baca de Valdez 1991). Further
proof is provided by the impressive number of El Nifios events that
have re-sculpted the Peruvian countryside during the last 450
years (Quinn et al. 1986). Both earthquakes and strong El Nifios
have a great impact on humanity, and it seems reasonable that
"phenomena that alter subsistence systems and disrupt means of

agricultural production are likely candidates for triggering change
or ethnic movement during the course of Andean civilizations"
(Moseley 1987:7).

Using an ethnohistorical approach, one should be able to use
the available modern data concerning the impact of El Nifio flooding
on modern humans and to apply these data to prehistoric
populations. We can compare the modern accounts (e.g. Murphy
1925; Caviedes 1975, 1984, among others) to the early historical
accounts of floods in Peru to extrapolate and to determine the
validity of these written records concerning the consequences of
these events for humans. Vivid descriptions by Alcocer (1987
[1582]) of the 1578 A.D. catastrophic rains and flooding that
severely affected the north coast of Peru are but one example of
the early works which can be used to infer what the impact of the
earlier 14th century A.D. Miraflores Flood might have been for the
Chiribaya Culture of extreme southern Peru.
Since the occupants of the coastal quebradas studied in this
dissertation were dependent upon a highly developed,
sophisticated irrigated agricultural system, there is little doubt
that, following the destruction of this system by the 14th century El







55
Nifo, the indigenous population, which had occupied the area for

almost 400 years, would have been severely reduced by starvation

and disease. Without an adequate workforce to rebuild, repair, and

maintain the agricultural subsistence base, the culture could not

have regained its pre-flood eminence. Therefore, it would have

lost its hegemony, and it would have been in a very vulnerable
position with regards to invasion or simply an in-migration by a

non-resident culture. (For a detailed discussion of the impact of an

early El Nifio on the Chiribaya Culture refer to Chapter 8).
As previously noted, archaeologists must, by necessity, draw

upon modern flood data when interpreting the effects of El Nifios

on prehistoric populations. Flooding of cultivated land, along with
diminished sea resources, as a result of a particularly intense El

Nifio, results in drastic food shortages today. The prehistoric

consequences must have been even more disastrous (Jackson and
Stocker 1982:22). Currently, there is no contrary evidence that the
devastation and the diseases associated with contemporary events
should not apply equally to a prehistoric population. In fact,

because of the lack of modern medicine and technology, the
disruption of an autochthonous prehistoric society should be even

greater than that suffered by a modern society.















CHAPTER 3

ARCHAEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND

Introduction

As with all other countries, the history of Peru is a fascinating

story of the gradual development of unique cultures throughout
many centuries. This history is divided in various ways, but it is

almost universally agreed that the most significant milestones of
cultural development that fall within the scope of this study can be

demarcated by the titles of "Initial Period" (IP), "Early Intermediate
Period" (EIP), and "Late Intermediate Period" (LIP). Therefore, it is
important to examine each of these periods in turn to understand

the vital role that irrigated agriculture played at each step along the
Peruvian journey through time.


Initial Period

A number of cultural changes occurred during this period.
Early coastal sites were abandoned; monumental architecture

shifted inland; and there was an increased consumption of
cultivated plants (Moseley and Deeds 1982). At the beginning of
the Initial Period, around 1800 B.C., agriculture began to spread into
new habitats, which included coastal valleys. "This must imply
some mastery of irrigation techniques, since without these,
agriculture would scarcely have been possible in such arid







57
surroundings" (Fung 1988:82). Orlove (1985) suggests that maize
was a relatively new domesticate that was preceded by potatoes
(ca. 2000 B.C.), peanuts (ca. 2500 B.C.) and the "industrial cultigens"
cotton and gourd (ca. 3000 B.C.) during the Preceramic Period (:46).
Some, however, would argue that maize has been cultivated as
early as 4000 B.C. in Colombia (Bray et al. 1987).
At this same time, population increased and the mountain and

coastal settlements began to crystallize into "poles" of influence
(Moseley 1992). Spectacular developments, such as mound
building, free-standing architecture, and weaving during this period
are largely attributable to the technology of irrigation agriculture,
which provided people with more leisure time (Pozorski and
Pozorski 1987:125). Also, pottery, associated with storage, cooking,
and, perhaps even more importantly, with the brewing of chicha (a
native corn beer used as an integral part of religious ceremonies)
appears on the central coast of Peru around 1800 B.C.

Early Horizon
Building upon the incipient agricultural base created during
the Initial Period, early Peruvians increased their dependence upon
maize agriculture during the Early Horizon. In some of the coastal
valleys, irrigated agriculture was undoubtedly expanded. In the
highlands, the use of ridged fields and cochas (sunken fields)
increased agricultural yields and extended the farming season
(Moseley 1992). New cultigens, such as manioc (Manihot esculenta),
tree tomatoes (Solanum muricatum; Cyphomandra splendens),
Jiquima (Pachyrryzus tuberosus), and probably sweet potatoes
(Ipomoea batatas) were added to the ever-growing inventory of







58
domestic plants. However, the Peruvians still placed an emphasis
on marine resources and further supplemented their diet with
hunting and gathering. As a consequence of the diversification in
subsistence resources and an improved diet, population increased
considerably and nearly all of the coastal and highland valleys were
settled (Lumbreras 1969).
Religious centers, with new art and iconography dictated by
the Chavin cult, appeared in the highlands and along the Peruvian
coast from the Moche River to the Mala River valley. With the new
art came changes in textile production, such as textile painting,
dying of camelid hair, and the heddle loom. Pottery styles now
included stirrup-spouted bottles, stamped decorations, and the
neckless olla with motifs stressing super-natural beings, especially
the fanged anthropomorphic "staff god". Using such innovations,
the spread of corporate art and iconography probably helped
precipitate a coalescence of a multitude of distinctive local and
regional cultures into what is commonly referred to as the Chavin
Horizon, a significant, but short-live phenomenon (Burger 1988).
Metallurgy also experienced meaningful modifications with the
introduction of three dimensional forms produced by soldering pre-
shaped metal sheets, silver/gold alloying, and repouss6 decorations.
Accompanying these changes, were marked social stratification and
an increase in the demand for exotic goods exchanged between
ecologically complementary zones (Burger 1988).









Early Intermediate Period
A change in the settlement patterns occurs with the
residential centers now outnumbering the ceremonial centers

(Moseley 1992). There were other significant developments during
this period, which included an even greater increase in population

accompanied by construction of large irrigation systems on the
desert coast. Hints of a possible increase in warfare or a greater
need for defense are suggested by the many fortifications built at

this time. Nucleated settlements, with populations as large as
10,000, were present at Moche, Nazca, and Pukara, and an
estimated two million people inhabited the coastal areas (Lanning

1967).


Middle Horizon
This was a time of severe droughts which adversely affected

both agriculture and the great complex cultures which depended so
heavily upon it. A great drought lasted from 562-594 A.D.

(Thompson et al. 1988), that greatly curtailed agriculture since
evidence indicates that the precipitation was 30 percent less than
normal. This drought was probably a contributing factor in great
ethnic movements and conflict of the Middle Horizon (Moseley

1992).
There were not only severe droughts during the Middle
Horizon, but devastating floods as well. In the Moche Valley,
flooding stripped away many meters of precious soil and severely
damaged fields and irrigation canals, forcing the abandonment of
the Mochica capital, Huaca del Sol (Moseley 1992). A new capital







60
was built at Cerro Galindo, which was located at the valley neck

near the irrigation canal intake-perhaps to protect them from
outsiders (Bawden 1985).

New irrigation techniques were introduced, and the Huari
(Wari) were among the first to irrigate slopes using short, low

canals to farm limited areas (Moseley 1992). At Huari, high water
sources fed long, primary canals which, in turn, fed into secondary
canals that watered the extensive terraces. The Huari used this

new technique to develop the unfarmed slopes in the Moquegua

Valley, 60 km upvalley from the study area (Goldstein 1989; Figure
3-1; Table 3-1).
Table 3-1: Middle Horizon Cultures


Time N. Coast Cen. Coast S. Coast Moquegua Titicaca

1000 A.D. Sican Chancay Ica Tumilaca Tiwanaku

900 A.D. Sican Ica Tumilaca Tiwanaku

800 A.D. Sican Ica ChenChen Tiwanaku

700 A.D. Sican Huari Ica ChenChen Tiwanaku

600 A.D. Moche Huari _Omo iTiwanaku

(After Moseley 1992)



Late Intermediate Period
The Late Intermediate Period (L.I.P) began in about 1000

A.D., approximately concurrent with the decline of the Tiwanaku
Empire, and lasted until the rise of the Inca Empire, ca. 1476 A.D., at
the beginning of the Late Horizon (Table 3-2; after Rowe 1962;







































C?
/

0


0 100 200 300
Kilometers


C
c


61





S \-

















-Lnha '- .Cuz








Naer
Aca rl
fi\3~ / AC /,




Yauca,
Ocan

Nl Moquegua
S? Drainage

N

w E

S


- International Boundaries
76'W 72'


razil


Figure 3-1: Moquegua in Southern Peru


- -I
1
1







62
Lumbreras 1974). The capitals at both Huari and Tiwanaku had
already been abandoned toward the end of the Middle Horizon

(Rowe 1963). Therefore, this period was a time of change because
"the decline of the Wari (Huari) Empire disrupted the unity that had

been imposed on the Central Andes and permitted the resurgence
of local or regional political organizations" (Lumbreras 1974:179).

The Late Intermediate Period was similar to the Early
Intermediate Period because it was also a time with increasing

population, small political units sometimes associated with larger
confederations, and warfare (Lumbreras 1969). Some coastal areas


Table 3-2: Periods and Horizons of Peruvian Prehistory


Periods/Horizons Time Scale Also Known as

Late Horizon 1476-1532 A.D. Imperialist

Late Inter. Period 1000-1476 A.D. Urbanist

Middle Horizon 600-1000 A.D. Expansionist

Early Inter. Period 200 B.C.-600 A.D. Experimental

Early Horizon 900-200 B.C. Cultist

Initial Period 1800-900 B.C. Formative

Preceramic 2500-1800 B.C. Archaic

Lithic 8000-2500 B.C. Hunter/Gatherer


were depopulated and, within a few centuries, small regional states
appeared in various parts of the former Huari Empire (Patterson







63
1973:101). It was a time of marked local cultural diversity and
relative isolation, contrasting with the Middle Horizon which had
been dominated by the two rather large, interactive empires of

Huari and Tiwanaku. According to Inca tradition, there was "a
situation of extreme political fractionation in the sierra at the

beginning of the Inca Dynasty" (Rowe 1963:16).

With the exception of perhaps Chan Chan and Pachacamac,
most of the cities were abandoned by the end of the Middle
Horizon, and the prevailing pattern of settlement became one of

small, urban centers with dispersed dwellings. Perhaps this new
pattern was a reaction against large cities which exerted too much

control over all the inhabitants--much like the rural population

revolting against the late Roman cities. This backlash occurred in
areas where city traditions were old, but not on the north coast of
Peru (Rowe 1963:19-20). This Middle Horizon settlement pattern
would remain unchanged until the Incas placed people in nucleated
settlements where they could better watch and control the people's

activities (Patterson 1973:69).
The only regional state in existence during the L.I.P. was
Chimor, the great Chimu Empire that extended for a 1,000 km along
the northern and central coasts of Peru (Conrad 1981; Moore, 1991;
Figure 3-2). In other areas of Peru, there were polities that

developed a social organization based on small towns and villages;
however, they did not achieve large scale political integration, like
that of Chimor. These polities included the following: the Chancay
on the Central Coast; the Lake Kingdoms, Colla and Lupaqa, around
Lake Titicaca; Pisco, Ica, and Nazca Valleys of the south coast ruled









64


















ter
ama
-I















PaLI
Sg
Ca' e te


8 WChnc .


a Ica Ic
Naz, ~
Acar
O kYauca
0 300 At
ters 0
t s0 Chiribaya -



N

W


S


--- International B
80" W 76' W


I


ra
j


%1 ,
I J
''- -\ \


I
Z I
.UZCO


oundaries


Figure 3-2: Cultures of The Late Intermediate Period


zil


-.

S0I


0 100 20
Kilome


/ I







65
by the "Lord of Chincha"; and the Chiribaya on the extreme

southern coast in the department of Moquegua (Table 3-3).


Table 3-3: Late Intermediate Period Cultures


Time N. Coast Cen. Coast S. Coast Moquegua Titicaca

1476 A.D. Inca Inca Inca Inca Aymara

1400 A.D. Chimu Chancay Ica Estuquifia Kingdoms

1300 A.D. Chimu Chancay Ica Chiribaya Aymara

1200 A.D. Chimu Chancay Ica Chiribaya Kingdoms

1100 A.D. Chimu Chancay Ica Chiribaya Aymara

1000 A.D. Chimu Chancay Ica Chiribaya Kingdoms


(After Moseley 1992)




Cultural History of the Ilo Region


Lithic Period
The Ilo coast has a lengthy human history which extends back

into the Lithic (Hunter/Gatherer) Period. Located 7.5 km South of
the city of Ilo and dating to ca. 8000 B.C., the Ring Site is the oldest
littoral site in Peru (Sandweiss et al. 1989; Table 3-4). This
maritime site consists of an almost perfect 26 m-wide circle of
discarded mollusks shells (Richardson et al. 1990). In addition to
over one hundred stone tools, 7 different types of bone implements,
including a bone harpoon were recovered at the Ring Site. Faunal









66
Table 3-4: Ilo Time Chart

Time Lower Io Ilo Coast Moquegua Highlands Arica, Natural
Frame Valley Chile Events
In it i a 1 Period
900 B.C. Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1000 B.C. Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1100 B.C. Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1200 B.C. Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1300 B.C. Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1400 B.C. Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1500 B.C. Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1600 B.C. Carrizal

1700 B.C. Carrizal/
K-4
1800 B.C. Carrizal/
K-4
Preceramic Period
1800 B.C. Carrizal/ Chinchorros
K-4
1900 B.C. Carrizal/ Chinchorros
K-4
2000 B.C. Carrizal/ Chinchorros
K-4
2100 B.C. Carrizal/ Chinchorros
K-4
2300 B.C. Carrizal/ Chinchorros
K-4
2500 B.C. Carrizal/ Chinchorros
K-4
Lithic Period
2500 B.C. Chinchorros

3000 B.C. Villa del Toquepala Chinchorros
Mar Asana
4000 B.C. Villa del Toquepala Chinchorros
Mar Asana
5000 B.C. Villa del Toquepala Chinchorros
Mar Asana
7000 B.C. Ring Site Toquepala
Asana
8000 B.C. Ring Site Asana

9000 B.C. Asana







67
analysis shows that the diet was based almost exclusively on
marine resources, such as gastropods, bivalves, and chitons.

In the highlands above Moquegua, hunter/gatherers of the

Lithic Period occupied natural rock shelters and caves. People used
laurel-leaf shaped stone projectile points to hunt camelids and
other small animals of the puna (Lumbreras 1969). The Toquepala

Cave contains wall paintings of humans hunting camelids (Table 3-
4). Situated at about 2000 m.s.l., this cave was occupied, mostly

during the wet period from October to April, for many years,

beginning ca. 9500 B.C. (Moseley 1992).
Another wet season site, dating from about 9600 B.C. to 3600
B.C., is the open-air settlement of Asana located at 3450 m on the

highland puna above Moquegua. The inhabitants of Asana

exploited the local fauna all year, and, during the dry season,
humans and animals alike depended on the ground seeps-
Bofedales-as freshwater sources (Aldenderfer 1989). This site
contains one of the earliest ceremonial structures in all of Peru.

Measuring almost 12 m by 9 m, this rectangular ceremonial
complex has a wide clay floor, altars constructed of rock and clay,
and walls made of mud and clay (Aldenderfer 1990).


Preceramic Period
Preceramic Period sites along the Ilo coastline include K-4,
which dates to as early as 4620 B.P. +/- 90 (BETA) (Wise et al.
1994), with occupation continuing into the Initial Period (Table 3-
4). This site consists of a large shell midden and domestic terraces,
which are located less than 100 m from the Pacific Ocean. Early







68
sites at the Carrizal Quebrada date from about this same time

period, i.e. 4690 B.P. +/- 100 years (BETA) (Wise 1990). Human
occupation at the Carrizal Quebrada is almost continual until
modern times (Bawden 1990) probably because of the freshwater
springs and the fact that this quebrada has easy access to the
marine resources, which were exploited by the early residents, just
as they still are today.

Another important coastal site dating to this period is Villa
del Mar, first investigated in 1986 because of a double burial
uncovered during a construction project (Torres et al. 1990).

Several Chinchorros-like burials were excavated here in 1990 by
Dr. Karen Wise. The Chinchorros were fisherfolk who occupied the
northern Chilean coast from ca. 5000 B.C. and used a wide variety of

fishing tackle including nets, harpoons, and fishhooks made of shell
or cactus thorns. The Chinchorros people are perhaps most noted

for their elaborate mummification techniques, which involved the
preservation of the viscera and also the bracing of the vertebral
column and the long bones of the deceased with cane supports
(Allison et al. 1984).


Initial Period
The preceramic sites, which were located along the coast

adjacent to the springs at the Carrizal Quebrada, were still occupied
during this period, with the inhabitants clearly exploiting all of the
micro-ecological zones. Marine resources were augmented by
terrestrial hunting and gathering (Bawden 1990), but there could
have been some early agricultural fields which were subsequently







69
destroyed by the later Chiribaya occupation of this quebrada. This

subsistence strategy was the beginning of an adaptive system
which would be incorporated into the later ceramic periods and

would endure until the Colonial Spanish Period.
The primitive Carrizal pottery sequence, which includes the

neckless olla, is related to other early undecorated ceramics, such as
Faldas del Morro from Chile and the Huaracane style from an early
agricultural culture in the upper Moquegua Valley (Feldman 1990).
The Huaracane pottery, which also includes a neckless olla style,

belongs to a pottery horizon which begins around 850 B.C. towards
the end of the Initial Period and lasts until 300 A.D. of the Early
Intermediate Period. This same type of pottery is also found in the
Bolivian highlands during the middle Wankarani phase and at
Chiripa (Feldman 1990; Table 3-5).


Early Horizon
The Neckless Olla (Olla sin cuello) ceramic tradition begins as

early as ca. 800 B.C. in the Ilo area (Table 3-5). The style of this
large, wide-mouthed cooking vessel persisted considerably longer
than a millennia. By about 200 B.C., the neckless olla was produced

at the Early Horizon sites at the Carrizal Quebrada (Bawden 1989,
1990). The importance of this domestic vessel is clearly established
by the fact that 80% of the pottery sherds found at Carrizal were of
this type. Neckless olla also accounted for the largest ceramic
component at the Ilo Valley sites of El Algodonal and Loreto Viejo
(Owen 1992a.).









70





Table 3-5: Ilo Time Chart


Early Intermediate Period


Although located 300 km from the Tiwanaku heartland, there

was a strong Tiwanaku presence in the upper valley around the city


Time Lower Ilo Ilo Coast Moquegua Highlands Arica, Natural
Frame Valley I I Chile Events
Early Intermediate Period
600 A.D. Neckless Neckless Omo Huari Cabuza
Olla Olla Tiwanaku ua
500 A.D. Neckless Neckless Omo Hauri Cabuza
Olla Olla Tiwanaku IV
400 A.D. Neckless Neckless Omo Tiwanaku IV
Olla Olla
300 A.D. Neckless Neckless Huaracane
Olla Olla
200 A.D. Neckless Neckless Huaracane
Olla Olla
100 A.D. Neckless Neckless Huaracane
Olla Olla
0 Neckless Neckless Huaracane
A.D./B.C. Olla Olla
100 B.C. Neckless Neckless Huaracane Wankarani Faldas del
Olla Olla Chiripa Morro
200 B.C. Neckless Neckless Huaracane Wankarani Faldas del
Olla Olla Chiripa Morro
Early Horizon
200 B.C. Neckless Neckless Huaracane Wankarani Faldas del
Olla Olla Chiripa Morro
300 B.C. Neckless Huaracane Wankarani
Olla Chiripa
400 B.C. Neckless Huaracane Wankarani
Olla Chiripa
500 B.C. Neckless Wankarani
Olla Chiripa
600 B.C. Neckless Wankarani
Olla Chiripa
700 B.C. Neckless Wankarani
Olla Chiripa
800 B.C. Neckless Wankarani
Olla Chiripa
900 B.C.







71
of Moquegua. As a result of the studies conducted since 1983 by
archaeologists of the Programa Contisuyu, the local Tiwanaku

sequence is now well-understood. Based on the data from
excavations at domestic sites and cemeteries, the local sequence is

now divided into the following phases. The earliest occupation is
called Omo and corresponds to the "Classic" Tiwanaku IV phase

(Table 3-5). Ceramics from the Omo phase are characterized by
banded keros, angular bowls, and incense burners with 2 wings.

The strong affect of the Tiwanaku State on Omo pottery is indicated
by the painted decorations rendered in black, orange, and white on
red, which is a common tradition for all of the pottery from
Tiwanaku (Goldstein 1990).


Middle Horizon
The Omo Phase of the Tiwanaku influence in the Moquegua

Valley continued into the early Middle Horizon, but it was replaced,
ca. 700 A.D., by the Chen Chen phase which continued until about

950 A.D. (Goldstein 1989; Table 3-6). At about the same time that
the Chen Chen phase ends in the upper Moquegua valley, the

Ilo/Tumilaca occupation begins in the lower Ilo Valley (see below).
The ceramics from the Chen Chen Phase (Tiwanaku V) also reflect
the form and decoration of the Tiwanakan State. The common

decorated pottery forms are keros without bands or a single band,
large cups in the form of a half-kero, and jars with only one handle.
Other common utilitarian artifacts include decorated wooden
spoons. A new style of kero with a human profile appears for the
first time late in this phase. Stylized flamingos and parrots painted







72
on the vessels were among the most common motifs. Although the
neckless olla sites in the Ilo Valley had long been abandoned where
the influx of highland influence, nonetheless, the neckless olla
tradition is still well-represented in the ceramic record of the

Middle Horizon.

It was toward the end of the Middle Horizon when the
lengthy Osmore Canal was probably begun. The question of who

truly constructed this masterful irrigation system still remains a
matter of contention. At least one author, Owen (1992a), believes

that because of the proximity of their settlements to the canal, the
Ilo/Tumilaca, rather than the Chiribaya, built the canal. It must be

remembered, however, that the Ilo/Tumilaca designation used by
Owen corresponds almost exactly to what Jessup (1990, 1991) calls

the El Algarrobal Phase of the Chiribaya Culture. Therefore, it is
quite possible that even if the Chiribaya did not actually begin the

construction of the valley irrigation system, they at least expanded
it to its farthest extent.


Late Intermediate Period

At the beginning of the Late Intermediate Period, around
1000 A.D., sites in the middle Moquegua Valley were abandoned
and the upper valley and the coast were settled. Owen (1992b)

suggests that this abandonment of the upper valley sites restored
more irrigation water to the lower Ilo Valley and, therefore, could
have provided the impetus for the expansion of agricultural land.
The Ilo/Tumilaca/Cabuza (I/T/C) tradition persists until about 1250









73
A.D. when it is rather abruptly replaced by the more populous

Chiribaya Culture (Owen 1992a). Since the number of Ilo/Tumilaca



Table 3-6: Ilo Time Chart

Time Lower Ilo Ilo Valley and Moquegua Highlands Arica, Natural
Frame Valley (1) Coast (2) (3) Chile Events
Colonial Period
1607 A.D. Chuza
Flood
1604 A.D. Earthquake
Tsunami
1600 A.D. H.P.
Eruption
1550 A.D. Spanish Spanish Spanish Spanish

1532 A.D.

Late Horizon
1532 A.D. Inca Inca Inca Inca

1476 A.D. Estuquifia/ Estuquifia/ Estuquifia/ Inca
Inca Inca Inca
Late Intermediate Period
1476 A.D. Estuquifia/l Neckless Olla Estuquifia Gentilar
nca
1400 A.D. Burro Flaco Neckless Olla Estuquifia Gentilar
San Geronimo
1300 A.D. San Geronimo/ Neckless Olla Estuquifia San Miguel 1fO0 A.R
Yaral(l) Miraflores
Flood
1200 A.D. Yaral (1) Ilo/Cabuza (2) Estuquifia San Miguel
Neckless Olla
1100 A.D. Yaral Ilo/Cabuza (2) Tumilaca (3) San Miguel Chimu Flood
(I)Algarrobal Neckless Olla
1000 A.D. Algarrobal (1) Ilo/Tumilaca(2) Tumilaca (3) Maitas/
Neckless Olla Cabuza
Note: Local culture/tradition classifications according to (1) David Jessup (1991); (2)
Bruce Owen (1992a); and (3) Paul Goldstein (1989, 1990).
M iddle Horizon
1000 A.D. lIo. umiia'l- Neckles; Oila Chen Chen TIwanaku V Cabuza

900 A.D. Neckless Olla Chen Chen Tiwanaku V Cabuza

800 A.D. Neckless Olla Chen Chen Tiwanaku V Cabuza

700 A.D. Neckless Olla Chen Chen Huari Cabuza
Huari
600 A.D. Neckless Omo Huari Cabuza
Olla Huari Tiwanaku IV
Huari







74
sites had decreased by 50% by the beginning of the Ilo/Cabuza
phase, there is a strong possibility that the I/T/C simply could not
adequately compete with the Chiribaya Culture which reached its
zenith at about 1200 A.D. during the Yaral Phase (Jessup 1991;
Table 3-6). Although the Yaral Phase ceramics were identified from

the grave accompaniments at the middle valley site of La Yaral, this
pottery style is also found at the lower valley sites of Chiribaya Alta
and Chiribaya Baja, and at the coastal site of San Geronimo (Jessup
1990).
It is presently unclear as to the origin of the Chiribaya people.
It has been proposed that they may have emigrated from the
highlands into the Ilo Valley, or they may have developed

independently from an earlier Preceramic population or the
Ilo/Tumilaca people (Jessup 1990, Owen 1992b.). There is some
indication that there may have been some Chiribaya influence along
the extreme northern Chilean coast or vice-versa since the Chilean
San Miguel and Gentilar ceramics (very similar to the Chiribaya

styles) were found co-existing with the Chiribaya ceramics at the
site of Chiribaya Baja (Jessup 1987, 1990; Table 3-6). Currently
DNA studies are being conducted on some of the human remains
recovered from the cemetery at Chiribaya Baja in the Ilo Valley,
and, perhaps in the near future, the results of these investigations
may provide us with a definitive answer as to the origin of these
Chiribaya people.
The last phase of the Tiwanaku presence in Moquegua is the
Tumilaca, which actually occurs after the decline of the Tiwanakan
State. The manufacture and the decoration of the Tumilaca







75
ceramics indicate a gradual loss of contact with the altiplano. For
example, the paste now contains more sand; the color yellow is used
instead of red; and the keros are very large. Further, white dots,
similar to the common Chiribaya decoration, are used, suggesting a
trend toward the Chiribaya style of ceramics (Goldstein 1990).

The Late Intermediate Period was probably a time of hostility

because structures at the Tumilaca site include a wall and a

perimeter trench which are strong indications of a defensive
posture (Goldstein 1990). With the exception of the large Chiribaya

Alta site, no other locations in the lower Ilo Valley have defensive
moats or walls. Almost all of the major settlements by the Late
Intermediate Period were fortified, and in the Moquegua Valley, all
independent irrigation areas and their villages had walls and dry
moats (Moseley 1992). Fortified sites of this period were probably
created to protect the natural resources of the region and the
irrigated agricultural fields (Moseley 1990).

Another prominent fortified site is the Huari settlement
located on the top of Cerro Baul, a truncated cone of stone which
rises an impressive 400 m above the valley floor. The almost
impregnable fortress was likely a necessity since the Huari colony

had intruded into the Tiwanaku presence already firmly ensconced
in the Moquegua area. Centuries later, the Cerro Baul fortress

would prove to be vulnerable when it fell to the invading Incan
army after a 50 days' siege (de la Vega 1989).
Following the end of the Tiwanaku occupation in the
Moquegua Valley, the Estuquifia Phase begins around 1100 A.D.
With natural escarpments providing defense on the east and south







76
sides, the "type site" of Estuquifia was occupied from about 1100

A.D. to 1500 A.D. Late in the period, the Estuquifia were
contemporaneous with the Gentilar of Chile and the Inca (Lozada
1987). However, there is no evidence indicating that there was
habitation at Estuquifia after the Spanish Conquest (Rice et al.
1990). Estuquifia pots and bowls show few significant
characteristics other than opposing prominences around the upper
edges of the vessels. Other common Estuquiiia ceramics are double-

handled ollas, jars with one handle, and jars modeled in the shape
of a boot or a duck (Rice et al. 1990; Williams et al. 1990).
About 1100 A.D., the Chiribaya established an upvalley
enclave at La Yaral, which was occupied for about 200 years. In the

lower Ilo Valley and in the coastal quebradas, agrarian expansion
by the Chiribaya reached its height around 1000 A.D. (Moseley
1993), and then began to contract slowly because of changing
environmental conditions, and, by the time of the Inca occupation of

the Ilo area, most of the irrigated terrace systems had long since
been abandoned.


Intensification and Development of Irrigated Agriculture

Introduction
Early great civilizations, such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, and
Mexico, all reached their zeniths in arid regions under irrigation
(Kosok 1942; Mason 1957; Wittfogel 1957; Heiser 1973), and Peru
was certainly no exception. "One of the major areas of prehistoric
civilization in the New World is the stark desert landscape of coastal
Peru" (Jackson and Stocker 1982:12). "At a time when our







77
ancestors in northern Europe were still utter savages, clothed only
in skins, and living by hunting and fishing, settled agricultural

communities must have existed in the Peruvian region" (Cook

1916:474). All the major states and the independent polities, that
were extant during the preceding Middle Horizon, were highly
dependent upon intensive agriculture (Table 3-3). During the Late

Intermediate Period, the Chimu State and the smaller polities used,
as did their predecessors, some type of creative and highly

productive agricultural technology--irrigation canals (asequias),
terracing (andenes), raised fields (camellones), or sunken fields
(cochas--lagunilla in Spanish) (Guillet 1992).
There are two theories, the Drainage Theory and the
Floodwater Theory, concerning the origin of canal irrigation. As

with some other popular theories they do not apply to Peru in

general. The Drainage Theory states that canal irrigation developed
from the technology used to drain and direct excess water from
productive land. The technology was simple and minimized
downcutting, sedimentation, meandering and overflowing of
streams (Doolittle 1990:138-189). This theory might be applied by
some to northern Peru because of the presence of raised fields in
the Casma Valley. However, this technology of constructing raised

fields does not appear in the archaeological record of the north
coast until almost 1,000 years after the development of canal
irrigation. It seems more likely that valley necks and inland
locations were the setting for the new technology and economy of
irrigated agriculture (Moseley 1975b) because these inland areas







78
required shorter lead-off canals and, therefore, less labor to build
and maintain (Moseley and Deeds 1982).
The Floodwater Theory states that planters first farmed in

arid areas on alluvial deposits which were periodically inundated
by floodwaters from upland rain. Subsurface moisture would

remain for some time after the flow subsided, thereby allowing
some cultivation (Doolittle 1990:140). This theory could apply to
areas such as the Nile River Valley which, until the building of the
Aswan High Dam, had practiced such agricultural methods. It might

also be applicable to the Moche Valley where a floodplain exists
(Moseley and Day 1982). However, once again, canal irrigation in
Peru probably did not advance as a result of floodwater agriculture
because, of the 57 river valleys and drainages in Peru, only a few
have permanent rivers, which could supply sufficient spring flood
waters.
Sunken fields were late additions to the prehistoric

agricultural repertoire. They generally occur in a topographically
low area lying very near the coast, but they have been found as
much as a kilometer inland from the littoral in the Chicama, Moche,
and Pisco Valleys among others (Smith 1985:519). Sunken fields
are known by different names depending on the geographical
location and the time period in Peru. They are called Pukios or
wachaques on the north coast, mahamaes in the Chilca Valley, and
are referred to as hoyas by most of the early chroniclers (Smith
1985:603). According to Cobo, Hoyas were used by the native
Peruvians to increase farmland (Mateos Tomo II, 1956:92). Large
depressions, up to 100 m wide, were dug into the earth below the







79
water table, and crops were planted along the slopes of the sunken

fields (Cabello Valboa [1586] 1955; Donnan and Mackey 1978;

Moseley and Feldman 1984; Smith 1985).
It is only in recent times that modern engineering has been
able to surpass the irrigation projects of the PreHispanic Peruvian

agrarian societies (Horkheimer 1990).


The Chimu were probably the greatest Pre-Hispanic
agriculturalists in coastal Peru. Only within the past
decades has the amount of irrigated land in the Chicama
and Moche Valleys equaled the area cultivated by the
Chimu, and this has required the extensive use of pumps
and cement-lined canals (Kus 1972:193).


For example, North/Northwest of Chan Chan, the Chimu had

irrigated 1,600 hectares in one area alone (Kus 1972:199). During
the early Late Intermediate Period more canals were built and
extended into previously uncultivated plains (Parsons and Hastings
1988:198). These large irrigated agricultural works, occupying

suitable alluvial plains, were all state controlled by this time (Kus
1980). Rural administrative centers represented the "state
presence" even in the non-metropolitan areas of the Moche Valley

and maintained control over land, water, and labor resources
(Keatinge 1974:67). Labor was often made available as a tax

payment to the state (Conrad 1981). At its height, Chan Chan
controlled, at least, 66 percent of the irrigated coast lands (Moseley
and Deeds 1982:25).
Most early eyewitness accounts mention, with some degree of

awe, the vast terraced and irrigated agricultural systems which







80
they encountered throughout Peru (Cieza de Leon [1552], 1971;
Cobo [1653], 1979, 1990; Sarmiento de Gamboa [1572], 1967;
Guaman Poma de Ayala,[1613], 1980; Pizarro [1571], 1972; Sancho

[1550], 1917; 1972; de la Vega 1989). Cieza [1552] notes "all the
land of the valleys, where the sand does not reach, up to the
wooded areas, is one of the most fertile and abundant lands of the
world..." (1971:25). With just a little work, using irrigation water
from the rivers, it was possible to cultivate abundant crops (Cieza
1971). This type of agriculture is particularly important in the
sierra because "irrigation permits the cultivation of a broader range
of crops at higher altitudes than would be possible with natural
rainfall alone" (Mitchell 1977:38).

Since the narrow, coastal plain of Peru is one of the world's
driest deserts (Brush 1977; Lettau and Lettau 1978), where
agriculture is extremely difficult and virtually impossible without
irrigation, Cobo [1653] noted that "not a twentieth of this large
stretch of land is productive" (1979:4). According to Squier, "The
Sahara is a 'thing of beauty' and Arizona 'a joy forever' compared to
the coast of Peru" (1877:25). "It never rains, thunders, snows, nor
hails in all this coast, which is a matter worthy of admiration.
{However,} a little distance from the coast it rains and snows
terribly" (Acosta [1604] Vol. I, 1970:164). "Rain does not fall until
it reaches the cooler elevations of the Andes at altitudes above
2,500 m" (Pozorski and Pozorski 1987:1). This natural aridity
accounts for the fact that about 22 percent of the cultivable land
today in Peru is located on the coast, while the sierra has almost 62







81
percent of the arable land and produces the majority of the food for
modern Peru (Claverlas et al. 1983).
Unfortunately, the total area under cultivation today in the
Andes is from 30% to 80% less than it was the during the Pre-
Hispanic periods, depending on the region (Wright 1963; Moseley
and Deeds 1982; Masson 1986; Denevan 1987; Clement and Moseley
1991). Perhaps part of the reason for this disparity is the fact, as
one author explains, that the use of contemporary terraces is
sometime underreported (Mitchell 1985). The Titicaca region has
the largest ridged field system in the world (Kolata 1991:101),
where ridged fields have been used since 2500-3000 B.C. (Erickson
1987:374). Yet in the Titicaca Basin alone, there are 200,000 ha
(Hectares) of abandoned terraces, 90,000 ha of abandoned or
plowed up qochas (cochas) sunken fields, and 80,000 ha of
abandoned or destroyed ridged (raised) fields (Browman 1987:175).
Truly, the Titicaca area has a tremendous amount of potential
for food production because, during the Tiwanaku Empire, just the
3,500 hectare raised field agricultural system, at Pampa Koani could
have fed an estimated 60,000-100,000 people annually and still
have produced a food surplus (Kolata, 1987:40). At just 75% usage
of the ridged fields, mono-cropping could support a minimum of
285,000 people (Kolata 1991:110). Tiwanaku developed its mighty
empire partially based on the ridged field system surrounding Lake
Titicaca (Kolata 1983, 1986) and at one time dominated highland
Bolivia and the coastal portions of southern Peru and northern Chile
(Orlove 1985).







82
It is a lamentable fact that this once highly productive

agricultural system has been abandoned for centuries (Kolata

1983). Luckily, experiments in the reactivation of some of these
ancient raised fields at Puno and Pampa Koani, on the south side of

Lake Titicaca, have been conducted in recent years resulting in crop
yields that are 2-4 times the average yield from other agricultural

fields (Erickson 1987, 1988; Kolata and Ortloff 1989; Kolata 1991).
Although ridged fields are found throughout the Tropics, they
are relatively rare along the arid coast of South America. Yet in the

Casma Valley, it is estimated that the abandoned ridged field

system once encompassed as much as 3,100 hectares (Moore
1985:265; Pozorski et al. 1983). "The Casma Valley is unique in
having ridged fields, rather than sunken gardens, which are the

most common feature on the high water table regions of the coast"
(Pozorski et al. 1983:407).
Fossil ridged field systems also exist in Bolivia, as well. This

area, in general, offers important archaeological data about various
impressive projects of PreHispanic engineering. For example, in

addition to the ridged fields, there are canals, water

wells/reservoirs, and roadways. Some of the canals and roadways
are still in use today, though some have been repaired through time
(Erickson 1980). Perhaps some of the most spectacular vestiges of

ancient ridged fields are found in northern Colombia (Smith et. al
1968; Broadbent 1987), and, also, in Ecuador (Parsons and Shleman
1987), where maize cultivation, on ridged fields, dates to 500 B.C.
(Pearsall 1987:287).









Water Management

Today water rights are owned and regulated by the state
water administration (Administraci6n de Aguas) (Hatch 1976;
Guillet 1992), rather than being totally controlled by the ayllu, or
the community, as had been the case for millennia. However, the

various irrigated sections have elected water judges (Regidores),
who hold weekly meetings at which "water shares" are granted to

users (Guillet 1987c). Permission for use of water is granted in the
descending order of domestic usage, animal husbandry, agriculture,
hydroelectric power, industry, and mining (Guillet 1992). Farmers
are advised of what day their particular branch canal (rama) will be
provided with water (Hatch 1976), and they must determine their
specific needs according to the availability of water (Farrington

1985). It is a common practice for a single household to control a
branch canal, while many households control a main canal (Brush
and Guillet 1985). This type of water management is a far cry from

Pre-Hispanic days when, even during dire times, water was doled
out to everyone, regardless of rank or social status (de la Vega,

1989).


Development of Agriculture
Why did humans abandon nomadic hunting and gathering or
sedentary fishing lifestyles in favor of a new sedentary agricultural
life style? Boserup (1965) proposes that the development of
agriculture was the result of population pressure (see also Patterson
1973) which necessitated the creation of a more prolific system of
food production (see Carneiro 1970). It is generally agreed that







84
population density is a crucial factor for giving impetus to the

intensification of agriculture because it is usually the number of
people residing in a particular area that determines the necessary

level of food production. By about 1 A.D., population increase and
social demand in the Moche Valley possibly caused an expansion of

arable land (Farrington 1985:648). Based on her studies, Boserup
suggests that labor-intensive irrigation allowed for a more intensive

system of land use, "multi-cropping," which would increase the
amount of arable land and raise crop yields, thereby increasing the

carrying capacity of the land (1965:39). However, others maintain
that multi-cropping "appears to have been practiced only sparingly
in the prehistoric world" because crop varieties which allow a

traditional farmer to produce more than one crop per year have
only been recently developed (Farrington 1980:288).
Sauer (1952) thought that agriculture on the desert coast of

South America derived from elsewhere because the environment
demanded the advanced skills of irrigation. He believed that the
northwest coast of South America was the likeliest place to find the

origins of agriculture because of its abundant aquatic and riparian
life and fertile land. This region provided a sheltered basin with

the "proper balance of self-containedness and outside contact"
(1952:42). He may have been in error with these statements, but
he was, however, slightly avant garde when he stated, "sedentary
fishing people perhaps commenced the cultivation of plants and
became the first domesticators of plants and animals" (1952:103;
see also Moseley 1975a, 1992; Moseley and Feldman 1988).







85
Social Change Associated with Agriculture
With the advent of irrigation agriculture, a number important
social changes occurred. Agriculture allowed for a stable, improved
diet which in turn created a greater concentration of people,

transforming primitive societies into complex social/political
structures (Kosok 1942). These structures included a more efficient

social organization and a concomitant expanding power over people
and, especially, the control of labor.
According to Wittfogel (1957), ancient states arose and gained

despotic control of dense populations because of the control of

water in arid regions. In many hydraulic societies, the state
retained control over the private property owners by keeping them
disorganized and impotent (1957:3-4). Irrigation farming always
requires more physical labor than does dry farming because

controlling large amounts of water through channelizing requires
some type of direct authority that subjugates many people

(1957:17). Therefore, "effective management of irrigation works
requires an organizational web that covers the whole or, at least,
the dynamic core of a country's population" (1957:27).

Carneiro (1970), who advocates environmental
circumscription as the cause for the origin of the state, sees the
many, short, narrow valleys of the Peruvian coast as a classic
example of what he champions. Each valley is "backed by
mountains, fronted by the sea, and flanked on either side by desert
as dry as any in the world" (1970:735). As the size of autonomous
villages grew, the population would fission and move to other
usable land. When there was no more available land, agriculture







86
had to intensify, and previously unusable land was brought under

cultivation by means of terracing and irrigation (1970:735). With
increasing population pressure, conflicts for control ensued, and the
conquered people usually would be politically subjugated.
Wittfogel's theory and, perhaps, also, Carneiro's theory might

be true for some coastal areas of the Peru, but, in general, they may
not be true for other areas of Peru. According to Guillet (1990)

there was no despotism on the Central Coast of Peru, even though
there were centralized hydraulic systems with bureaucracies.
Further, in the Peruvian highlands, there were both small-scale
village or inter-village irrigation systems (1990:7) where water

resources, i.e. rivers, springs, and seeps, as well as land resources,
were collectively owned and operated by an ayllu--a corporate,
endogamous, hierarchical descent group (Brush 1977; Moseley
1992; Denevan 1987). There is no evidence that a more elaborate
system beyond the traditional ayllu was necessary to effectively

manage highland agricultural systems (Erickson 1987).
"Recent literature in Andean archaeology and ethnohistory
asserts the dominance of local kin groups in the organization of
agricultural production rather than supracommunity state
authority" (Kolata 1991:99). Water is distributed according to
custom by the people who assembled at the distribution points, not
according to some despotic control (Mitchell 1977:50, 57). There is
further criticism of these theories because there is a lack of studies
of contemporary highland communities in Peru and there has been
too much focus on coastal irrigated agriculture (Mitchell 1977).







87
In southern Peru, there were independent coastal populations,
such as the Ica and Chiribaya, which maintained control over their
water resources and never reached a social organization level
beyond that of a polity. Rowe (1963) explains that in the Ica
Valley, large cities came first, and only later were there major
irrigation canals. He says that it is very difficult to argue for any
relationship between irrigation and the development of cities
(1963:20). Lanning (1967) states that we cannot say that irrigation
led to the centralization of authority, but rather that once authority
was centralized, then it became possible to build and maintain

irrigation systems. Thus, irrigation was a product of civilization, not
a cause of it (1967:181-182).
Whether the society is classified as a state or polity, the social
organization and control of a society dependent on either a small-
or large-scale irrigation system remains basically the same. There
exists a controlling body that directs the construction of terraces,
fields, and irrigation canals, regulates the distribution of water, sets
production quotas, and determines the planting and harvests cycles
(Harris 1975).
Now that the stage was set for large-scale irrigation projects,
agriculture expanded into heretofore undeveloped and unoccupied
areas, such as the hyperarid coast and the steep Andean slopes
(Moseley 1992). Not only the vast tracts of abandoned agricultural
works, but also the impressive number of earthen and stone
mounds and pyramids remaining on the Peruvian landscape are all
mute testimonies to the amount of human labor that was released
from other pursuits by the accession of agriculture.




Full Text
IMPACT OF A FOURTEENTH CENTURY EL NIÑO FLOOD
ON AN INDIGENOUS POPULATION NEAR ILO, PERU
BY
DENNIS RAY SATTERLEE
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1993
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA LIBRARIES

Copyright © 1993
by
Dennis Ray Satterlee

To Carole (D.L.)--The Wind Beneath My Wings

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
A dissertation is large undertaking which can never be
accomplished by a single individual. Many important contributions
were made to this study by a number of people, and I wish to extend
to each of them my most heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation.
I wish to thank all my Peruvian friends who either directly
helped me in the field or who graciously imparted knowledge about
Peruvian prehistory. In particular I am indebted to some of my
fellow Programa Contisuyu members, Shawn Penmann, Rick Reycraft,
Bruce Owen, David Jessup, Elva Torres, Nené Lozada, and Jorge Tapia,
who help to make fieldwork pleasurable, most of the time. Special
thanks go to Dr. Karen Wise, curator at the Los Angeles Natural
History Museum, not only for the use of her slides of Miraflores
Quebrada in making some figures used in Chapter 5, but also because
she is a very good archaeologist and helpful friend. I also wish to
thank the other Peruvians, Walter, Helbert, and Felipe, who helped
me in the field, and who were always kind to the large Gringo who
speaks the not-so-good Spanish.
I would be remiss if I did not generously thank the personnel
of S.P.C.C., such as Ernie, Wayne, Ralph, Eduardo at Campamentos,
and Rick, and a myriad of other unknown personnel who do the
fabrication of anything that we need, and who also perform the
maintenance on our venerable field vehicles.
I wish to thank a few of my fellow UF graduate students who
helped me, and who took the time to listen to me. In particular, I
IV

want to thank Tom Eubanks, who was always a pleasure to be
associated with, and who helped me immensely in learning the
Illustrator computer program which I use to make my maps, etc.
Also some helpful suggestions were made from time to time by Steve
Kryzton. I wish to thank Greg Smith for being one of the most
friendly graduate students in the UF anthropology department. I
wish to thank George Avery and Ryan Wheeler, who were always
willing to help when any was needed. Special thanks go to the
"Maestro," Prof. Michael E. Moseley, for being my major professor for
these last four years and helping me to realize my life-time dream of
becoming a real archaeologist.
A number of figures were adapted from the works of others
including the following: Figure 1-5 was adapted from Clement and
Moseley 1991; Figure 2-2 was adapted from Dillon 1985; Figure 2-3
was adapted from S.P.C.C. 1985; Figure 3-2 was adapted from
Moseley 1992; Figure 3-5 was adapted from Silgado 1978; Figures 5-
14 and 7-26 were adapted from original drawings made by Nikki
Clark, with additional interpretations by Michael E. Moseley and
Jorge Tapia. Figures 7-11 and 7-12 were adapted from original field
drawings made by Karen Wise and myself in 1990. Of course, any
errors in translations and interpretations are solely my
responsibility.
Lastly, I wish to thank profusely Carole, my wife and chief field
assistant, for enduring the hardships and the loneliness while I was
in Florida and in Peru doing field work. It was not an easy task for
either of us.
v

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS i v
ABSTRACT xii
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Purpose of Study 1
Physical Setting 5
Far-Southern Peru 5
The Coastal Quebradas 9
Introduction 9
Catchment Area 1 1
Carrizal Quebrada 1 2
Total Agricultural Area 12
Settlement Size 1 3
Miraflores Quebrada 13
Agricultural Area 13
Settlement Size 1 4
Pocoma Quebrada 1 4
Agricultural Area 14
Settlement Size 1 5
Chapter Summaries 15
2 EL NINO-SOUTHERN OSCILLATION 1 5
Introduction 2 0
Background Information 2 3
The Cause of El Niños 2 4
The Peruvian (Humboldt) Current 2 7
Southern Oscillation 2 9
Climatic Changes Associated with ENSOs 3 0
Exceptional Rainfall 3 0
Drought Conditions 3 3
Correlations Between Volcanic Activity and
El Niño Phenomena 3 4
vi

Correlation Between Global Warming and
the Frequency of El Niño 3 6
Effects of Strong El Niños 3 7
Flooding 3 8
Disease and Pestilence 4 1
Impact on Coastal Agriculture 4 3
Impact on Highland Agriculture 4 4
Domesticated Animals 4 5
Marine Life 4 6
Guano Birds 4 9
Economic Impact 5 0
Positive Consequences of an El Niño Event 5 1
Lomas 5 1
Applying Modern El Niño Data to
Prehistoric Settings 5 3
3 ARCHAEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND 5 6
Initial Period 5 6
Early Horizon 5 7
Early Intermediate Period 5 9
Middle Horizon 5 9
Late Intermediate Period 6 0
Cultural History of the Ilo Region 6 5
Lithic Period 6 5
Preceramic Period 6 7
Initial Period 6 8
Early Horizon 6 9
Early Intermediate Period 7 0
Middle Horizon 7 1
Late Intermediate Period 7 2
Intensification and Development of
Irrigated Agriculture 7 6
Introduction 7 6
Water Management 8 3
Development of Agriculture 8 3
Social Change Associated with Agriculture 8 5
Motivating Factors for the Development
of Agriculture 8 8
Advantages of Agricultural Terracing 8 9
Use of Fertilizers 9 0
Risk Management 9 1
vii

Contribution of Agriculture to the Prehistoric Diet 9 5
Religion and Agriculture 9 6
Background 9 6
Role of the Gods in Agriculture 9 7
Adoration of Huacas 9 8
Oracles and Religious Centers 102
Environmental Stress 109
Constant Stress 109
Tectonics 1 1 0
Earthquakes 1 1 1
Tectonic Uplift 1 1 6
Volcanic Eruptions 117
El Niño Rains and Floods 1 2 0
Flood Studies Conducted in Peru 125
Introduction 1 25
Previous Flood Studies 12 5
The Prehistoric Flood Record in Northern Peru 127
The Prehistoric Flood Record in the Ilo Valley and
in the Coastal Quebradas Near Ilo,
Far-Southern Peru 130
Conclusions 13 7
4 METHODS 140
Introduction 1 40
Field Survey 141
Unit Excavations 143
Trenches 1 4 4
Shovel Testing 146
Unit Profiles and Floor Plans 1 4 8
Quebrada Geologic Columns 150
Mapping 1 52
Laboratory Analysis 153
Recovery of Carbon 15 3
Computer Methods 1 5 4
Creating Computer Maps, Profiles, and
Illustrations 1 54
Producing a Three Dimensional Model of the
Ilo Valley 156
Discussion 160
Vlll

5 SITE EXCAVATIONS
163
Introduction 1 6 3
Choosing the Locations of Units 164
Carrizal Quebrada 1 6 4
Miraflores Quebrada 169
Pocoma Quebrada 171
Excavations at Carrizal Quebrada 173
Introduction 1 7 3
Location and Descriptions of Units 173
Location and Descriptions of Geologic Columns 1 7 8
Location and Description of the Prehistoric Canal.... 18 2
Agricultural Terraces 18 3
Shovel Testing at Carrizal Quebrada 185
Introduction 18 5
Location and Description of the Shovel Tests 185
Cultural Area North of the Carrizal Quebrada 187
Excavations at Miraflores Quebrada 188
Introduction 1 8 8
Sunken Features at Miraflores Quebrada 188
Location and Description of Units and
Geologic Columns 193
Survey of the Upper Miraflores Quebrada 197
Excavations at Pocoma Quebrada 199
Introduction 1 99
Location and Description of Units and Profiles 199
Location and Description of Shovel Tests 203
Prehistoric Terraces 205
1982-83 Run-off Channel 205
Irrigation Canals 2 06
Geologic Columns 2 07
Location and Description of Shovel Tests 208
Investigations in the Ilo Valley 2 1 1
Introduction 2 1 1
The Ilo Valley Flood Sequence 2 1 1
Agricultural Terraces 212
What do Excavations Indicate about the
Flood Severity? 213
Introduction 2 1 3
Impact at Carrizal Quebrada 213
Impact at Miraflores Quebrada 216
Impact at Pocoma Quebrada 217
ix

Impact in the Ilo Valley 2 1 8
Evidence of the Survival or the Demise of
The Chiribaya 2 2 0
Post-Miraflores Cultural Activity 2 20
Carrizal Quebrada 2 2 0
Pocoma Quebrada 2 21
The Ilo Valley 222
Irrigated Agricultural in the Study Area 2 24
Introduction 224
Types of Terraces Used in the Study Area 224
Types of Canals Used in the Study Area 227
Irrigation Reservoirs 22 8
Discussion 229
6 EXCAVATED DATA 1 9 1
Introduction 23 1
Types and Quantities of Material Expected from
Each Locality 23 1
Excavated Data from the Carrizal Quebrada 23 3
Excavated Data from the Miraflores 24 3
Excavated Data from Pocoma Quebrada 2 69
What Recovered Artifacts Indicate about the
Strength of the Flood 27 7
What Recovered Artifacts Indicate about a
Cultural Response or Change Caused by the Impact
of the Miraflores Flood 28 5
Why were the Agricultural Terraces near Ilo
Abandoned 2 8 6
7 PROFILE AND COLUMN DATA 2 9 2
Introduction 292
Carrizal Quebrada 2 9 2
Unit Profiles 29 2
Quebrada Geologic Columns 299
Miraflores Quebrada 301
Unit Profiles 3 0 1
Quebrada Geologic Columns 3 1 8
Pocoma Quebrada 3 2 3
Unit Profiles 3 2 3
Canal Profiles 3 27
x

Quebrada Geologic Columns 335
Ilo Valley 3 37
Tomb Site Stratigraphic Profile 3 37
Planting Surface #1 3 4 0
Canal Trench 3 40
Geologic Column #1 3 43
Discussion 346
8 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND
RECOMMENDATIONS 3 4 9
Calculating the Volume and Speed of the Miraflores
Flood at the Miraflores Quebrada 349
Dating the Miraflores Flood 35 1
Flood Impact on the Agricultural System 35 3
Declining Demographics 3 5 4
Impact on the Chiribaya Culture 355
Cultural Responses to the Miraflores Flood 3 57
Emigration into the Ilo Area after
the Miraflores Flood 3 5 8
Cultural Change Resulting from Natural Disaster 359
Recommendations for Future Investigations 3 60
REFERENCES 3 62
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 3 99
xi

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
IMPACT OF A FOURTEENTH CENTURY EL NIÑO FLOOD
ON AN INDIGENOUS POPULATION NEAR ILO, PERU
By
DENNIS RAY SATTERLEE
December, 1993
Chairman: Professor Michael Moseley
Major Department: Anthropology
A strong El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the only natural
phenomenon which can slow the earth's rotation and disrupt global
climate and rainfall patterns for a year or more, potentially altering a
culture's subsistence base. Some of these El Niños are Pan-Andean
catastrophes that have stochastically occurred for approximately
5,000 years. If a strong El Niño flood wrecks havoc upon the modern
population along the Peruvian littoral, the possible consequences of
an even stronger event could have been devastating to the
prehistoric indigenous populations of southern Peru.
This dissertation is based on my investigations of the largest,
late prehistoric El Niño flood yet identified in the southern Andes of
Peru. The research was conducted in three coastal quebradas—
normally dry drainages—and in the Ilo Valley near the modern
fishing port of Ilo, Peru (17° S. Lat.) during the summers of 1990-
1992.
Xll

The focus here is to assess the impact of this inordinately large
El Niño flood (ca. 1350 A.D.) on the irrigated agrarian systems and
settlements located within the study area and to analyze the stress
upon the resident Chiribaya Culture (ca. 1000-1350 A.D.). The
purpose was to test the hypothesis that the Miraflores Flood had
ultimately led to the demise of this culture.
Analysis of the frequencies of the recovered data support my
original hypothesis. Investigations also led to the identification of a
new phenomenon, which I have called a "SCDE" (Synergistically
Coupled Destructive Event), which combines the forces of seismic
events and El Niño floods into a whole, that far exceeds the sum of its
parts in destructive power. In this case, a prehistoric SCDE must
have formed a massive wall of mud five to six meters high, which
roared down the mountains at 113 k.p.h., totally obliterating the
Chiribaya Culture at the Miraflores Quebrada as it swept every trace
of their village into the Pacific Ocean. In other areas, it so crippled
their infrastructure of agricultural terraces and irrigation canals that
the Chiribaya who managed to survive the SCDE disaster, sank into a
permanent cultural decline.
xm

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of a 14th
century flood event on the agricultural infrastructure of the
prehistoric indigenous population of the Chiribaya Culture and to test
the hypothesis that this flood ultimately led to the demise of the
Chiribaya Culture of the Osmore Drainage in extreme southern Peru
(Figure 1-1). This group occupied and farmed three coastal
quebradas (normally dry valleys) of Carrizal, Miraflores, and Pocoma,
and the Ilo Valley from about 1000-1350 A.D. In order to discover
evidence of this enormous flood event, which occurred about 1350
A.D. (PITT 0948), research was conducted from 1990-1992. The
study area in southern Peru included the 3 quebradas, located North
of the modern fishing port of Ilo and the Ilo Valley, located 5 km
North of this same city at 17° S. Lat. (Figure 1-2)
The Chiribaya were an autonomous group (Jessup 1991) which
used available river and spring flow to irrigate terraced fields in the
research area. This same group constructed a 9 km-long canal which
was used to irrigate the largest agricultural system ever built in the
lower Ilo Valley (Satterlee 1991; Figure 1-3). Both of these areas
demonstrate the dramatic impact of the same prehistoric flood event
on the Chiribaya Culture.
1

2
Figure 1-1: Osmore Drainage in Extreme Southern Peru

3
Figure 1-2: The lio Coastline

4
Quebrada
Osmore
River
D.R.S. 1993
Figure 1-3: Chiribaya Irrigated Agricultural System-Ilo Valley

5
Physical Setting
Extreme Southern Peru
Peru is located on the coast of South America, and it shares
common borders with Columbia and Ecuador to the north, with Brazil
and Bolivia to the east, and with Argentina and Chile to the south
(Figure 1-1). Although the Pacific littoral of Peru is the driest desert
in the New World (Lettau and Lettau 1978), it was home to some of
the most advanced civilizations in the Western Hemisphere, including
the Moche, Chimu, and the Inka.
In the dry altiplano of the southern Andes, the Tiwanaku
Empire held sway over most of the region for almost an entire
millennium. About 70 km from the study area, near Moquegua,
several outlying settlements with Tiwanaku affiliations have been
identified and studied (Goldstein 1989).
Peru is a country with ecological extremes. Much of it can be
divided into three distinct zones, i.e. the western dry coastal desert
with intermittent oases; the lush, humid tropical lowlands to the east;
and the intensely cold, high altiplano ringed by the Andean
Cordillera. These areas were occupied by scattered, mostly
autonomous, indigenous communities, many of which interacted
while practicing Ecological Complementarity (verticality), i.e. the
exchange of products between the different zones where only certain
crops could be grown because of a difference in the altitude. (Murra
1978; Stanish 1992).
Extreme southern Peru is generally known as the coasts of the
Departments of Moquequa and Tacna, which lie between the Tambo
and Izapa Valleys—16°30'-18°30' South Latitude and 69°30'-72° East

6
Longitude. It is an area limited to the north by the highlands of
Arequipa and to the south by the Chilean border. It is bounded by
the Pacific Ocean on the west and by the high eastern Cordillera of
the Andes on the east. Archaeologically, this area has been one of
the least known in all of Peru (Vescelius 1960).
Much of this region was home to the Chiribaya Culture between
the years of 1000-1350 A.D. Through a bit of serendipity, some of
the Chiribaya remains were uncovered by the Tsunami of 1868, but
it was not until 1956 that the Chiribaya Culture was first identified
by Humberto Ghersi Berrera (1956). Ghersi excavated seven
unlooted tombs in the cemetery that is now called "Chiribaya Baja,"
and he located several Chiribaya sites between the valley and the
mouth of the Ilo River (1956:90). Typical grave goods found were
decorated ceramics, woven sacks containing grain, food stuffs, herbs,
and coca leaves, panpipes, and some textiles (1956:107-110).
The territory from 500 m to 2,500 m of the Chiribaya
homeland is characterized, by some, as being unhealthy because
maladies, such as Uta (a form of leishmaniasis), Verruga (weeping
skin ulcers), goiter, and malaria are often found at these elevations
(Belan 1981). Despite the presence of these diseases, cultural
occupation extended from the edge of the Pacific coast up to an
elevation of 2,500 m, but the majority of Chiribaya artifacts are
found from sea level up to 1,000 m (1981:23; Stanish 1992).
Situated in the southern Andes, the Osmore Drainage (Figure 1-
4), which includes the upvalley Moquegua River and the downvalley
Ilo River, is a long, narrow valley (125 x 25 km) that covers slightly

7
(Note: Universal Transverse Mercator coordinates in meters)
Figure 1-4: Average Annual Precipitation-Osmore Drainage

8
less that 3,500 km2 with a population of about 70,000 (Rice and
Watanabe 1989). The geology of the drainage, like other Peruvian
coastal valleys, is composed of sedimentary, metamorphic, and
igneous rocks dating from the Cenozoic eras (McCreary and Koretsky
1966). The drainage can be conveniently divided into three sections
according to the highly variable precipitation influenced by a change
in altitude. While most of the central and northern coasts of Peru
receive an annual rainfall varying from 15-40 mm (Moore 1991:29),
the coast at Ilo is somewhat drier and receives annual rainfall of only
5 mm (McCreary and Koretsky 1966). In the Moquegua region (1400
m), the average rainfall increases to 100 mm. It is only at 3,900 m
and above that the precipitation is 250 mm or more (ONERN 1976;
S.P.C.C. 1985; Figure 1-4).
The Osmore River begins its flow as the Rio Asana at 5,100 m.
At Moquegua other smaller tributaries join to form the larger Rio
Moquegua. The lower 20 km of the river system is the spring-fed
Rio Ilo that is separated from the upper Moquegua Drainage by 35
km of dry river channel because the upper river flow disappears
underground at a higher elevation of about 1200 m. Only during the
years of particularly heavy highland precipitation does the lower Ilo
channel experience river flow, which helps to recharge the local
aquifer and to source seeps and springs. The last 20 km of the
drainage system has sparse natural vegetation and some feral cotton,
but the coastline is mostly devoid of any natural vegetation.
Scientific research began in Peru in the early 1900s (Uhle
1910), but until the early 1980s, when the Programa Contisuyu
began its interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research program in

9
the environs surrounding Ilo, little was known about far-southern
Peru. Perhaps this area was neglected because it lacks the
sometimes spectacular monumental architecture that is so
prominently visible along much of the central and northern coasts of
Peru. Although lacking in free-standing prehistoric architecture, this
region is rife with archaeological sites.
The Coastal Quebradas
Introduction
In any desert environment, a reliable water source is the
primary element needed to support agriculture. However, in the
study area, the Carrizal springs supply the only regular freshwater
source in the desert until one reaches the Tambo Valley, 8 km to the
north (Bawden 1990). Today the quebrada contains a spring source
that is 20+ meters lower in elevation than it was during the early
Spanish Colonial Period (Figure 1-5; Clement and Moseley 1991). At
the Miraflores Quebrada, a limited amount of irrigation water is
pumped from a small reservoir. At the Pocoma Quebrada, the
intermittent trickle of spring water is collected in a shallow concrete
tank. Since the water supply at any of the coastal quebradas is
meager, in order to provide sufficient irrigation water, it now must
be stored in a reservoir in order to create enough volume and
pressure to reach the scant remaining olive trees located downslope.

10
Figure 1-5: Water Table Drop at Carrizal Springs

11
Catchment Area
The "catchment" of a valley or quebrada is the total area of the
watershed which collects rainfall and funnels it into the lower
reaches of the valley or quebrada. The area of the catchment needs
to be at least 15 times greater than the area which the water
irrigates. Even then, this areal proportion is barely large enough to
supply ample runoff for agrarian surfaces (Doolittle 1990:34). Unlike
some of the northern valleys of Peru, which have permanent flowing
rivers that were traditionally diverted from one river valley to
another to increase the amount of water for agricultural purposes
(Ortloff et al. 1982), far-southern Peru lacks such resources.
Fortunately in some areas of the Ilo Valley and in the coastal
quebradas there are springs, which can be used to augment
whatever ephemeral flow came from the higher regions around
Moquegua or above.
After some investigating, it was soon discovered that there
were insufficient aerial photographs locally available to the author
which could provide the coverage needed to calculate the total
catchment area for the individual quebradas. It was hypothesized
that these figures might show some correlation between the depth of
the flood deposits found at a quebrada and the total catchment for
the quebrada. However, this idea could not be tested with the
accessible aerial photographs. Beginning with the Pocoma Quebrada,
Figure 1-2 shows that the approximate catchment for each quebrada
is about one-half of its neighbor to the south. Although the Carrizal
Quebrada has the largest catchment, the spring flow is none too great

1 2
despite the fact that the aquifer should be adequately re-charged
during each rainy season.
Carrizal Quebrada
Total Agricultural Area
The measurements of the agricultural and settlement areas
were made using a planimeter, which is an instrument that can be
used to calculate the area of a polygon of any shape. The numbers
from the vernier scale of the planimeter are squared and then
multiplied by a factor which is constant for each particular photo
scale, yielding the number of hectares within a measured area. The
accuracy of such measurements is dependent upon how closely one
follows the outline of the polygon. Any slight deviation from a path
will produce a different reading each time. Thus, several readings
are usually taken and then averaged for a more accurate result.
Since there are computer programs which will calculate both the
perimeter and the area of a polygon in microseconds, using a
planimeter is a somewhat antiquated method of measuring areas,
but, nevertheless, the results are usually quite acceptable.
Based on the analysis of aerial photography, the total land used
prehistorically for agriculture at the Carrizal Quebrada was
approximately 25.86 ha, while the modern agricultural land used for
olive cultivation accounted for 2.48 ha. Therefore, the percentage of
land used by modern agriculture is 9.6% of the prehistoric land
usage, which compares favorably with the results of a field study
conducted by Clement and Moseley (1990a and 1990b, 1991), who
concluded that the late modern agriculture accounted for only 6% of

1 3
the total land under cultivation compared prehistorical farming
activities at the Carrizal Quebrada.
Settlement Size
It was difficult to make an exact determination of the location
of the domestic areas at Carrizal because the quebrada has been
farmed by the Spanish Colonialists as well as by modern farmers.
Deciding on the extent of domestic areas was further complicated
because at least one area may have been used before and after the
Miraflores Flood. Lacking the data from house foundations or from
mortuary estimates, it is almost impossible to estimate accurately the
prehistoric native population which lived at Carrizal. Population
figures from the ethnohistorical records such as the "visitas," (e.g. San
Miguel 1567; Toledo 1570-75; Zuñiga 1562) are not too useful
because it is a known fact that the native population declined by as
much as 70-80% after the smallpox pandemic beginning in 1521
(Moseley 1992). Therefore, 1.65 ha, based on the measurements of
two separate suspected domestic areas, is probably a reasonable
estimate of the settlement size at the Carrizal Quebrada.
Miraflores Quebrada
Agricultural Area
At the Miraflores Quebrada, prehistoric agriculture
encompassed an estimated 18.49 ha, while the late modern
agriculture now covers only 8.83 ha. These figures mean that the
decrease in total agricultural usage at this quebrada is 47.8%. This
decline would seem to indicate that the total food production for the

1 4
Ilo region may have suffered substantially in the last few centuries.
However, since most of the agricultural land in these three
quebradas has been devoted entirely to olive production for over
400 years, much of the comestibles would have had to come from the
highlands, as they do today.
Settlement Size
Although the domestic terraces of the village at the Miraflores
locale are totally blanketed by flood deposits, the terraces are still
easily delineated using stereo viewing of an aerial photograph.
Furthermore, since the land was covered so completely by sediments,
this settlement is one of the few places that neither colonial nor
modern agriculture disturbed the domestic area. The settlement
here measures approximately 140 m by 140 m or 1.96 ha, which is
only slightly larger than the domestic areas at the Carrizal Quebrada.
Pocoma Quebrada
Agricultural Area
Pocoma Quebrada has the largest active olive grove for 20 km
along the coast immediately north of Ilo. There are still 15 ha of
olive trees growing here. This agricultural area still does not
compare favorably to the 29.7 ha which was used for prehistoric
agriculture. Thus, similar to the Miraflores Quebrada, the total area
under cultivation at Pocoma Quebrada has decreased by slightly over
50% since the Chiribaya people farmed this area. The most alarming
fact discovered while doing the analysis of the prehistoric and

1 5
modern cultivated areas at each quebrada was the vast difference in
the total hectares under cultivation today compared to when the
Chiribaya Culture occupied these quebradas. The most glaring
example is the very small amount of modern agriculture at the
Carrizal Quebrada, but this same pattern of less land being cultivated
through time also holds true for the other two quebradas
investigated.
Settlement Size
If all of what appears to be domestic terraces were once
occupied, then the Pocoma Quebrada would have had the largest
Chiribaya settlement, covering a total of 2.61 ha. Although there is
evidence of the Miraflores Flood even at this highly elevated area
(compared to the other two quebradas), the impact of the Miraflores
Flood may not have affected the Chiribaya living here as directly or
severely as it did elsewhere.
Chapter Summaries
Chapter 2 begins by discussing the causes of the global-
impacting weather phenomenon known as the El Niño-Southern
Oscillation (ENSO) and the associated changes in climatic regimes,
such as torrential rains and exceptional drought. Further discussion
includes the possible correlations between volcanic eruptions and the
onset of an ENSO and between global warming and the frequency of

1 6
ENSOs. Also considered are the often severe effects of El Niño
flooding on the Peruvian people, coastal and highland agriculture,
domestic herding activities, and marine life. In conjunction with
these adverse effects, the economic impact on Peru's predominant
capital-generating enterprise, commercial fishing, and the related
industry of fishmeal production is discussed. In an effort to offset
some of the intense negativism, the positive consequences of a strong
El Niño are also mentioned. The final topic discussed is the
application of modern data in a prehistoric milieu.
Chapter 3 begins with a brief synopsis of each of the Periods
and Horizons that are associated with significant cultural changes and
achievements in Peruvian Prehistory. A good portion of this chapter
is devoted to the important and often debated topic of the
intensification and development of irrigated agriculture. Social
changes associated with agriculture are also discussed. Some of the
motivating factors which are credited with giving impetus to the
development of agriculture are examined. The advantages of
agricultural terracing, the use of fertilizers, and risk management, all
of which are pertinent topics related to farming in the often hostile
Peruvian environment, are also discussed. Discussion likewise
includes how the agriculture-based prehistoric diet of Peru compares
to the modern Peruvian diet. The difference between traditional and
modern methods of water management are explored. A number of
topics closely aligned with the relationship between religion and
agriculture, such as the role of the gods in agriculture and oracles
and religious centers, are investigated at length. A delineation of
important environmental factors, including constant stresses and

1 7
periodic stresses, which adversely affect agriculture, is given. The
final topics considered in this chapter are the previous flood studies
conducted in Peru, the general prehistoric flood record in Peru, and
the specific prehistoric flood record in the study areas of the
Osmore/Ilo Valley and the coastal quebradas.
Chapter 4 discusses the methods used during the three field
seasons in Peru. Field survey was used to search for potential sites
and to analyze the flood impact to the domestic and agricultural
areas. Excavation techniques, such as unit excavations, trenches, and
shovel testing are discussed. Methods used to prepare the geologic
columns, unit profiles, and canal cross sections for the transfer of
pertinent features and information to graph paper are discussed.
The methods for creating maps which contained the locations of
units, trenches, and geologic columns are outlined. Laboratory
techniques used to process materials from the field and their
analysis are also explained. Methods used to recover carbon for 14C
dating are discussed. The final topics considered are the techniques
used in creating computer maps, profiles, and illustrations from field
drawings for inclusion in this dissertation.
Chapter 5 discusses a number of important aspects of my field
work influencing decision making and interpretations. For example,
the criteria for choosing the location of units and geologic columns is
outlined. A brief description of the location of units, columns, and
trenches and other pertinent data are given. What the excavations
indicate about the severity of the Miraflores and Chuza Floods is
discussed. Also discussed is what the archaeological record suggests

1 8
concerning the post-flood survival or demise of the Chiribaya people
who occupied the study area.
Chapter 6 begins by discussing the types and quantities of
cultural materials which could be expected to be found at each
investigated locality. The main focus of this chapter are the data
contained in the tables listing the artifactual materials recovered
from each level of a particular unit, feature, geologic column, or
midden. The total sherd distribution from each quebrada, the sherd
distribution from the individual floods, and the sherd weight
distribution per natural strata are analyzed in order to infer the
relative strengths of the two flood episodes and the relative flood
impact at each location. Several hypotheses are offered as possible
explanations for the existing discrepancies in the sherd distributions.
Finally, a discussion of the possible reasons for why the agricultural
terraces near Ilo, Peru, were abandoned is presented.
Chapter 7 presents an analysis of the unit profiles and geologic
columns. These data are analyzed to determine the composition of
the Chuza and Miraflores Floods. The flood record and the
stratigraphy are scrutinized to assess the consistency of the flood
deposits found in the individual quebradas. Finally a discussion is
presented concerning the depths of the flood deposition at each
quebrada and at the specific locations where units and geologic
columns are located in an effort to determine whether the deposits
were found at a uniform depth at each investigated location.
Chapter 8 presents the summaries, syntheses, and conclusions
of all the data gathered during the course of three field seasons in
far-southern Peru. These data are analyzed to estimate the overall

1 9
impact of the Miraflores flood on the Chiribaya Culture. Further
analysis includes the determination of whether or not the evidence
supports the original thesis that the impact of the Miraflores Flood
was of sufficient magnitude to destroy totally or partially the
irrigated agricultural system which was the Chiribaya subsistence
base. A scenario of a possible response by the Chiribaya people in
the months following the flood devastation is presented. Possible
recommendations are made which could help to improve or modify
future flood investigations so that maximum information can be
obtained, while at the same time using the minimum of amount of
field time and spending the least amount of money on field
assistants.

CHAPTER 2
EL NIÑO-SOUTHERN OSCILLATION
Introduction
Few, if any, natural phenomena have the global impact of an
El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). A strong event can slow the
rotation of the earth, alter the length of day, impact global climate,
and create worldwide disasters (Salstein and Rosen 1983). Strong
ENSOs can displace normal climatic regimes, especially in the
Tropics, for periods lasting from a few months to a few years
(Rasmusson 1984:5). The very strong 1982-83 El Niño caused
record rainfall in California, severe spring flooding in the northern
United States, record droughts in Africa (the worst of the century)
and Australia, unusual wintertime conditions as far apart as the
U.S.A. and New Zealand (Rasmusson 1984), and devastating rains
and flooding along the western coast of South America (Caviedes
1984; Glantz, 1984; Tapley and Waylen 1989; Waylen and Caviedes
1986). This extraordinary event was the most prolonged and
catastrophic El Niño ever recorded, surpassing the great El Niños of
1925 and 1891 (Rasmusson 1984:11; Glantz 1984). Although a
strong El Niño affects humanity worldwide, the devastation is often
most apparent along the Peruvian littoral (Figure 2-1). Here the
torrential rains cross one of the driest deserts in the world (Lettau
and Lettau 1978) and descend one of the steepest watersheds
found anywhere—falling from 6,000 plus meters to sea level in a
20

21
San Pedro* i
de • —
Atacama/ / Salar
r \ de Atacama
Figure 2-1: The Peruvian Littoral

22
distance of a few hundred kilometers. Thus, severe flooding, flash
floods, and immense mud slides are commonplace along the
Peruvian littoral during strong ENSO events (Glantz 1984; Arntz
1984).
The purpose of this chapter is to explore the following: the
causes of the stochastic weather phenomenon that has become
known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation; climatic changes—
exceptional rainfall and drought—associated with strong El Niños;
possible correlations between volcanic eruptions and the El Niño
phenomenon; possible correlations between global warming and
the frequency of El Niños; the effects of the ENSO-induced torrential
rains and flooding; the subsequent impact on the Peruvian
population, agriculture (both coastal and highland), domesticated
herd animals, and marine life; economic impact; positive
consequences of an El Niño; and, finally, the application of modern
data to prehistoric settings.
Since the 1991-92 El Niño is continuing into this year (Sonja
Guillen, personal communication 1993), this study of an extremely
large Prehistoric event may help us better understand that some
large 20th century ENSOs, which are viewed as very severe, are
possibly but a harbinger of what may lie ahead for the inhabitants
of the Peruvian coastline since there seems to be an increase in
Strong to Very Strong events in the last two centuries based on
historical records (Table 2-1).

23
Background Information
Because of the Colonial Spanish's penchant for keeping
administration and litigation records, we have accounts of extreme
rainfall and flooding in Peru as early as 1541 (Quinn et al. 1986).
The selected El Niños presented in Table 2-1 are only those strong
events that have a high confidence rating as determined by Quinn,
et al., through a literature search of Spanish Colonial documents,
early Spanish chroniclers and clerics, and other non-Hispanic,
historical sources concerning Peru.
Table 2-1: Strong Historical El Niño Events
YEAR
STRENGTH
YEAR
STRENGTH
YEAR
STRENGTH
1541
S
1728
VS
1899-00
S
1552
S
1791
VS
1911-12
S
1567-68
S
1803-04
Sf
1917
S
1578
VS
1828
VS
1925-26
VS
1607
S
1844-45
VS+
1932
S
1624
Sf
1871
Sf
1940-41
s
1652
Sf
1877-78
vs
1957-58
s
1701
s+
1884
Sf
1972-73
s
1720
Sf
1891
vs
1982-83
vs
(Note: S=Strong; VS=Very Strong)

Although there has been information available for centuries
concerning devastating Niño floods along the Peruvian coast, and
good records exist for the 1891 event (Murphy 1926), it was not
until the 1970s that evidence for strong events and their effects
was widely presented to the public. Prior to this date, media
coverage of the El Niño phenomenon, in any form, was virtually
non-existent because the 1957-58 event was little known outside
of Peruvian newspaper accounts, but the 1972-73 El Niño was the
first to receive a great deal of worldwide attention because of the
widespread droughts in West and East Africa, Ethiopia, the Soviet
Union, Australia, and Central America that were associated with
this perturbation (Glantz 1984:15-16). Because of the interest in
this event, the recent media coverage given to the 1982-83 El Niño
was so extensive that it might be believed by some that El Niños
are 20th century weather phenomena. However, since 1979 (Nials
et al.) El Niño flooding has been studied archaeologically, and recent
geoarchaeological evidence suggests that the Peruvian desert coast
has experienced massive flooding from cataclysmic El Niño rains for
about 5,000 years (Sandweiss 1986; Rollins et al. 1986).
The Cause of El Niños
"The term El Niño (Little Christ Child) was coined long ago by
Peruvian fishermen who witnessed the annual warming of the
coastal waters just after Christmas" (Dillon 1985:6). An El Niño is,
among other things, the appearance of uncommonly warm water
along the coasts of Ecuador and Peru, which causes disastrous
ecological and economic consequences. Although its effects have

25
been traced at least as far as the western equatorial Pacific, the
manifestations of El Niños are especially dramatic along the
Peruvian littoral (Smith 1983). This phenomenon, which can
persist for 6 to 18 months (Thayer and Barber 1984), is much more
involved than the simple occurrence of unusually warm water
along the South American strand.
Before the actual onset of an El Niño, there are stronger than
average easterlies in the western equatorial Pacific for at least 18
months. These winds tend to move water from the eastern Pacific
toward the West as indicated by (a) in Figure 2-2, and
consequently the sea level is usually higher in the West than in the
East (Cane 1983). In September or October the easterlies begin to
diminish along the equator west of the International Date Line, and
subsequently this "dome" of warm water in the central Pacific,
which is 2-3 meters higher than in the eastern Pacific, "sloshes
back east colliding with Peru and overriding the cold Peruvian
(Humboldt) Current" (also known as the South Equatorial Current)
(Feldman 1983:17; (b) in Figure 2-2). At the same time, the
thermocline in the West is depressed and becomes deeper than
average by as much as 50 meters or more and the equatorial
upwelling is, also, reduced (Smith 1983). Both local and remote
responses to the wind contribute to rises in both sea level and sea-
surface temperatures (SST) that are characteristic of El Niño (Cane
and Zebiak 1985).
In the fall of the year preceding the 1983 Niño, SST
anomalies varied from 3.5°C to 8°C above normal along the coast of

to
C'
Figure 2-2: Ocean Currents during a Strong ENSO

27
Peru. For example, at Callao the SST increased 2°C per month for
the last third of 1982 (Cane 1983). These extremely warm waters
are carried south by the South Equatorial Current (Reverse
Humboldt Current) when its flow reverses directions during an
ENSO event as indicated by (c) in Figure 2-2.
After an actual Niño event, the anomalies slowly return to a
normal condition, but SST anomalies lag behind their atmospheric
counterparts. "This is consistent with the ocean's 'thermal inertia'
and immense capacity for the storage of energy" (Ropelewski
1984:592). Nevertheless, after another slight warming beginning
in the following December and continuing into the next year, the
SST falls and often is cooler than normal, and the waters again
resume their normal westerly flow.
The Peruvian (Humboldt) Current
Interacting with the El Niño Current, also known as the
Equatorial Countercurrent, is the Peruvian (Humboldt) Current, i.e.
South Equatorial Current, which is a layer of water driven by the
wind northward toward the equator as indicated by (c) and (b) in
Figure 2-2. Averaging 2.8°C cooler than other waters of the same
latitude (Mason 1957), the Peruvian Current is an integral part of
the weather system along the Peruvian coast because it cools the
air and causes rain to fall off-shore, thus perpetuating the desert
conditions on land. It also creates the persistent garúa (fog and
mist) along the coast during the winter in the Southern
Hemisphere. As early as 1555 A.D., Augustin de Zarate (1965)
noted the great coolness of the sea along the Peruvian coast.

28
However, it was the prolific author and great naturalist Alexander
von Humboldt, after whom the current is named, who brought vital
attention to the current in his early 19th century writings. He
noted that the coastal waters of Peru were cooler than the air, and,
therefore, the water must cool the air and not vice versa as was
suggested earlier (Humboldt 1818; Merriman 1955).
Interacting with the Humboldt Current is the Peruvian
Undercurrent, which flows just below the Humboldt Current along
the coast southeastward toward the South Pole [see (d) in Figure 2-
2]. This action supplies the cooler water and nutrients that upwell
along the coast of central Peru (Smith 1983), which, in normal
years (Table 2-2), is carried North and then to the West where it
Table 2-2: Classification of Oceanic-Atmospheric Conditions
El Niño Years
N
ormal Years
Anti-El Niño Years
1925
1957
1927
1940
1956
1930
1964
1926
1965
1928
1942
1959
1937
1966
1932
1972
1929
1944
1969
1947
1967
1933
1973
1931
1945
1971
1948
1968
1939
1977
1934
1946
1975
1950
1970
1941
1978
1935
1949
1976
1951
1974
1943
1983
1936
1952
1981
1954
1979
1953
1938
1955
1982
1963
1980
(After Waylen and Caviedes 1985)

29
mixes with the warmer equatorial water. During the anti-El Niño
years, the waters are even cooler than normal. However, during El
Niño years, these processes reverse and anomalies transpire.
Southern Oscillation
Always accompanying a strong El Niño is the Southern
Oscillation, which is "a coherent pattern of pressure, temperature,
and rainfall fluctuations discovered and named by Sir Gilbert
Walker more than a half-century ago" (Rassmusson and Wallace
1983:1195). The primary manifestation of the Southern Oscillation
is an alternating change in atmospheric pressure at sea level
between the southern Pacific subtropical high and the region of low
pressure stretching from Africa to northern Australia. Other
manifestations involve fluctuations in sea-surface temperatures in
Africa, Indonesia, and northern Australia (Rassmusson and Wallace
1983).
The connection between an El Niño and the Southern
Oscillation was not identified until the 1960s by Bjerknes, who
discovered that a cycle exists where there is a positive feedback
between the ocean and the atmosphere. Stronger equatorial
easterlies increase upwelling in the West and, therefore, an east-
west temperature contrast. This difference in temperature, in turn,
increases the thermal driving of the atmosphere, thus creating
stronger easterlies. The negative phase of this cycle is an El Niño
Event.
The vacillating barometric pressures of the Southern
Oscillation, the westerly winds, the warmer than normal SST, and

30
the ocean currents all interact helping to create the anomalies of an
El Niño. The "driving force" behind these interactions is the ocean's
circulation, which plays the role of a flywheel in the climate
system, and this circulation is responsible for the extraordinary
persistence of the atmospheric anomalies from month to month or
even sometimes from season to season (Rassmusson and Wallace
1983).
Climatic Changes Associated with Strong El Niños
Exceptional Rainfall
One of the more unusual anomalies associated with an El Niño
is the inordinate amounts of rainfall that occur along the normally
hyperarid Peruvian Coast. "The result in the particular strong ENSO
event of 1982-83 was a 40- to 60-fold increase in precipitation in
the region" (Tapley and Waylen 1989:62). Some areas of northern
Peru and Ecuador received rains 1,000 per cent greater than the
15-year monthly average (Arntz 1984:36). Although the 1972-73
El Niño was not as strong, nonetheless, increases of 15- to 30-fold
in precipitation are recorded for that year.
An increase in maximum daily river runoff is, normally, a
prime indicator for the amount of precipitation an area receives.
All the rivers of the northern Peruvian coast exhibit a dramatic
increase in runoff during strong El Niño perturbations (Table 2-3).
In particular, the Piura River had a runoff 400 times its 30-year
mean in January of 1983. It should be noted that precipitation
patterns do vary somewhat from valley to valley and region to
region (Waylen and Caviedes 1984), and large river discharges can

Table 2-3: Maximum Daily Runoff of Selected Rivers in Northern
Peru, December, 1982 to May, 1983. Thirty Year Means measured
in Cubic Meters per Second.
River
Dec.
Jan.
Feb.
Mar.
Apr.
May
Chira
Max. Runoff
288.2
1 197.2
1641.9
2282.0
2437.1
2375.4
30-Yr. Mean
36.6
86.6
220.4
309.3
323.5
134.8
Piura
Max. Runoff
320.0
1314.6
1418.0
2428.4
2064.0
2473.0
30-Yr. Mean
0.5
3.6
59.8
108.2
89.7
29.9
Chicama
Max. Runoff
66.2
1 12.3
81.8
900.0
600.0
400.2
30-Yr. Mean
8.9
33.4
66.6
101.7
78.2
29.7
Moche
Max. Runoff
90.0
120.0
24.0
240.0
280.3
28.8
30-Yr. Mean
3.9
9.8
17.0
34.2
29.9
10.2
Virú
Max. Runoff
14.4
80.0
9.0
70.3
120.0
10.0
30-Yr. Mean
1.3
4.3
10.1
14.8
10.0
4.0
(After Caviedes 1984)
be misleading unless accompanied by rainfall on the coast (Quinn et
al. 1986). Nonetheless, when such massive runoffs occur,
devastating concomitant floods usually follow.
This variation in precipitation can be seen in southern Peru
where the 1993 El Niño precipitation is more than it was for 1991-
92 event. The normally dry, lower Osmore River generally flows
only briefly for one or two days in March because of highland
precipitation (Figure 2-3; Manuel Pacheco, personal communication
1990). However, the river flowed in December, 1992, and again in
January and March of 1993. The January flow was exceptionally
strong and severely damaged some of the coastal highway which

32
Figure 2-3: Average Precipitation-Osmore Drainage

runs through the town of Ilo in southern Peru (Sonja Guillen,
personal communication 1993).
As Table 2-3 clearly shows, the daily run-off from each of
these rivers swelled dramatically above the 30-year average
during the 1982-83 El Niño. When rivers increase their flow as
much as 3,600+ per cent above average in a span of a month of so,
the impact on the surrounding terrain must be enormous. In light
of the evidence, the massive coastal floods produced by such a
torrent should have caused severe damage.
Drought Conditions
While much precipitation falls along the north coast of Peru
during an El Niño, normally little rain falls along the southern coast
and little snow or rains occurs in the high altitudes of the southern
highlands. Currently, some of the most reliable data concerning
both prehistoric and modern climatic conditions come from deep,
glacial ice cores. Studies of the 1,500-year-record contained in the
ice cores from the Quelccaya Glacier in southern Peru (Figure 2-1)
demonstrate that a major dry season persisted from 920 to 1050
A.D. (Thompson et al. 1984). It was about this time that the ridged
fields around Lake Titicaca were abandoned because of severe
drought conditions (Thompson et al. 1984). The data also indicate
approximately a 30 percent reduction in precipitation in the
highlands during 1972-73 and 1982-83 events (Thompson et al.
1985). These were years with strong and very strong El Niños,
respectively (Table 2-1). Even though the 1991-92 El Niño was not
nearly as severe as the 1982-83 event, the drought conditions

34
were even more pronounced in some areas, especially in the valley
surrounding Arequipa (Lorenza Carpe Diez, personal
communication 1993).
These events seem to indicate that the pattern of copious
rainfall along the coast during ENSOs, with a corresponding dearth
of precipitation in the highlands, held true in prehistoric times as
surely as it does in modern times. This pattern should not be too
surprising since the modern climatic regime has remained
fundamentally the same for approximately 4,500 years. According
to recent evidence, there has been stochastic major flooding along
the Peruvian littoral during this time (Rollins et al. 1986).
Correlations Between Volcanic Activity and El Niño Phenomena
Strong volcanic eruptions have been proposed by some as
contributors to El Niño events—not so much as the singular cause of
an El Niño, but as an adjunct to the atmospheric and oceanographic
conditions that produce such an event. Handler (1984) has shown
that a positive correlation exists between large magnitude, low
latitude volcanic eruptions and the onset of El Niños (a negative
correlation for high latitude volcanic eruptions exists). In 1600
A.D., Huayna Putina, in the southern highlands of Peru, erupted
continually from February 19 until March 6, eclipsing the sunshine
for seven days in Arequipa (Thompson et al. 1986). Therefore, if
Handler is correct, then very possibly the disruption of the
atmosphere by the Huayna Putina eruption could have contributed
to the strong El Niño in 1607 A.D. (Table 2-1), whose flood deposits
are found throughout the study area.

There are other instances of El Niño occurrences during
or following a year with major volcanic eruptions in
tropical areas, the most recent being El Chichón during
April, 1982, in Mexico. Notably the eruption of
Krakatoa in 1883 was followed during the summer of
1884 by torrential rainfall in northern Peru, a typical
manifestation of an El Niño event. Evidence supports
that same association of El Niño phenomena during
1721, 1728, and 1804 with reported volcanic eruptions
in the Pacific basin. In contrast, the occurrences of El
Niño in 1911, 1925, and 1957 were independent of
volcanism, but concurrent with large meteorological
anomalies elsewhere (Caviedes 1984:290).
There seems to be a strong correlation between large
magnitude volcanic eruptions and the El Niño phenomenon. The
recent 1991-92 El Niño, rather than diminishing, is continuing into
1993, which is rather unusual because this is the first time in over
four decades that an ENSO has persisted longer than one season
(Quinn et al. 1979). It seems plausible that the 1991-92 Niño is
continuing for another year because of the inordinate amount of
volcanic tephra that was spewed into the atmosphere by the
Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines in 1992.
Volcanic eruptions often do affect the climate, but the results
seem to vary worldwide depending on the latitude of the volcano
and the size of the eruption. The 1982-83 El Niño, the strongest
event of the 20th century, was preceded by the eruption of Mt. St.
Helens in 1980 and the eruption of El Chichón in 1982. Both of
these events impacted the climate and may have affected the
intensity of the 1982-83 event.
Although ENSOs can occur independently of volcanic
eruptions, there is a correlation between large magnitude eruptions

36
and strong ENSOs. Therefore, it appears as if additional research
concerning the link between climatic change and volcanic activities
would be very useful. Fortunately, in the last decade, researchers
have been investigating information, such as precipitation amounts,
airborne dust, and volcanic ash, which are trapped within the
glaciers of Iceland (Hammer et al. 1980), Peru, (Thompson at al.
1984, 1985, 1986, and 1988), and more recently in China
((Thompson et al. 1989; Ellen Mosley-Thompson, personal
communication 1993).
Correlation between Global Warming and the Frequency of El Niños
There may also be a connection between global warming and
its effects on the frequency and, perhaps, the magnitude of El
Niños. Although early Spanish Colonial records may be lacking
somewhat in detail, there seems to be a pattern of an increase in
stronger events since the Industrial Revolution (Table 2-1).
However, tree ring data from Chile and Argentina present contrary
evidence that show no trend toward warming since the start of the
Industrial Revolution (The Gainesville Sun [TGS], 31 May 1993).
The mean temperature in this region has risen and fallen many
times in the past few millennia. Nevertheless, ice core sampling
from Greenland's ice sheet suggests that air pollution could lead to
dramatic shifts in the climate over the next 100 years (The Tampa
Tribune [TTT], 18 July 1993), which might affect the frequency of
major ENSO anomalies. Innovative studies of fossil temperature
changes retained in the earth, recovered by deep boreholes, show a
general warming trend in a number of areas of the United States

37
and Alaska. Models predict that the warming trend should be most
vigorous at the high latitudes. Nearly everywhere the warming has
20th century onset. Some areas evince temperatures that exceed
global average, while others have cooled. Significant gaps in the
borehole data exist for the Amazon Basin and other regions (Pollack
and Chapman 1993:46-50). Currently, there are no data for the
coast of Peru. Thus, the controversy continues, and it is only
through such studies as this one that this connection may
eventually be dismissed or established with certainty.
Effects of Strong El Niños
Introduction
When assessing the effects of a strong El Niño on a prehistoric
culture with no written records, we must rely heavily on current
data and draw conclusions from the impact of modern flood events
on human populations and their infrastructures. Furthermore, we
must assume that similar results could have occurred easily in
prehistoric times as well. Only then can we test hypotheses against
the geoarchaeological and archaeological records.
Climatic anomalies seem to be the norm for the years when a
strong El Niño occurs. "During the summer of 1983 in the U.S., the
climate was such that June was the 6th coldest on record, while
August of that year was the hottest on record" (Ropelewski
1984:591). Europe and the British isles experienced an extremely
dry and warm summer (Chen 1983), and July was the hottest ever
in England where weather records have been kept for almost 350
years (Radcliffe 1983).

38
Flooding
The most immediate and dramatic consequence of a major El
Niño is the catastrophic flooding that cripples the Peruvian littoral.
These areas are normally inordinately dry since many of them
receive only 45 mm of rainfall in a quarter of a century preceding
an El Niño (Nials et al. 1979). "As might be expected, the pattern of
annual flood size is dominated by elevation in normal and Anti-El
Niño years (Table 2-2). However, in El Niño years, the pattern
becomes more strongly influenced by latitude as the equatorial air
masses related to the InterTropical Convergence Zone and the
Equatorial Countercurrent move farther south" (Waylen and
Caviedes 1986:151).
Devastating El Niño flooding is not exclusively a modern
phenomenon because geoarchaeologists have determined that
major flooding occurred in the Moche Valley as early as 500 B.C
(Rollins et al. 1986). Another great flood—2 to 4 times greater than
the 1925 flood-inundated, Chan Chan, the powerful capital of the
Chimu Empire, in the early 12th century A.D. (Quinn et al. 1986).
This flood disrupted the culture, and eventually the capital was
abandoned.
About 1000-1100 A.D., the infamous "Chimu Flood" probably
occurred (Nials et al. 1979). This monstrous flood may be the
source of the legend about the great deluge which led to the demise
of the king of Chot (Chotuna), called Fempellac (Donnan 1990).
After he was tricked into sleeping with a demon, disguised as a
beautiful woman, it rained continually for 30 days, which caused

39
much hunger in the area. The priests of the temple and other
leaders became so angry because of Fempellac's offense against the
gods that they bound his hands and feet and threw him into the
sea ("lo hecharon en el profundo de el mar") (Cabello Valboa
1955:327-329 [1586]).
Early historical records from the 16th through the 18th
centuries are often lacking in details concerning flooding since such
an event was commonly viewed as a punishment for transgressions
against a wrathful god (Quinn et al. 1986). Fortunately, 19th
century observations were more scientific, and, thus, accurate
records of the rainfall and the consequences of devastating flooding
were kept.
The strong El Niño of 1891 was documented by a number of
individuals in Peru, one of whom proposed a tentative theory
concerning the inordinate amounts of rainfall. "The most
reasonable explanations of these rains is that they have something
to do with the Corriente del Niño or Reverse Humboldt Current"
(Murphy 1926:35). "The last rains were in February, 1891, and
they were certainly torrential ... It seemed to come down in
sheets, like a cloudburst, but was by no means local" (Murphy
1926:36). The flat plain at Talara in northern Peru was covered by
three feet of water, and the resultant mess was like quicksand. As
one author exclaimed, "In 1891, the situation was abnormal in the
extreme" (Merriman 1955:70).
The flooding from the 1925 Niño was even more catastrophic.
A third of the town of Huanchaco was totally obliterated as adobe
homes were dissolved and washed away (Nials et al. 1979).

40
Hundreds of people died and thousands of homes were destroyed.
Since "gutters and tin roofs were a luxury rather than a necessity,"
(Caviedes 1975:501) the incessant rains soaked the adobe walls,
ceilings, and foundations to such an extent that they disintegrated.
Severe flooding has also destroyed much of Peru's patrimony.
The impressive Huaca del Sol, which was already severely damaged
in the early 1600s by the Spanish hydraulic mining efforts to
retrieve precious metals from the tombs, experienced further
damage during the 1925 El Niño. Yet, the damage was not nearly
so much as that done by an ancient flood, ca. 500 A.D., which left a
high-water mark a full 8 meters above the 1925 flood level (Nials
et al. 1979). Evidence that both the Huacas del Sol and de la Luna
were damaged, by this ancient flood, lies in the fact that the adobe
bricks were saturated and "glued" together by the torrential rains
and the flooding.
Located in the La Leche Valley, the Baton Grande-Poma
archaeological Complex, with some three millennia of history, was
not badly damaged by the 1925 event. Nevertheless, ca. 1100 A.D.
a mammoth flood overwhelmed the citizens of the area forcing
their relocation (Craig and Shimada 1986). Fortunately, these
MegaNiños only happen at a rate of about two per millennium, but
they are significantly larger and much more damaging than the
1982-83 event (Sandweiss 1986). Apparently the 14th century El
Niño flood studied near Ilo is one of these rare events since it left
widespread, deep deposits that would easily qualify it as a
MegaNiño. It is also possible that this flood could have been

associated with previous, strong tectonic activity which would have
sufficiently loosened materials for easy transport by flood waters.
There were a number of minor El Niños from the 1930s
through the 1960s, but almost 50 years elapsed before the next
major event. In 1972-73 the country of Peru was again pummeled
by a strong El Niño. This time more people died and more property
was damaged or destroyed, but this 1972-73 event merely
foreshadowed the widespread destruction that would arrive in
1982-83. For months, the coastlines of Ecuador, Peru, and even
Chile suffered relentless rainfall and flooding.
Disease and Pestilence
Flooding is an obvious and immediate consequence of a
strong El Niño, but it is the disease and pestilence in the ensuing
weeks and months following such an event that is often neglected
by the news media in favor of the more sensational flooding
sequences. It was reported, for example, that the floods
immediately destroyed 12,500 homes and damaged 28,000 more in
the Tumbes and Piura River valleys alone, during the 1982-83
event (Jackson 1984), but such massive flooding frequently causes
many belated problems for humans that are often ignored.
Thus, although 800 people died in Peru during the 1982-83
El Niño (Thayer and Barber 1984), the survivors did not escape
unscathed. In the north along the Rio Tumbes, "constant rains and
humid atmospheric conditions compounded the picture of misery in
which mosquito swarms and outbreaks of malaria, typhoid, and

42
skin diseases haunted the inhabitants of the valley throughout the
summer, fall, and winter of 1983" (Caviedes 1984:277).
At the peak of El Niño, rainfall, poor diet, and constant
high humidity favored the spread of tuberculosis: a
health report issued in June 1983 stated that 60
percent of the population of Chulucanas had contracted
the disease ... in the village of Canchaque ... an
epidemic of Uta, a leishmaniasis of the skin, spread,
particularly among children, and caused terror among
the rural population...[usually transmitted by biting
flies, this disease produces single or multiple lesions
with proliferating weeping ulcers and sloughing of skin]
(Beck and Davies 1976).
Were this not enough, the valley was invaded by tropical bugs,
among which was the catigaza, whose sting produced swelling,
ulceration, and even paralysis of the affected limb, accompanied by
fever (Caviedes 1984).
Health conditions were atrocious in many areas of Peru
during 1983, but they were even worse in 1925. In addition to the
millions of dragonflies, caballitos del diablo, there were millions
more mosquitoes which carried the malaria virus. Besides the
rampant malaria, dengue fever was a common malady. This
infectious fever, which is usually epidemic, causes excruciating pain
in the joints and muscles of its victims—hence, its nickname of
"breakbone fever."
Because many railroad beds/bridges and roads were
destroyed by flooding, dozens of towns and cities were isolated
from food supplies. The poor diet contributed not only to

43
gastroenteritis, which claimed the lives of hundreds of children,
but, also, to beriberi which caused the death of scores more
because of the lack of vegetables (Murphy 1926). Presented with
the facts concerning the suffering following a modern event, one
could easily imagine the misery and decimation that must have run
amuck along the coast of southern Peru following the gargantuan
14th century El Niño event.
Impact on Coastal Agriculture
Humans are inextricably bound to the products of agriculture,
and, when this valuable resource is disrupted by whatever means,
we usually suffer. The 1925 flooding washed away, not only crops-
-i.e. rice, sugarcane, and cotton--but the none too plentiful top soil
as well. To add to the misery of the winter winds and sand storms,
hordes of crickets—gr/Z/os—feasted upon the scant vegetables
(Murphy 1926). Burros and llamas replaced the railroad to carry
the desperately needed foodstuffs slowly from the sierra to the
coast.
In 1972-73, the rivers were so clogged with debris that they
overflowed and completely drowned the riparian orchards and
fields. In the Jequetepeque river basin, irrigation channels for the
rice fields were destroyed (Caviedes 1975). Since the volumes of
water associated with the 1982-83 event were so much more than
other historical El Niños, the damage to agriculture and to related
support facilities was even greater. Of course, crop loss was not
restricted only to Peru. In two Ecuadorian provinces—Los Rios and

44
Machala—54,000 hectares of cropland were destroyed by flooding
(Caviedes 1984).
Since the coast of Peru is a hyperarid desert, agriculture is
totally dependent on the technology of irrigation. The rains of the
1982-83 El Niño either severely damaged or completely destroyed
many irrigation canals. The Moche River washed away 500 meters
of two main irrigation canals, while it filled some other sections of
these open canals completely with sand. Also destroyed was
almost a full kilometer of highway which is needed to transport the
agricultural products to the markets and processing facilities
(Feldman 1983).
Again, many of the El Niño related problems, such as damage
to agricultural infrastructure and diseases that plague modern Peru
following a major perturbation, should hold true for prehistoric
times as well. Also, the impact of the 14th century A.D. megaflood
must have been even greater owing to the lack of adequate
technology and a sufficient labor force with which to recover from
such grievous disasters.
Impact on Highland Agriculture
While the coast suffers from devastating rains and floods
during a strong El Niño, the highlands suffer from catastrophic
drought. In the southern highlands around Lake Titicaca, in 1983,
70 percent of the major staple crop, potatoes, was destroyed. This
crop failure was quite serious because the indigenous population
mainly survives the long winter months by eating freeze-dried
potatoes--C/iuño— which can be easily stored for the entire winter

45
season. Unfortunately, because of the severe drought and the
extreme food shortage, even the seed potatoes for next year's
planting had to be eaten (Jackson 1984). Even though there was
some precipitation in the highlands around Lake Titicaca, "the
scattered rainfall of February and March 1983 was insufficient to
grow potatoes, quinoa, maize, and alfalfa during the peak of
summer" (Caviedes 1984:288).
Famine is normally alleviated by kin groups sharing food
with each other. This native "disaster relief" is usually sufficient to
cope with the frequent droughts and subsequent low crop yields,
but in 1983 the situation was so dire that this traditional "risk
management" system was inadequate. To compound an already
grievous situation, some highland people were incapable of helping
their kin since entire villages, along with all the potentially helpful
relatives, were completely buried by mud slides. A full one-third
of the remaining villages were also badly affected by this
particular ENSO event (Feldman 1983).
Domesticated Animals
Not only humans endure great suffering during strong ENSO
events, but domesticated animals, mainly camelids, such as the
Llama and Alpaca, also do not fare well during these times. During
both the 1925 (Murphy 1926) and 1982-83 events (Jackson 1984),
as pasturage became scarce because of the drought, the sheep and
camelids in the highlands began to starve. At the other extreme
along the north coast, especially near Trujillo, vast tracts of

46
valuable pasture were totally obliterated by flash floods, further
impacting domesticated grazing animals.
The most seriously drought-affected areas were the
highlands of southern Peru and Bolivia. By the end of April, 1983,
the drought had spread from the Titicaca basin to the entire
altiplano and had wreaked hardship among traditional cattle and
llama herders. As was the case during previous El Niño-related
droughts (1891, 1941-42, 1957, and 1972), the level of Lake
Titicaca dropped to record lows. The herds of cattle and llama
become so thin that social problems resulted for many poor
peasant families because they were accused of not properly caring
for their livestock. Unable to maintain the weakened animals,
some peasants sold them at extremely low prices, while other
families pushed to the limits of need and despair, even sold their
own children to wealthier families (Caviedes 1984:288-289).
Marine Life
In normal years, the main upwelling centers of the Pacific
Ocean, extending as far South as the Paracas Peninsula, coincide
with the greatest carbon-producing areas and with the richest
anchovy grounds along the Peruvian coast. An El Niño triggers a
devastating crisis in the ecosystem. The upwelling of the cool
water weakens, and the less salty and oxygen-poor warm tropical
waters overlap the cold waters of the Peru Current, resulting in a
sizable decrease in phytoplankton and zooplankton, which feed the
anchoveta (Caviedes 1975).

47
A strong El Niño event severely disrupts the ocean's
production of both chlorophyll and phytoplankton by as much as
75 percent. The larval anchovy feed on phytoplankton, but, as fate
would have it, the zooplankton do also. So the failing food supply is
now even more diminished for the young fish and, as a result of
the competing zooplankton, millions of the larval anchovy do not
survive (Walsh et al. 1980). As if this destruction were not enough
misfortune, even those anchovy which do survive decrease in
absolute growth and reproductive success (Barber and Chavez
1983).
Even the weak El Niño of 1975 caused an 80 percent
reduction in the productivity of nutrients, and this production
occurred in a narrower zone than in normal years (Cowles et al.
1977). "When the warm surface water invades the Peruvian
littoral, the sensitive anchovy dives down some twenty meters to
colder waters or migrates southward ..." (Caviedes 1975:498).
"The major El Niño, in 1972, combined with overfishing,
almost wiped out the vast school of anchoveta (Engraulis Ringens)
that had propelled Peru into first place among fishing nations (with
a catch greater than the combined total of both North and Central
Americas)" (Feldman 1983:17). Before the 1972 event, Peru
accounted for one-fifth of the world's total fish production
(Caviedes 1975). This loss of the anchoveta catch, of course,
affected the fishmeal production and, consequently, the price of
beef since cattle eat the fish meal as a protein source. Without the
fish meal, cattle owners had to turn to more costly soybeans as a
substitute.

48
The anchovies died off or were so severely depleted after
1977 that pilchard (a member of the herring family) replaced
anchovy as the mainstay of the fishing industry. These small fish
can survive in warmer waters between 23°C and 25°C, while
anchovy cannot. Unfortunately, the horse mackerel, which preys
on both pilchard and anchovy, also prefers these same warm
waters. Therefore, the number of the fish available to commercial
fishermen steadily declined (Caviedes 1984). For example, the
anchovy catch declined from 1.7 million tons in 1982 to 100,000
tons in 1983 (Arntz and Tarazana 1990). Of all the marine life it is
the middle of the normal food web that is disrupted the most by
the anomalies of an El Niño (Arntz and Tarazana 1990:333).
Yet another threat to the fishing industry in Peru, caused by
El Niños, is called a red tide, which has caused the death of
countless fish along the Peruvian coast. "Red tides are spectacular
dinoflagellate blooms that occur in oceans and often lead to mass
mortality of marine fishes and invertebrates" (Krebs 1978:540).
Because of the warm weather anomaly, when the water
temperature, salinity and/or nutrients are in certain proportions,
the marine protozoans (dinoflagellates) rapidly increase. The
Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) required by aquatic bacteria to
decompose the accumulated metabolic waste from the billions of
protozoans is such that there is not enough oxygen for the fish to
survive (Owen 1980). In March of 1990, 24 tons of fish washed
ashore at Chimbóte (Francisco Mamani, personal communication
1990). Although it is uncertain at this time, it appears that a red
tide may have caused their demise.

49
Murphy (1926) relates that, in 1891, during the day the sea
was covered with blood-like patches many acres wide. The final
effect of this freak of nature was that so many fish and other
marine life died that the subsequent hydrogen sulfide produced
actually blackened the white paint on the ships in the Callao Harbor
(Merriman 1955). In 1925 another red-tide appeared. "As
testimony to the loss of life, the gruesome phenomenon is a
harbinger of death appropriately known as El Pintor (the painter)
(Nials et al. 1979:7). The loss of human and animal life in total
numbers, as a consequence of a strong El Niño event, seems small
when one assesses the total impact on marine life. Yet,
understandably, this loss may not be of great significance to
anyone--except, perhaps, the fishermen.
Guano Birds
Many of the guano producing sea birds eat pilchard, anchovy,
and other smaller fish when they are driven to the surface by
larger marine predators. During an ENSO event, these larger
predators move from the extraordinarily warm waters to cooler
waters elsewhere. When this happens, some birds migrate to other
areas, but most birds actually starve to death because the smaller
fish are not readily available at the surface. For example, there are
normally 300,000 birds on Christmas Island; by the Spring of 1983,
there were none inhabiting the island (Thayer and Barber 1984).
Those birds which stay closer to the coast fare somewhat better,
but thousands still die for want of sufficient food (Barber and
Chavez 1984).

50
The guano birds are quite important economically to the
people of Peru since these guanay--cormorants, gannets, and
pelicans—produce a valuable fertilizer (Caviedes 1984). Prior to
the 1925 event, the guano bird population was estimated at 30
million. The strong 1925, and 1972-73 El Niños have reduced their
numbers to 7.5 million (Nials et al. 1979). Murphy (1926)
describes the scene following the 1925 El Niño, by saying, "By the
end of January sick and dead guano birds began to be numerous in
northern Peru, and the peste (plague) spread rapidly southward
until countless thousands of carcasses lined the whole shoreline of
the country" (1926:32). Surely it will take years for nature to
rectify the decimation of the millions of birds along the Peruvian
littoral caused by the El Niños of this century.
Economic Impact
It is almost unbelievable that something as innocuous as an
influx of warm water could so drastically disrupt the ecosystem
along the western coast of South America, but the evidence speaks
for itself. During the 1982-83 El Niño, the worldwide combined
loss of human life from floods, polluted water supplies, and drought
has been estimated at 10,000 or more deaths. Property damage
has been estimated at $10 billion (Dillon 1985:6-7). In addition to
the death of 800 humans in Peru, the total destruction from the
1983 event alone is estimated at over 3 billion dollars (Thayer and
Barber 1984). Included in this staggering figure is the loss of
hundreds of millions of dollars for the Peruvian fishing industry,
which has for years been a major source of income for the country.

5 1
The fishing industry first felt a financial crunch in the 1920s when
the local fisheries along the coast failed as the common schooling
species, i.e. anchovy, etc., died or departed (Murphy 1926).
The 1972-73 El Niño's disruption in the ecosystem started an
immutable chain reaction of events for the 128 fishmeal factories
then in existence. Burdened by debts, low productivity,
maintenance costs, and wages, sixty-five small fishing plants, most
locally owned, faced bankruptcy, and the owners were willing to
sell their plants to the Peruvian government for whatever was
offered. The remaining plants had financial backing because they
were owned by foreign countries or by 10 Peruvian magnates who
could absorb the losses and continue operations at a reduced level.
Finally, to preserve the fishing industry, on May 7, 1973, it was
nationalized in an effort to control the growth of the industry, the
welfare of the fishermen, and the marketing of the sea products
(Caviedes 1975). Following the 1982-83 event, the fishing
situation became so desperate that the entire fishing fleet
continually tried a variety of new techniques to catch whatever it
could (Barber and Chavez 1983).
Positive Consequences of an El Niño Event
Lomas
Fortunately, there are some positive consequences of an El
Niño. After encountering so much suffering, destruction, and death,
any small glimpse of beauty is a welcome respite. Ironically, while
the human disaster continued, a vast area of the desert in northern
Peru was in "full bloom with green shrubs everywhere" (Jackson

52
1984:33). In some places, wet fog drifts inland from the sea, and
when there is enough fog, a seasonal flora develops in what are
called Lomas—these areas are not a continuous band, but more like
an "island archipelago" of verdant patches of vegetation (Dillon
1985).
"Current tabulation of the entire lomas flora shows it to
contain ca. 1,000 species of angiosperms and ferns" (Dillon and
Rundel 1990). Included in these various families, genera, and
species are rare plants, which are being carefully studied in an
effort to understand their origins and the formation of these idyllic
"islands" (Pare 1984). It is believed that the composition of the
plants and flowers reflect past climatic and geologic events (Dillon
1985) and, thus, can be useful in modern attempts to reconstruct
and to understand these ancient events.
For years, people have been observing and recording the
beauty of the desert when it awakens from its long, barren sleep.
It has been suggested that Pizarro's march through the Piura area,
as he and his men trekked toward Cuzco in 1532, "was possible
only because he chanced to land upon the desert shores during one
of the rare "años de abundancia " or years of abundant water and
vegetation" (Murphy 1926:54). In 1891, during another one of the
"years of abundance," when the rains occurred, one person noted,
"the desert soil is soaked by the heavy downpour, and within a few
weeks the whole country is covered by abundant pasture" (Murphy
1926:35). Although this pasture is ephemeral, when it dries it
affords goats a natural hay for a year or so. Often seasonal lakes
and ponds are created by these monsoon-like rains and the plant

53
life proliferates, attracting flocks of ducks from as far away as the
Guayaquil region. In some places, for the first time in forty years,
flowering plants reached the coast (Murphy 1926)
During the rain of 1972, as well as of 1925, in many places
the buried grass seed germinated providing ample grass which
more than met the grazing needs of the ranchers in northern Peru.
In fact, this new-found abundance encouraged some local ranchers
to import many thousands of feeder cattle and breeding stock.
Goat herds were seen roaming around various areas taking
advantage of the unusual fresh vegetation during the fall and
winter months of 1972 (Caviedes 1975).
In 1983, there was a particularly rich bloom in the Lomas
along the coast of Peru and as far south as Chile. Typically the
unusual outburst by the dormant vegetation appears some two or
three months after the maximum rainfall. The Peruvian
government has even designated one area as a national park—
Lomas de Lachay—which is located about two hours drive north of
Lima (Caviedes 1984). Even in the far south of Peru, there is lush
pasture in the normally desert-like Sama river valley during such
events, and the local herders bring their cattle into the valley to
enjoy this rare serendipity (Francisco Mamani, personal
communication 1990).
Applying Modern El Niño Data to Prehistoric Settings
The Peruvian landscape is one of the most dynamic in the
New World, if not in the entire world. Peruvian history is rife with
examples of major seismic events, including the most devastating

54
historical earthquake in the Western Hemisphere, i.e. May 31, 1970
(Silgado 1978; Webb and Fernández Baca de Valdez 1991). Further
proof is provided by the impressive number of El Niños events that
have re-sculpted the Peruvian countryside during the last 450
years (Quinn et al. 1986). Both earthquakes and strong El Niños
have a great impact on humanity, and it seems reasonable that
"phenomena that alter subsistence systems and disrupt means of
agricultural production are likely candidates for triggering change
or ethnic movement during the course of Andean civilizations"
(Moseley 1987:7).
Using an ethnohistorical approach, one should be able to use
the available modern data concerning the impact of El Niño flooding
on modern humans and to apply these data to prehistoric
populations. We can compare the modern accounts (e.g. Murphy
1925; Caviedes 1975, 1984, among others) to the early historical
accounts of floods in Peru to extrapolate and to determine the
validity of these written records concerning the consequences of
these events for humans. Vivid descriptions by Alcocer (1987
[1582]) of the 1578 A.D. catastrophic rains and flooding that
severely affected the north coast of Peru are but one example of
the early works which can be used to infer what the impact of the
earlier 14th century A.D. Miraflores Flood might have been for the
Chiribaya Culture of extreme southern Peru.
Since the occupants of the coastal quebradas studied in this
dissertation were dependent upon a highly developed,
sophisticated irrigated agricultural system, there is little doubt
that, following the destruction of this system by the 14th century El

55
Niño, the indigenous population, which had occupied the area for
almost 400 years, would have been severely reduced by starvation
and disease. Without an adequate workforce to rebuild, repair, and
maintain the agricultural subsistence base, the culture could not
have regained its pre-flood eminence. Therefore, it would have
lost its hegemony, and it would have been in a very vulnerable
position with regards to invasion or simply an in-migration by a
non-resident culture. (For a detailed discussion of the impact of an
early El Niño on the Chiribaya Culture refer to Chapter 8).
As previously noted, archaeologists must, by necessity, draw
upon modern flood data when interpreting the effects of El Niños
on prehistoric populations. Flooding of cultivated land, along with
diminished sea resources, as a result of a particularly intense El
Niño, results in drastic food shortages today. The prehistoric
consequences must have been even more disastrous (Jackson and
Stocker 1982:22). Currently, there is no contrary evidence that the
devastation and the diseases associated with contemporary events
should not apply equally to a prehistoric population. In fact,
because of the lack of modern medicine and technology, the
disruption of an autochthonous prehistoric society should be even
greater than that suffered by a modern society.

CHAPTER 3
ARCHAEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND
Introduction
As with all other countries, the history of Peru is a fascinating
story of the gradual development of unique cultures throughout
many centuries. This history is divided in various ways, but it is
almost universally agreed that the most significant milestones of
cultural development that fall within the scope of this study can be
demarcated by the titles of "Initial Period" (IP), "Early Intermediate
Period" (EIP), and "Late Intermediate Period" (LIP). Therefore, it is
important to examine each of these periods in turn to understand
the vital role that irrigated agriculture played at each step along the
Peruvian journey through time.
Initial Period
A number of cultural changes occurred during this period.
Early coastal sites were abandoned; monumental architecture
shifted inland; and there was an increased consumption of
cultivated plants (Moseley and Deeds 1982). At the beginning of
the Initial Period, around 1800 B.C., agriculture began to spread into
new habitats, which included coastal valleys. "This must imply
some mastery of irrigation techniques, since without these,
agriculture would scarcely have been possible in such arid
56

57
surroundings" (Fung 1988:82). Orlove (1985) suggests that maize
was a relatively new domesticate that was preceded by potatoes
(ca. 2000 B.C.), peanuts (ca. 2500 B.C.) and the "industrial cultigens"
cotton and gourd (ca. 3000 B.C.) during the Preceramic Period (:46).
Some, however, would argue that maize has been cultivated as
early as 4000 B.C. in Colombia (Bray et al. 1987).
At this same time, population increased and the mountain and
coastal settlements began to crystallize into "poles" of influence
(Moseley 1992). Spectacular developments, such as mound
building, free-standing architecture, and weaving during this period
are largely attributable to the technology of irrigation agriculture,
which provided people with more leisure time (Pozorski and
Pozorski 1987:125). Also, pottery, associated with storage, cooking,
and, perhaps even more importantly, with the brewing of chicha (a
native corn beer used as an integral part of religious ceremonies)
appears on the central coast of Peru around 1800 B.C.
Early Horizon
Building upon the incipient agricultural base created during
the Initial Period, early Peruvians increased their dependence upon
maize agriculture during the Early Horizon. In some of the coastal
valleys, irrigated agriculture was undoubtedly expanded. In the
highlands, the use of ridged fields and cochas (sunken fields)
increased agricultural yields and extended the farming season
(Moseley 1992). New cultigens, such as manioc (Manihot esculenta),
tree tomatoes (Solarium muricatum', Cyphomandra splendens),
Jiquima (Pachyrryzus tuberosas), and probably sweet potatoes
(.Ipomoea batatas) were added to the ever-growing inventory of

58
domestic plants. However, the Peruvians still placed an emphasis
on marine resources and further supplemented their diet with
hunting and gathering. As a consequence of the diversification in
subsistence resources and an improved diet, population increased
considerably and nearly all of the coastal and highland valleys were
settled (Lumbreras 1969).
Religious centers, with new art and iconography dictated by
the Chavin cult, appeared in the highlands and along the Peruvian
coast from the Moche River to the Mala River valley. With the new
art came changes in textile production, such as textile painting,
dying of camelid hair, and the heddle loom. Pottery styles now
included stirrup-spouted bottles, stamped decorations, and the
neckless olla with motifs stressing super-natural beings, especially
the fanged anthropomorphic "staff god". Using such innovations,
the spread of corporate art and iconography probably helped
precipitate a coalescence of a multitude of distinctive local and
regional cultures into what is commonly referred to as the Chavin
Horizon, a significant, but short-live phenomenon (Burger 1988).
Metallurgy also experienced meaningful modifications with the
introduction of three dimensional forms produced by soldering pre¬
shaped metal sheets, silver/gold alloying, and repoussé decorations.
Accompanying these changes, were marked social stratification and
an increase in the demand for exotic goods exchanged between
ecologically complementary zones (Burger 1988).

59
Early Intermediate Period
A change in the settlement patterns occurs with the
residential centers now outnumbering the ceremonial centers
(Moseley 1992). There were other significant developments during
this period, which included an even greater increase in population
accompanied by construction of large irrigation systems on the
desert coast. Hints of a possible increase in warfare or a greater
need for defense are suggested by the many fortifications built at
this time. Nucleated settlements, with populations as large as
10,000, were present at Moche, Nazca, and Pukara, and an
estimated two million people inhabited the coastal areas (Lanning
1967).
Middle Horizon
This was a time of severe droughts which adversely affected
both agriculture and the great complex cultures which depended so
heavily upon it. A great drought lasted from 562-594 A.D.
(Thompson et al. 1988), that greatly curtailed agriculture since
evidence indicates that the precipitation was 30 percent less than
normal. This drought was probably a contributing factor in great
ethnic movements and conflict of the Middle Horizon (Moseley
1992).
There were not only severe droughts during the Middle
Horizon, but devastating floods as well. In the Moche Valley,
flooding stripped away many meters of precious soil and severely
damaged fields and irrigation canals, forcing the abandonment of
the Mochica capital, Huaca del Sol (Moseley 1992). A new capital

60
was built at Cerro Galindo, which was located at the valley neck
near the irrigation canal intake—perhaps to protect them from
outsiders (Bawden 1985).
New irrigation techniques were introduced, and the Huari
(Wari) were among the first to irrigate slopes using short, low
canals to farm limited areas (Moseley 1992). At Huari, high water
sources fed long, primary canals which, in turn, fed into secondary
canals that watered the extensive terraces. The Huari used this
new technique to develop the unfarmed slopes in the Moquegua
Valley, 60 km upvalley from the study area (Goldstein 1989; Figure
3-1; Table 3-1).
Table 3-1: Middle Horizon Cultures
Time
N. Coast
Cen. Coast
S. Coast
Moquegua
Titicaca
1000
A.D.
Sican
Chancay
lea
Tumilaca
Tiwanaku
900
A.D.
Sican
lea
Tumilaca
Tiwanaku
800
A.D.
Sican
lea
ChenChen
Tiwanaku
700
A.D.
Sican
Huari
lea
ChenChen
Tiwanaku
600
A.D.
Moche
Huari
Omo
Tiwanaku
(After Moseley 1992)
Late Intermediate Period
The Late Intermediate Period (L.I.P) began in about 1000
A.D., approximately concurrent with the decline of the Tiwanaku
Empire, and lasted until the rise of the Inca Empire, ca. 1476 A.D., at
the beginning of the Late Horizon (Table 3-2; after Rowe 1962;

61
Figure 3-1: Moquegua in Southern Peru

62
Lumbreras 1974). The capitals at both Huari and Tiwanaku had
already been abandoned toward the end of the Middle Horizon
(Rowe 1963). Therefore, this period was a time of change because
"the decline of the Wari (Huari) Empire disrupted the unity that had
been imposed on the Central Andes and permitted the resurgence
of local or regional political organizations" (Lumbreras 1974:179).
The Late Intermediate Period was similar to the Early
Intermediate Period because it was also a time with increasing
population, small political units sometimes associated with larger
confederations, and warfare (Lumbreras 1969). Some coastal areas
Table 3-2: Periods and Horizons of Peruvian Prehistory
Periods/Horizons
Time Scale
Also Known as
Late Horizon
1476-1532 A.D.
Imperialist
Late Inter. Period
1000-1476 A.D.
Urbanist
Middle Horizon
600-1000 A.D.
Expansionist
Early Inter. Period
200 B.C.-600 A.D.
Experimental
Early Horizon
900-200 B.C.
Cultist
Initial Period
1800-900 B.C.
Formative
Preceramic
2500-1800 B.C.
Archaic
Lithic
8000-2500 B.C.
Hunter/Gatherer
were depopulated and, within a few centuries, small regional states
appeared in various parts of the former Huari Empire (Patterson

63
1973:101). It was a time of marked local cultural diversity and
relative isolation, contrasting with the Middle Horizon which had
been dominated by the two rather large, interactive empires of
Huari and Tiwanaku. According to Inca tradition, there was "a
situation of extreme political fractionation in the sierra at the
beginning of the Inca Dynasty" (Rowe 1963:16).
With the exception of perhaps Chan Chan and Pachacamac,
most of the cities were abandoned by the end of the Middle
Horizon, and the prevailing pattern of settlement became one of
small, urban centers with dispersed dwellings. Perhaps this new
pattern was a reaction against large cities which exerted too much
control over all the inhabitants—much like the rural population
revolting against the late Roman cities. This backlash occurred in
areas where city traditions were old, but not on the north coast of
Peru (Rowe 1963:19-20). This Middle Horizon settlement pattern
would remain unchanged until the Incas placed people in nucleated
settlements where they could better watch and control the people's
activities (Patterson 1973:69).
The only regional state in existence during the L.I.P. was
Chimor, the great Chimu Empire that extended for a 1,000 km along
the northern and central coasts of Peru (Conrad 1981; Moore, 1991;
Figure 3-2). In other areas of Peru, there were polities that
developed a social organization based on small towns and villages;
however, they did not achieve large scale political integration, like
that of Chimor. These polities included the following: the Chancay
on the Central Coast; the Lake Kingdoms, Colla and Lupaqa, around
Lake Titicaca; Pisco, lea, and Nazca Valleys of the south coast ruled

64
Figure 3-2: Cultures of The Late Intermediate Period

65
by the "Lord of Chincha"; and the Chiribaya on the extreme
southern coast in the department of Moquegua (Table 3-3).
Table 3-3: Late Intermediate Period Cultures
Time
N. Coast
Cen. Coast
S. Coast
Moquegua
Titicaca
1476 A.D.
Inca
Inca
Inca
Inca
Aymara
1400 A.D.
Chimu
Chancay
lea
Estuquiña
Kingdoms
1300 A.D.
Chimu
Chancay
lea
Chiribaya
Aymara
1200 A.D.
Chimu
Chancay
lea
Chiribaya
Kingdoms
1100 A.D.
Chimu
Chancay
lea
Chiribaya
Aymara
1000 A.D.
Chimu
Chancay
lea
Chiribaya
Kingdoms
(After Moseley 1992)
Cultural History of the Ilo Region
Lithic Period
The Ilo coast has a lengthy human history which extends back
into the Lithic (Hunter/Gatherer) Period. Located 7.5 km South of
the city of Ilo and dating to ca. 8000 B.C., the Ring Site is the oldest
littoral site in Peru (Sandweiss et al. 1989; Table 3-4). This
maritime site consists of an almost perfect 26 m-wide circle of
discarded mollusks shells (Richardson et al. 1990). In addition to
over one hundred stone tools, 7 different types of bone implements,
including a bone harpoon were recovered at the Ring Site. Faunal

66
Table 3-4: Ilo Time Chart
Time
Frame
Lower Ilo
Valley
Ilo Coast
Moquegua
Highlands
Arica,
Chile
Natural
Events
Initial
Period
900 B.C.
Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1000 B.C.
Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1100 B.C.
Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1200 B.C.
Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1300 B.C.
Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1400 B.C.
Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1500 B.C.
Wawakiki/
Carrizal
1600 B.C.
Carrizal
1700 B.C.
Carrizal/
K-4
1800 B.C.
Carrizal/
K-4
P r e c
e
ram
i c Period
1800 B.C.
Carrizal/
K-4
Chinchorros
1900 B.C.
Carrizal/
K-4
Chinchorros
2000 B.C.
Carrizal/
K-4
Chinchorros
2100 B.C.
Carrizal/
K-4
Chinchorros
2300 B.C.
Carrizal/
K-4
Chinchorros
2500 B.C.
Carrizal/
K-4
Chinchorros
...
lillllllilllilll
Lithic
Period
2500 B.C.
Chinchorros
3000 B.C.
Villa del
Mar
Toquepala
Asana
Chinchorros
4000 B.C.
Villa del
Mar
Toquepala
Asana
Chinchorros
5000 B.C.
Villa del
Mar
Toquepala
Asana
Chinchorros
7000 B.C.
Ring Site
Toquepala
Asana
8000 B.C.
Ring Site
Asana
9000 B.C.
Asana

67
analysis shows that the diet was based almost exclusively on
marine resources, such as gastropods, bivalves, and chitons.
In the highlands above Moquegua, hunter/gatherers of the
Lithic Period occupied natural rock shelters and caves. People used
laurel-leaf shaped stone projectile points to hunt camelids and
other small animals of the puna (Lumbreras 1969). The Toquepala
Cave contains wall paintings of humans hunting camelids (Table 3-
4). Situated at about 2000 m.s.l., this cave was occupied, mostly
during the wet period from October to April, for many years,
beginning ca. 9500 B.C. (Moseley 1992).
Another wet season site, dating from about 9600 B.C. to 3600
B.C., is the open-air settlement of Asana located at 3450 m on the
highland puna above Moquegua. The inhabitants of Asana
exploited the local fauna all year, and, during the dry season,
humans and animals alike depended on the ground seeps—
Bofedales—as freshwater sources (Aldenderfer 1989). This site
contains one of the earliest ceremonial structures in all of Peru.
Measuring almost 12 m by 9 m, this rectangular ceremonial
complex has a wide clay floor, altars constructed of rock and clay,
and walls made of mud and clay (Aldenderfer 1990).
Preceramic Period
Preceramic Period sites along the Ilo coastline include K-4,
which dates to as early as 4620 B.P. +/- 90 (BETA) (Wise et al.
1994), with occupation continuing into the Initial Period (Table 3-
4). This site consists of a large shell midden and domestic terraces,
which are located less than 100 m from the Pacific Ocean. Early

68
sites at the Carrizal Quebrada date from about this same time
period, i.e. 4690 B.P. +/- 100 years (BETA) (Wise 1990). Human
occupation at the Carrizal Quebrada is almost continual until
modern times (Bawden 1990) probably because of the freshwater
springs and the fact that this quebrada has easy access to the
marine resources, which were exploited by the early residents, just
as they still are today.
Another important coastal site dating to this period is Villa
del Mar, first investigated in 1986 because of a double burial
uncovered during a construction project (Torres et al. 1990).
Several Chinchorros-like burials were excavated here in 1990 by
Dr. Karen Wise. The Chinchorros were fisherfolk who occupied the
northern Chilean coast from ca. 5000 B.C. and used a wide variety of
fishing tackle including nets, harpoons, and fishhooks made of shell
or cactus thorns. The Chinchorros people are perhaps most noted
for their elaborate mummification techniques, which involved the
preservation of the viscera and also the bracing of the vertebral
column and the long bones of the deceased with cane supports
(Allison et al. 1984).
Initial Period
The preceramic sites, which were located along the coast
adjacent to the springs at the Carrizal Quebrada, were still occupied
during this period, with the inhabitants clearly exploiting all of the
micro-ecological zones. Marine resources were augmented by
terrestrial hunting and gathering (Bawden 1990), but there could
have been some early agricultural fields which were subsequently

69
destroyed by the later Chiribaya occupation of this quebrada. This
subsistence strategy was the beginning of an adaptive system
which would be incorporated into the later ceramic periods and
would endure until the Colonial Spanish Period.
The primitive Carrizal pottery sequence, which includes the
neckless olla, is related to other early undecorated ceramics, such as
Faldas del Morro from Chile and the Huaracane style from an early
agricultural culture in the upper Moquegua Valley (Feldman 1990).
The Huaracane pottery, which also includes a neckless olla style,
belongs to a pottery horizon which begins around 850 B.C. towards
the end of the Initial Period and lasts until 300 A.D. of the Early
Intermediate Period. This same type of pottery is also found in the
Bolivian highlands during the middle Wankarani phase and at
Chiripa (Feldman 1990; Table 3-5).
Early Horizon
The Neckless Olla (Olla sin cuello) ceramic tradition begins as
early as ca. 800 B.C. in the Ilo area (Table 3-5). The style of this
large, wide-mouthed cooking vessel persisted considerably longer
than a millennia. By about 200 B.C., the neckless olla was produced
at the Early Horizon sites at the Carrizal Quebrada (Bawden 1989,
1990). The importance of this domestic vessel is clearly established
by the fact that 80% of the pottery sherds found at Carrizal were of
this type. Neckless olla also accounted for the largest ceramic
component at the Ilo Valley sites of El Algodonal and Loreto Viejo
(Owen 1992a.).

7 0
Table 3-5: Ilo Time Chart
Time
Frame
Lower Ilo
Valley
Ilo Coast
Moquegua
Highlands
Arica,
Chile
Natural
Events
Early Intermediate Period
600 A.D.
Neckless
Olla
Neckless
Olla
Omo
Huari
Tiwanaku ua
Cabuza
500 A.D.
Neckless
Olla
Neckless
Olla
Omo
Hauri
Tiwanaku IV
Cabuza
400 A.D.
Neckless
Olla
Neckless
Olla
Omo
Tiwanaku IV
300 A.D.
Neckless
Olla
Neckless
Olla
Huaracane
200 A.D.
Neckless
Olla
Neckless
Olla
Huaracane
100 A.D.
Neckless
Olla
Neckless
Olla
Huaracane
0
A.D./B.C.
Neckless
Olla
Neckless
Olla
Huaracane
100 B.C.
Neckless
Olla
Neckless
Olla
Huaracane
Wankarani
Chiripa
Faldas del
Morro
200 B.C.
Neckless
Olla
Neckless
Olla
Huaracane
Wankarani
Chiripa
Faldas del
Morro
Ea r
y Horizon
200 B.C.
Neckless
Olla
Neckless
Olla
Huaracane
Wankarani
Chiripa
Faldas del
Morro
300 B.C.
Neckless
Olla
Huaracane
Wankarani
Chiripa
400 B.C.
Neckless
Olla
Huaracane
Wankarani
Chiripa
500 B.C.
Neckless
Olla
Wankarani
Chiripa
600 B.C.
Neckless
Olla
Wankarani
Chiripa
700 B.C.
Neckless
Olla
Wankarani
Chiripa
800 B.C.
Neckless
Olla
Wankarani
Chiripa
900 B.C.
Early Intermediate Period
Although located 300 km from the Tiwanaku heartland, there
was a strong Tiwanaku presence in the upper valley around the city

of Moquegua. As a result of the studies conducted since 1983 by
archaeologists of the Programa Contisuyu, the local Tiwanaku
sequence is now well-understood. Based on the data from
excavations at domestic sites and cemeteries, the local sequence is
now divided into the following phases. The earliest occupation is
called Omo and corresponds to the "Classic" Tiwanaku IV phase
(Table 3-5). Ceramics from the Omo phase are characterized by
banded keros, angular bowls, and incense burners with 2 wings.
The strong affect of the Tiwanaku State on Omo pottery is indicated
by the painted decorations rendered in black, orange, and white on
red, which is a common tradition for all of the pottery from
Tiwanaku (Goldstein 1990).
Middle Horizon
The Omo Phase of the Tiwanaku influence in the Moquegua
Valley continued into the early Middle Horizon, but it was replaced,
ca. 700 A.D., by the Chen Chen phase which continued until about
950 A.D. (Goldstein 1989; Table 3-6). At about the same time that
the Chen Chen phase ends in the upper Moquegua valley, the
Ilo/Tumilaca occupation begins in the lower Ilo Valley (see below).
The ceramics from the Chen Chen Phase (Tiwanaku V) also reflect
the form and decoration of the Tiwanakan State. The common
decorated pottery forms are keros without bands or a single band,
large cups in the form of a half-kero, and jars with only one handle.
Other common utilitarian artifacts include decorated wooden
spoons. A new style of kero with a human profile appears for the
first time late in this phase. Stylized flamingos and parrots painted

72
on the vessels were among the most common motifs. Although the
neckless olla sites in the Ilo Valley had long been abandoned where
the influx of highland influence, nonetheless, the neckless olla
tradition is still well-represented in the ceramic record of the
Middle Horizon.
It was toward the end of the Middle Horizon when the
lengthy Osmore Canal was probably begun. The question of who
truly constructed this masterful irrigation system still remains a
matter of contention. At least one author, Owen (1992a), believes
that because of the proximity of their settlements to the canal, the
Ilo/Tumilaca, rather than the Chiribaya, built the canal. It must be
remembered, however, that the Ilo/Tumilaca designation used by
Owen corresponds almost exactly to what Jessup (1990, 1991) calls
the El Algarrobal Phase of the Chiribaya Culture. Therefore, it is
quite possible that even if the Chiribaya did not actually begin the
construction of the valley irrigation system, they at least expanded
it to its farthest extent.
Late Intermediate Period
At the beginning of the Late Intermediate Period, around
1000 A.D., sites in the middle Moquegua Valley were abandoned
and the upper valley and the coast were settled. Owen (1992b)
suggests that this abandonment of the upper valley sites restored
more irrigation water to the lower Ilo Valley and, therefore, could
have provided the impetus for the expansion of agricultural land.
The Ilo/Tumilaca/Cabuza (I/T/C) tradition persists until about 1250

73
A.D. when it is rather abruptly replaced by the more populous
Chiribaya Culture (Owen 1992a). Since the number of Ilo/Tumilaca
Table 3-6: Ilo Time Chart
Time
Frame
Lower Ilo
Valley (1)
Ilo Valley and
Coast (2)
Moquegua
m
Highlands
Arica,
Chile
Natural
Events
Colonial Period
1607 A.D.
Chuza
Flood
1604 A.D.
Earthquake
Tsunami
1600 A.D.
H. P.
Eruption
1550 A.D.
Spanish
Spanish
Spanish
Spanish
1532 A.D.
Late Horizon
1532 A.D.
Inca
Inca
Inca
Inca
1476 A.D.
Estuquiña/
Inca
Estuquiña/
Inca
Estuquiña/
Inca
Inca
Late Intermediate Period
1476 A.D.
Estuquiña/I
nca
Neckless Olla
Estuquiña
Gentilar
1400 A.D.
Burro Flaco
San Gerónimo
Neckless Olla
Estuquiña
Gentilar
1300 A.D.
San Gerónimo/
Yaral(l)
Neckless Olla
Estuquiña
San Miguel
1350 A.D.
Miraflores
Flood
1200 A.D.
Yaral (1)
Ilo/Cabuza (2)
Neckless Olla
Estuquiña
San Miguel
1100 A.D.
Yaral
(1 (Algarrobal
Ilo/Cabuza (2)
Neckless Olla
Tumilaca (3)
San Miguel
Chimu Flood
1000 A.D.
Algarrobal (1)
I!o/Tumilaca(2)
Neckless Olla
Tumilaca (3)
Maitas/
Cabuza
Note: Local culture/tradition classifications according to (1) David Jessup (1991); (2)
Bruce Owen (1992a); and (3) Paul Goldstein (1989, 1990).
Middle Horizon
1000 A.D.
Ilo/Tumilaca(2)
Neckless Olla
Chen Chen
Tiwanaku V
Cabuza
900 A.D.
Neckless Olla
Chen Chen
Tiwanaku V
Cabuza
800 A.D.
Neckless Olla
Chen Chen
Tiwanaku V
Cabuza
700 A.D.
Neckless Olla
Chen Chen
Huari
Huari
Cabuza
600 A.D.
Neckless
Olla
Orno
Huari
Huari
Tiwanaku IV
Cabuza

74
sites had decreased by 50% by the beginning of the Ilo/Cabuza
phase, there is a strong possibility that the I/T/C simply could not
adequately compete with the Chiribaya Culture which reached its
zenith at about 1200 A.D. during the Yaral Phase (Jessup 1991;
Table 3-6). Although the Yaral Phase ceramics were identified from
the grave accompaniments at the middle valley site of La Yaral, this
pottery style is also found at the lower valley sites of Chiribaya Alta
and Chiribaya Baja, and at the coastal site of San Gerónimo (Jessup
1990).
It is presently unclear as to the origin of the Chiribaya people.
It has been proposed that they may have emigrated from the
highlands into the Ilo Valley, or they may have developed
independently from an earlier Preceramic population or the
Ilo/Tumilaca people (Jessup 1990, Owen 1992b.). There is some
indication that there may have been some Chiribaya influence along
the extreme northern Chilean coast or vice-versa since the Chilean
San Miguel and Gentilar ceramics (very similar to the Chiribaya
styles) were found co-existing with the Chiribaya ceramics at the
site of Chiribaya Baja (Jessup 1987, 1990; Table 3-6). Currently
DNA studies are being conducted on some of the human remains
recovered from the cemetery at Chiribaya Baja in the Ilo Valley,
and, perhaps in the near future, the results of these investigations
may provide us with a definitive answer as to the origin of these
Chiribaya people.
The last phase of the Tiwanaku presence in Moquegua is the
Tumilaca, which actually occurs after the decline of the Tiwanakan
State. The manufacture and the decoration of the Tumilaca

75
ceramics indicate a gradual loss of contact with the altiplano. For
example, the paste now contains more sand; the color yellow is used
instead of red; and the keros are very large. Further, white dots,
similar to the common Chiribaya decoration, are used, suggesting a
trend toward the Chiribaya style of ceramics (Goldstein 1990).
The Late Intermediate Period was probably a time of hostility
because structures at the Tumilaca site include a wall and a
perimeter trench which are strong indications of a defensive
posture (Goldstein 1990). With the exception of the large Chiribaya
Alta site, no other locations in the lower Ilo Valley have defensive
moats or walls. Almost all of the major settlements by the Late
Intermediate Period were fortified, and in the Moquegua Valley, all
independent irrigation areas and their villages had walls and dry
moats (Moseley 1992). Fortified sites of this period were probably
created to protect the natural resources of the region and the
irrigated agricultural fields (Moseley 1990).
Another prominent fortified site is the Huari settlement
located on the top of Cerro Baúl, a truncated cone of stone which
rises an impressive 400 m above the valley floor. The almost
impregnable fortress was likely a necessity since the Huari colony
had intruded into the Tiwanaku presence already firmly ensconced
in the Moquegua area. Centuries later, the Cerro Baúl fortress
would prove to be vulnerable when it fell to the invading Incan
army after a 50 days' siege (de la Vega 1989).
Following the end of the Tiwanaku occupation in the
Moquegua Valley, the Estuquiña Phase begins around 1100 A.D.
With natural escarpments providing defense on the east and south

76
sides, the "type site" of Estuquiña was occupied from about 1100
A.D. to 1500 A.D. Late in the period, the Estuquiña were
contemporaneous with the Gentilar of Chile and the Inca (Lozada
1987). However, there is no evidence indicating that there was
habitation at Estuquiña after the Spanish Conquest (Rice et al.
1990). Estuquiña pots and bowls show few significant
characteristics other than opposing prominences around the upper
edges of the vessels. Other common Estuquiña ceramics are double-
handled ollas, jars with one handle, and jars modeled in the shape
of a boot or a duck (Rice et al. 1990; Williams et al. 1990).
About 1100 A.D., the Chiribaya established an upvalley
enclave at La Yaral, which was occupied for about 200 years. In the
lower Ilo Valley and in the coastal quebradas, agrarian expansion
by the Chiribaya reached its height around 1000 A.D. (Moseley
1993), and then began to contract slowly because of changing
environmental conditions, and, by the time of the Inca occupation of
the Ilo area, most of the irrigated terrace systems had long since
been abandoned.
Intensification and Development of Irrigated Agriculture
Introduction
Early great civilizations, such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, and
Mexico, all reached their zeniths in arid regions under irrigation
(Kosok 1942; Mason 1957; Wittfogel 1957; Heiser 1973), and Peru
was certainly no exception. "One of the major areas of prehistoric
civilization in the New World is the stark desert landscape of coastal
Peru" (Jackson and Stocker 1982:12). "At a time when our

77
ancestors in northern Europe were still utter savages, clothed only
in skins, and living by hunting and fishing, settled agricultural
communities must have existed in the Peruvian region" (Cook
1916:474). All the major states and the independent polities, that
were extant during the preceding Middle Horizon, were highly
dependent upon intensive agriculture (Table 3-3). During the Late
Intermediate Period, the Chimu State and the smaller polities used,
as did their predecessors, some type of creative and highly
productive agricultural technology--irrigation canals {asequias),
terracing {andenes), raised fields {camellones), or sunken fields
{cochas--lagunilla in Spanish) (Guillet 1992).
There are two theories, the Drainage Theory and the
Floodwater Theory, concerning the origin of canal irrigation. As
with some other popular theories they do not apply to Peru in
general. The Drainage Theory states that canal irrigation developed
from the technology used to drain and direct excess water from
productive land. The technology was simple and minimized
downcutting, sedimentation, meandering and overflowing of
streams (Doolittle 1990:138-189). This theory might be applied by
some to northern Peru because of the presence of raised fields in
the Casma Valley. However, this technology of constructing raised
fields does not appear in the archaeological record of the north
coast until almost 1,000 years after the development of canal
irrigation. It seems more likely that valley necks and inland
locations were the setting for the new technology and economy of
irrigated agriculture (Moseley 1975b) because these inland areas

78
required shorter lead-off canals and, therefore, less labor to build
and maintain (Moseley and Deeds 1982).
The Floodwater Theory states that planters first farmed in
arid areas on alluvial deposits which were periodically inundated
by floodwaters from upland rain. Subsurface moisture would
remain for some time after the flow subsided, thereby allowing
some cultivation (Doolittle 1990:140). This theory could apply to
areas such as the Nile River Valley which, until the building of the
Aswan High Dam, had practiced such agricultural methods. It might
also be applicable to the Moche Valley where a floodplain exists
(Moseley and Day 1982). However, once again, canal irrigation in
Peru probably did not advance as a result of floodwater agriculture
because, of the 57 river valleys and drainages in Peru, only a few
have permanent rivers, which could supply sufficient spring flood
waters.
Sunken fields were late additions to the prehistoric
agricultural repertoire. They generally occur in a topographically
low area lying very near the coast, but they have been found as
much as a kilometer inland from the littoral in the Chicama, Moche,
and Pisco Valleys among others (Smith 1985:519). Sunken fields
are known by different names depending on the geographical
location and the time period in Peru. They are called Pukios or
wachaques on the north coast, mahamaes in the Chilca Valley, and
are referred to as hoyas by most of the early chroniclers (Smith
1985:603). According to Cobo, Hoyas were used by the native
Peruvians to increase farmland (Mateos Tomo II, 1956:92). Large
depressions, up to 100 m wide, were dug into the earth below the

79
water table, and crops were planted along the slopes of the sunken
fields (Cabello Valboa [1586] 1955; Donnan and Mackey 1978;
Moseley and Feldman 1984; Smith 1985).
It is only in recent times that modern engineering has been
able to surpass the irrigation projects of the PreHispanic Peruvian
agrarian societies (Horkheimer 1990).
The Chimu were probably the greatest Pre-Hispanic
agriculturalists in coastal Peru. Only within the past
decades has the amount of irrigated land in the Chicama
and Moche Valleys equaled the area cultivated by the
Chimu, and this has required the extensive use of pumps
and cement-lined canals (Kus 1972:193).
For example, North/Northwest of Chan Chan, the Chimu had
irrigated 1,600 hectares in one area alone (Kus 1972:199). During
the early Late Intermediate Period more canals were built and
extended into previously uncultivated plains (Parsons and Hastings
1988:198). These large irrigated agricultural works, occupying
suitable alluvial plains, were all state controlled by this time (Kus
1980). Rural administrative centers represented the "state
presence" even in the non-metropolitan areas of the Moche Valley
and maintained control over land, water, and labor resources
(Keatinge 1974:67). Labor was often made available as a tax
payment to the state (Conrad 1981). At its height, Chan Chan
controlled, at least, 66 percent of the irrigated coast lands (Moseley
and Deeds 1982:25).
Most early eyewitness accounts mention, with some degree of
awe, the vast terraced and irrigated agricultural systems which

80
they encountered throughout Peru (Cieza de Leon [1552], 1971;
Cobo [1653], 1979, 1990; Sarmiento de Gamboa [1572], 1967;
Guarnan Poma de Ayala,[1613], 1980; Pizarro [1571], 1972; Sancho
[1550], 1917; 1972; de la Vega 1989). Cieza [1552] notes "all the
land of the valleys, where the sand does not reach, up to the
wooded areas, is one of the most fertile and abundant lands of the
world..." (1971:25). With just a little work, using irrigation water
from the rivers, it was possible to cultivate abundant crops (Cieza
1971). This type of agriculture is particularly important in the
sierra because "irrigation permits the cultivation of a broader range
of crops at higher altitudes than would be possible with natural
rainfall alone" (Mitchell 1977:38).
Since the narrow, coastal plain of Peru is one of the world's
driest deserts (Brush 1977; Lettau and Lettau 1978), where
agriculture is extremely difficult and virtually impossible without
irrigation, Cobo [1653] noted that "not a twentieth of this large
stretch of land is productive" (1979:4). According to Squier, "The
Sahara is a 'thing of beauty' and Arizona 'a joy forever' compared to
the coast of Peru" (1877:25). "It never rains, thunders, snows, nor
hails in all this coast, which is a matter worthy of admiration.
{However,} a little distance from the coast it rains and snows
terribly" (Acosta [1604] Vol. I, 1970:164). "Rain does not fall until
it reaches the cooler elevations of the Andes at altitudes above
2,500 m" (Pozorski and Pozorski 1987:1). This natural aridity
accounts for the fact that about 22 percent of the cultivable land
today in Peru is located on the coast, while the sierra has almost 62

8 1
percent of the arable land and produces the majority of the food for
modern Peru (Claverlas et al. 1983).
Unfortunately, the total area under cultivation today in the
Andes is from 30% to 80% less than it was the during the Pre-
Hispanic periods, depending on the region (Wright 1963; Moseley
and Deeds 1982; Masson 1986; Denevan 1987; Clement and Moseley
1991). Perhaps part of the reason for this disparity is the fact, as
one author explains, that the use of contemporary terraces is
sometime underreported (Mitchell 1985). The Titicaca region has
the largest ridged field system in the world (Kolata 1991:101),
where ridged fields have been used since 2500-3000 B.C. (Erickson
1987:374). Yet in the Titicaca Basin alone, there are 200,000 ha
(Hectares) of abandoned terraces, 90,000 ha of abandoned or
plowed up qochas (cochas) sunken fields, and 80,000 ha of
abandoned or destroyed ridged (raised) fields (Browman 1987:175).
Truly, the Titicaca area has a tremendous amount of potential
for food production because, during the Tiwanaku Empire, just the
3,500 hectare raised field agricultural system, at Pampa Koani could
have fed an estimated 60,000-100,000 people annually and still
have produced a food surplus (Kolata, 1987:40). At just 75% usage
of the ridged fields, mono-cropping could support a minimum of
285,000 people (Kolata 1991:110). Tiwanaku developed its mighty
empire partially based on the ridged field system surrounding Lake
Titicaca (Kolata 1983, 1986) and at one time dominated highland
Bolivia and the coastal portions of southern Peru and northern Chile
(Orlove 1985).

82
It is a lamentable fact that this once highly productive
agricultural system has been abandoned for centuries (Kolata
1983). Luckily, experiments in the reactivation of some of these
ancient raised fields at Puno and Pampa Koani, on the south side of
Lake Titicaca, have been conducted in recent years resulting in crop
yields that are 2-4 times the average yield from other agricultural
fields (Erickson 1987, 1988; Kolata and Ortloff 1989; Kolata 1991).
Although ridged fields are found throughout the Tropics, they
are relatively rare along the arid coast of South America. Yet in the
Casma Valley, it is estimated that the abandoned ridged field
system once encompassed as much as 3,100 hectares (Moore
1985:265; Pozorski et al. 1983). "The Casma Valley is unique in
having ridged fields, rather than sunken gardens, which are the
most common feature on the high water table regions of the coast"
(Pozorski et al. 1983:407).
Fossil ridged field systems also exist in Bolivia, as well. This
area, in general, offers important archaeological data about various
impressive projects of PreHispanic engineering. For example, in
addition to the ridged fields, there are canals, water
wells/reservoirs, and roadways. Some of the canals and roadways
are still in use today, though some have been repaired through time
(Erickson 1980). Perhaps some of the most spectacular vestiges of
ancient ridged fields are found in northern Colombia (Smith et. al
1968; Broadbent 1987), and, also, in Ecuador (Parsons and Shleman
1987), where maize cultivation, on ridged fields, dates to 500 B.C.
(Pearsall 1987:287).

83
Water Management
Today water rights are owned and regulated by the state
water administration (Administración de Aguas) (Hatch 1976;
Guillet 1992), rather than being totally controlled by the ayllu, or
the community, as had been the case for millennia. However, the
various irrigated sections have elected water judges {Regidores),
who hold weekly meetings at which "water shares" are granted to
users (Guillet 1987c). Permission for use of water is granted in the
descending order of domestic usage, animal husbandry, agriculture,
hydroelectric power, industry, and mining (Guillet 1992). Farmers
are advised of what day their particular branch canal {rama) will be
provided with water (Hatch 1976), and they must determine their
specific needs according to the availability of water (Farrington
1985). It is a common practice for a single household to control a
branch canal, while many households control a main canal (Brush
and Guillet 1985). This type of water management is a far cry from
Pre-Hispanic days when, even during dire times, water was doled
out to everyone, regardless of rank or social status (de la Vega,
1989).
Development of Agriculture
Why did humans abandon nomadic hunting and gathering or
sedentary fishing lifestyles in favor of a new sedentary agricultural
life style? Boserup (1965) proposes that the development of
agriculture was the result of population pressure (see also Patterson
1973) which necessitated the creation of a more prolific system of
food production (see Carneiro 1970). It is generally agreed that

84
population density is a crucial factor for giving impetus to the
intensification of agriculture because it is usually the number of
people residing in a particular area that determines the necessary
level of food production. By about 1 A.D., population increase and
social demand in the Moche Valley possibly caused an expansion of
arable land (Farrington 1985:648). Based on her studies, Boserup
suggests that labor-intensive irrigation allowed for a more intensive
system of land use, "multi-cropping," which would increase the
amount of arable land and raise crop yields, thereby increasing the
carrying capacity of the land (1965:39). However, others maintain
that multi-cropping "appears to have been practiced only sparingly
in the prehistoric world" because crop varieties which allow a
traditional farmer to produce more than one crop per year have
only been recently developed (Farrington 1980:288).
Sauer (1952) thought that agriculture on the desert coast of
South America derived from elsewhere because the environment
demanded the advanced skills of irrigation. He believed that the
northwest coast of South America was the likeliest place to find the
origins of agriculture because of its abundant aquatic and riparian
life and fertile land. This region provided a sheltered basin with
the "proper balance of self-containedness and outside contact"
(1952:42). He may have been in error with these statements, but
he was, however, slightly avant garde when he stated, "sedentary
fishing people perhaps commenced the cultivation of plants and
became the first domesticators of plants and animals" (1952:103;
see also Moseley 1975a, 1992; Moseley and Feldman 1988).

85
Social Change Associated with Agriculture
With the advent of irrigation agriculture, a number important
social changes occurred. Agriculture allowed for a stable, improved
diet which in turn created a greater concentration of people,
transforming primitive societies into complex social/political
structures (Kosok 1942). These structures included a more efficient
social organization and a concomitant expanding power over people
and, especially, the control of labor.
According to Wittfogel (1957), ancient states arose and gained
despotic control of dense populations because of the control of
water in arid regions. In many hydraulic societies, the state
retained control over the private property owners by keeping them
disorganized and impotent (1957:3-4). Irrigation farming always
requires more physical labor than does dry farming because
controlling large amounts of water through channelizing requires
some type of direct authority that subjugates many people
(1957:17). Therefore, "effective management of irrigation works
requires an organizational web that covers the whole or, at least,
the dynamic core of a country's population" (1957:27).
Carneiro (1970), who advocates environmental
circumscription as the cause for the origin of the state, sees the
many, short, narrow valleys of the Peruvian coast as a classic
example of what he champions. Each valley is "backed by
mountains, fronted by the sea, and flanked on either side by desert
as dry as any in the world" (1970:735). As the size of autonomous
villages grew, the population would fission and move to other
usable land. When there was no more available land, agriculture

86
had to intensify, and previously unusable land was brought under
cultivation by means of terracing and irrigation (1970:735). With
increasing population pressure, conflicts for control ensued, and the
conquered people usually would be politically subjugated.
Wittfogel's theory and, perhaps, also, Carneiro's theory might
be true for some coastal areas of the Peru, but, in general, they may
not be true for other areas of Peru. According to Guillet (1990)
there was no despotism on the Central Coast of Peru, even though
there were centralized hydraulic systems with bureaucracies.
Further, in the Peruvian highlands, there were both small-scale
village or inter-village irrigation systems (1990:7) where water
resources, i.e. rivers, springs, and seeps, as well as land resources,
were collectively owned and operated by an ayllu--a corporate,
endogamous, hierarchical descent group (Brush 1977; Moseley
1992; Denevan 1987). There is no evidence that a more elaborate
system beyond the traditional ayllu was necessary to effectively
manage highland agricultural systems (Erickson 1987).
"Recent literature in Andean archaeology and ethnohistory
asserts the dominance of local kin groups in the organization of
agricultural production rather than supracommunity state
authority" (Kolata 1991:99). Water is distributed according to
custom by the people who assembled at the distribution points, not
according to some despotic control (Mitchell 1977:50, 57). There is
further criticism of these theories because there is a lack of studies
of contemporary highland communities in Peru and there has been
too much focus on coastal irrigated agriculture (Mitchell 1977).

87
In southern Peru, there were independent coastal populations,
such as the lea and Chiribaya, which maintained control over their
water resources and never reached a social organization level
beyond that of a polity. Rowe (1963) explains that in the lea
Valley, large cities came first, and only later were there major
irrigation canals. He says that it is very difficult to argue for any
relationship between irrigation and the development of cities
(1963:20). Lanning (1967) states that we cannot say that irrigation
led to the centralization of authority, but rather that once authority
was centralized, then it became possible to build and maintain
irrigation systems. Thus, irrigation was a product of civilization, not
a cause of it (1967:181-182).
Whether the society is classified as a state or polity, the social
organization and control of a society dependent on either a small-
or large-scale irrigation system remains basically the same. There
exists a controlling body that directs the construction of terraces,
fields, and irrigation canals, regulates the distribution of water, sets
production quotas, and determines the planting and harvests cycles
(Harris 1975).
Now that the stage was set for large-scale irrigation projects,
agriculture expanded into heretofore undeveloped and unoccupied
areas, such as the hyperarid coast and the steep Andean slopes
(Moseley 1992). Not only the vast tracts of abandoned agricultural
works, but also the impressive number of earthen and stone
mounds and pyramids remaining on the Peruvian landscape are all
mute testimonies to the amount of human labor that was released
from other pursuits by the accession of agriculture.

88
Motivating Factors for the Development of Agriculture
What were the some of the motivating factors which
influenced the development of agriculture? One possible
explanation was that geological uplift had drained the productive
shallow bays and lagoons that had been relied upon for marine
resources. Practicing incipient agriculture by growing gourd and
cotton needed to manufacture fishing floats and netting, preceramic
people had laid the ground work for agriculture. Further,
preceramic people were "preadapted" for irrigation agriculture
because they had centrally coordinated labor (Patterson 1988), such
as had been used to build the impressive Huaca de los Idolos at
Aspero (Feldman 1977:15-16; Moseley and Day 1982).
Browman (1987) cogently argues that the shift to agriculture
allowed farmers to utilize various techniques to reduce production
risks. To enhance the land's carrying capacity, land and water
management systems, such as ridged or raised fields, terrace
systems, and irrigation canals were developed by prehistoric
Peruvians. Irrigation agriculture may date to 1000 B.C. in some
places in Peru, (Farrington, 1985), or, perhaps, as early as 1500 B.C.
in the Moche Valley (Moseley 1978).
Although desiring the credit for using divine knowledge from
their creator god, Viracocha, to develop irrigated agriculture (Cobo
1990), the Incas had merely perfected a technology that had been
developed at least 2 millennia before their rise to power (Guillet
1987). Using Mit'a labor, a form of taxation, the Incas built
irrigation canals and agricultural terraces and channelized rivers,

89
mostly during the late 1400s (1450-1475) (Schaedel 1978:290;
Cook 1916). "Terrace building in the Andean valleys under the
Incas was primarily for expansion of maize cultivation wherever
possible in association with irrigation" (Keeley 1985:548). The Inca
improved upon irrigated agricultural technology bringing the art of
terracing to its pinnacle by expanding agriculture to encompass an
astounding 1,000,000 ha of terraced land (Donkin 1979).
Canal irrigation appears in the archaeological record of Peru at
about the same time as do agricultural terraces, in 500 B.C. (Donkin
1979). Amazingly, a few of the Pre-Inca irrigation canals have
been in continuous use for 1,500 years in the Moche Valley
(Horkheimer 1990). Although these canals are among some of the
earliest in the New World, certain canals in Mexico have been dated
to about 800 B.C. (Doolittle 1990).
Advantages of Agricultural Terracing
There is reason to believe that terracing began sometime
around 500 B.C. (Initial Period) and continued into Inca Times (Late
Horizon). Agricultural terracing was such an impressive feature of
the Peruvian landscape that "the Conquistadors named the Andes
for their greatest monument to human endeavor--the andenes . . .
"(Moseley 1983b: 190). Sancho [1550] noted, perhaps with some
exaggeration, "All the mountain fields are made in the guise of
stairways of stone . . . "(1917:149; see also Cook 1916). "Terracing
is an ancient practice continued {today} mainly by traditional
farmers because it is labor intensive and not conducive to
mechanization" (Denevan 1987:1).

90
Agricultural terracing represents an attempt to overcome
inherent problems associated with cultivating slopes. Rugged
terrain requires slope modification to avoid excessive run-off and
erosion (Brush 1977). Terracing slows run-off allowing the water to
soak in while, at the same time, the excess water flows downslope
at a much slower rate of speed, which prevents soil erosion by rain
on the steep inclines (Denevan 1987). Depending on the slope
angle, terrace width varied from 1-1.5 m and terrace length from
15-60 m (Cobo 1990:212).
In addition, the level surfaces of terraces slow the water,
suspending fine particles, and allowing the heavier materials to
precipitate out. The finer particles are then passed on to a lower
terrace, which, in many cases, helps enrich the thin, nitrogen-poor
Andean soils (Orlove 1977:27). Also, excess water drains off
through the fissures in the stone retaining walls preventing root
damage from water logging. At the same time, ample water soaks
into the soil preventing root damage from desiccation and water
loss from evaporation. This type of water management also helps
conserve the fragile fertility of the mountain dirt (Horkheimer
1990) because the natural soil cover in most parts of Peru is very
thin and poor in nutrients, and, therefore, it is easily exhausted and
dries quickly (Donkin 1979).
Use of Fertilizers
For centuries the Andean farmers have used fertilizers to
augment their nutrient poor soils. The two most important
prehistoric fertilizers were guano (Cobo 1599; Acosta 1604;

9 1
Garcilaso 1609; Mason 1957; Lanning 1967; Donkin 1979) and
anchovies (Garcilaso 1609; Mason 1957; Donkin 1979). "Anchovies
were important to agriculture as the ultimate source of fertilizer"
(Lanning 1967:8). Prehistorically, fertilizers may have been used
directly as they are today.
Fertilizing was also used in conjunction with fallowing. Llama
dung fertilizer (Julian 1985) and fallowing of fields have an
important connection, especially in highland agriculture, to offset
the lack of natural soil nutrients. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) and
some other native grains need large amounts of nitrogen. In
addition, potatoes (Solanum tuberosas), the most important
highland staple, depletes nitrogen. Fortunately, nitrogen depletion
is countered by llama (Lama glama glama) and alpaca (Lama pacos)
dung which are both easily acquired because each herd has its own
place where all members of the herd defecate (Orlove 1977:25-27).
Risk Management
A form of risk management is the utilization of different
production zones in Peru although access to the products from these
various zones may be limited to members of a certain ayllu or
community. Agriculture is spread across hundreds of meters of
elevation in these production zones. For example, maize can be
raised up to an elevation of 3,500 m, while the indigenous tubers
and cereal grains will still produce at elevations of 3,500-4,100 m
(Brush and Guillet 1985)
Pasturage for camelids is located in the highlands (altiplano)
above 4,700 m. The productive area for grazing plants and grasses

92
is increased by the use of bofedales--digging channels out from a
spring source to increase the total area that it can water. The most
important limiting factor of land use in all of Peru is the availability
of water (Guillet 1992), and precipitation is both seasonal and
sometimes unpredictable. Without such risk management systems,
farming and, even survival itself would indeed be a risky endeavor.
Originally studied in the Alps, "Alpwirtschaft" is one of the
more important risk management strategies that is utilized in other
high altitude landscapes, such as the Himalayas and the Andes
(Orlove and Guillet 1985). Known as "Verticality" in the Andes, it
traditionally involved the exchange of commodities from several
isolated production zones--"Islands"—with members of one's own
ayllu (kin group) or the outright giving of commodities to one's
members in times of need (Murra 1978). Such trade was still being
practiced between the highlands and the coast during early Spanish
Colonial times.
The Lupaqa had colonies in the Moquegua and Sama Valleys
(Murra 1964), where the "caciques" {leaders} had small farms of
Maize. The highland dwellers would trade potatoes and quinoa for
corn and wheat which would not grow at extreme high elevations.
Likewise the coastal natives traded corn for Llamas, wool, and
Charqui (dehydrated llama meat) that they could not produce. Both
the natives and the Spanish carried goods from the highlands to Ilo.
One fanega (2.58 bushels) of potatoes would be exchanged for 10
fanegas of corn (San Miguel [1567] 1964:17-18).
The sharing of comestibles in dire periods of highland drought
has allowed the residents of the altiplano to survive their harsh

93
surroundings for millennia. "Since droughts are regular
occurrences, cultivators think in terms of long-term drought..."
(Browman 1987:175). Juan de Santa Cruz [1620] tells of a great
seven year famine (undoubtedly caused by severe drought) during
the reign of Amaru Tupac Inca, son of the great Pachacuti.
Conditions in Cuzco were such that grain had to be brought to Cuzco
from distant farms (1872:97-98). Therefore, since drought is such a
potentially devastating and regularly occurring highland
phenomenon, all of the above mentioned traditional risk
management techniques must be continually used.
The effects of a severe drought in 1982-83 is recorded in the
Ucrupata Glacier. Investigations show that the snow and ice levels
of the glacier were 3-5 m less than usual because of the lack of
precipitation and warmer temperatures (Francou 1992:107). In
this year, sixty percent of the potatoes and tubers and 70 percent of
the grain production were lost to drought (Browman 1987:175).
Unfortunately, statistics for the loss of human life associated with
this great drought are lacking. Traditional water management
systems had been replaced by "modern" technology, and no longer
were the safeguards provided by the old system of sharing when
need arose in the highlands. Thus, the drought of 1982-83 had a
more severe impact on the southern Andes than droughts in the
past.
With a surplus of food, storage became an important aspect of
risk management against leaner times. Potatoes and also llama
meat, were dehydrated using the naturally cold, dry night air.
Concerning storage, Sancho [1550] writes, "All these large cities

such as
94
have storehouses full of things which are in the land . . .
maize, vegetables, and tubers (1917:150). Pedro Pizarro [1571-
based on his observations from 1532-1555] reports a similar sight-
"The storehouses, which there were in this valley (Xaquixaguana,
now called Sacsahuaman), and from here to Cuzco, {held examples
of} all the things which were in the kingdom . . . "(1972:246-247).
Mainly the Inca, but also some of their forebears, had built a
vast system of storehouses (Collqas) throughout the empire. These
impressive towers of stone held not only comestibles, but clothing
and other equipment which could be used by both the Mit'a
laborers and the Incan Army. It is recorded that there was enough
food and drink in storage to adequately feed 20,000-30,000 people
(Zárate 1933:48). When food was taken from the storehouses, it
was understood that it would be replaced with new food later on, so
there would be a constant supply. These storage facilities served
another purpose: Moving armies would use the stored goods and
leave the food resources of the local inhabitants unmolested.
Evidence exists that, ever since prehistoric times, the
Peruvian people were aware of their precarious existence. Food
resources, such as fish, fishmeal, and vegetal products were
accumulated and stored in mass quantities. Large, permanent
storage facilities have been found at El Paraíso, the largest
preceramic site with monumental architecture in the Western
hemisphere (Moseley 1992:119). Also, the location of these units
suggests that there was a high priority for defensibility (Jackson
and Stocker 1982:23), perhaps from others not so well prepared for

95
dire times. Maybe the old notion of sharing with those in need had
already begun to fade.
Contribution of Agriculture to the Prehistoric Diet
The indigenous population was decimated by smallpox,
measles, and influenza after the arrival of the Conquistadors and
even today it is still one-half of its Pre-Hispanic level (Guillet 1987).
The population in the Central Andes alone declined by two-thirds
from 1520 to 1570 and continued to decline until about the end of
the 18th century. A case in point is Chincha, where in the 1530s
there were 30,000 natives paying tribute, but by 1600 it was
stated, "ahora no hay 600"— {Today there are not 600}--(Lizárrage
1968:44). Even today the native people, especially those in the
highlands, need a sustainable agricultural system that will, at least,
provide them with the minimum of calories needed for survival. In
an effort to augment the unreliable food supply, some of the raised
fields around Lake Titicaca have been reactivated (Kolata 1987).
Yet some scholars seem unsure and rather ambivalent on this
point. Horkheimer (1990), for example, points out that the
Peruvian people were better fed by the prehistoric food production
system than they are now because much land today is devoted to
the production of cash crops largely for export. However, elsewhere
he asserts that the modern highland diet is superior to the
prehistoric diet, based on his research conducted in 1968 (and
funded by FAO). Lorandi (1987), too, seems somewhat equivocal
when she agrees with Horkheimer and Murra (1980) that "there is
no shortage of descriptions of famines in the work of 16th century

96
chroniclers." (:37), yet she goes on to list the various "ritual and
state measures undertaken to fend off such critical conditions," as
reported by these same early historians.
The diet of Tawantinsuyu was well-balanced and, in fact,
superior to the nutritional requirements that are today theoretically
set for humans (Mayolo 1981:30). Rostworowski (1988) agrees,
maintaining that because diverse hydraulic systems along the coast
permitted cultivation of the deltas and part of the adjacent desert,
"the chroniclers did not find hungry people or malnourishment
there" (1988:251). The excellent quality of the diet of Pre-Hispanic
populations is further reinforced by one such chronicler, Guarnan
Poma de Ayala [1613], who informs us that "the natives had more
than enough food" based on the numerous gifts of maize (Zea mays),
potatoes, oca (Oxalis tuberosa), ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus), quinoa
(Chenopodium quinoa), and Llamas given to the Spaniards
(1980:55).
Religion and Agriculture
Background
Unlike Christianity, past Andean religious life had little to do
with abstract expressions. Instead, worship often focused on
huacas associated with particular kin groups or villages (Avila
[1598] 1991:4). "Huacas are energized matter, acting within nature,
not outside of it as Western supernaturals do . . . "(Avila, 1987:19).
"Every summit, every gorge, every spring, in short, every site more
or less prominent is thought to be inhabited by such a spirit"
(Bandelier 1910:100).

97
Role of the Gods in Agriculture
Since most of the indigenous populations depended heavily on
agriculture for their existence, all gods that controlled the various
environmental elements that affected agriculture, both beneficially
and adversely, were greatly venerated. Thus, in a hyperarid
environment, the gods of lightening, rain, rivers, springs, and land
would be the logical ones to become the most important
(Rostworowski 1983). However, imbued with such an belief
system, native Peruvians should have been psychologically
vulnerable to any natural disaster which adversely affected their
agriculture, and, in turn, a change in the agricultural base associated
with a certain set of native deities could have produced a change in
the native ideology.
Although the native pantheon included literally dozens of
greater and lesser gods, Pachamama—mother earth—was the most
fundamental of these deities. Since native agrarian cultures are so
dependent upon the earth for many of their basic necessities,
libations and offerings to Pachacama are a ubiquitous practice.
Even today, whenever native Peruvians drink, many of them
sprinkle a few drops of liquid on the ground to propiate mother
earth. Further, potatoes or rocks are often wrapped in coca leaves
and buried in the ground in the hope that Pachacama will provide
them with an abundant crop. These practices demonstrate the
dependence that the people felt toward Pachacama.
The complementarity of the male and female gods'
relationships reflects a very worldly nature. The natives revered

98
Chaupi Ñamca, the supreme female deity and wife of Pachacamac,
because she controlled the land. Collquiri, a highland god,
controlled the wild, headland waters that flowed downhill to the
lowland land. Once when Collquiri was lusting after the land
huaca's daughter, his overflowing desire created a major flood.
However, after a productive "marriage" between "water" and "land,"
irrigated agriculture came into being. Obviously, "the hydraulic
embrace of moving water and enduring earth was imagined as sex"
(Avila 1991:8).
One of the most frequently mentioned deities in the chronicles
is, Pariacaca, renowned in the Central and Southern Andes as a
powerful god who started torrential rainstorms, with red and
yellow hail (perhaps, "ball" lightening}, in the mountains. According
to native myths, Pariacaca is credited with washing away an entire
Yunga (coastal dwellers'} village into the ocean (Could this be a
reference to the village at Miraflores Quebrada? See Chapter 8).
Some ingenious villages survived by channeling excess water onto
the fields and into reservoirs. Pariacaca--five brothers residing in
one entity—could also cause cold and hail by swinging their bolas.
It is quite apparent that the durability of such myths reflects the
highland peoples' tenacious attachment to the local resources on
which they depend (Avila 1991:5).
Adoration of Huacas
Because of this obvious connection between early agricultural
practices and the religious beliefs of the people, a more careful look

99
at some of the specifics of these beliefs is essential to a true
understanding of their methods and practices.
Huaca is the native Quechua name given to myriad sacred
objects, such as mountain passes, large stones, rivers, the sun, the
moon, the earth, and forests, (Acosta [1604] Vol. II, 1970:301). The
veneration of huacas was such a common custom in extreme
northern Peru that each person had his own god according to his
trade or office (Zárate [1555] 1933:11). According to Squier (1877),
one of the most famous kakas (huacas) at Lake Titicaca was the
"Holy rock of Manco Capac" (1877:335).
Possibly the most sacred of the huacas were the Mallquis, the
mummified remains of ancestors (Avila 1991:16; Santillan 1950).
"They had a care to keep the bodies of their kings and noblemen
whole, from any ill scent or corruption above two hundred years"
(Acosta Vol. II, 1970:312). Such great reverence was given to
mummies that they were dressed in fine clothing and carried about
on litters during special occasions. Huacas were carried into war
and in processions when asking for rain or fair weather (Acosta Vol.
II, 1970). They were even fed and given something to drink
[probably chicha} (Guarnan Poma [1615], 1980:251; Figure 3-3)
Mummies were extremely important to the natives because
"many Andean groups traced their ancestry to sacred bodies, such
as stones, statues, stelae and mummies" (Moseley 1990:29). As long
as mummified bodies endured, both fertility and order would
continue (Avila 1987:49). However, were an ethnic group to lose
their huaca for some reason, the group believed that it lost all
power associated with it. The capturing of an ayllu's mummy was

100
HOBIEHBRE .
Figure 3-3: Mummy Being Carried on a Litter

101
known as "Huaca Hostage," and "holding it hostage would place
venerators in bondage and promote subordinate behavior" (Moseley
1990:29). Gonzalo Pizarro used this tactic to gain more control over
the natives at Sacsahuaman, where he not only captured the huaca
of Inca Virachocha, but burned it" (Gamboa [1572] 1942:162).
Myths and rituals were attached to many local features,
especially mountains, springs, lakes, and irrigation canals. Although
there are several versions, the most popular origin myth for the
Incas is one which claims that the original two Incas, brother and
sister, were placed by Viracocha in Lake Titicaca (de la Vega [1609],
1966:40). Other myths concern themselves with powerful, ancient
gods, such as Tunupa, who was very influential on the coast and
southern sierra before the rise of the oracle of the cult of Viracocha.
He was so omnipotent that he once destroyed a village, which
rejected his preachings, by "throwing fire" and melted the
neighboring mountain "like wax" (Rostworowski 1983:26). Of
course, this sounds very much like what a large volcanic eruption
could do to a small village.
These cultural traditions, associated with the veneration of
hallowed places, were an integral part of native life during Spanish
Colonial times, despite the proselytizing of Christianity (Avila [1598]
1991:5). Ritual was so ingrained in the native psyche that entire
chacras [small farms} were devoted to growing corn for the
manufacture of chicha— corn beer--consumed during the various
rituals (Avila 1987:291). Some of these ritualistic traditions still
survive today because the Aymara speakers continue to worship

102
Tun up a as the god of lightening and also to identify him with
volcanoes (Rostworowski 1983:27).
"{The indigenes} had the idea that all gods had a duplicate at
their disposal {on earth} in the same way each Inca possessed a
huaca or brother" (Rostworowski 1983:21). A mirror image was
expressed in body parts of the arms, legs, ears, eyes, breasts, and
testicles. This image also had the oppositions of left and right, and
upper (boca) and lower (ano). These oppositions are reflected in
the divisions of hanan (upper) and hurin (lower) Cuzco and in the
two halves of each ayllu, which can also be viewed as upper and
lower and left and right (Rostworowski 1988). Perhaps, the upper
and lower dichotomy applies equally to the highland and coastal
religious centers, Titicaca and Pachacamac, respectively. The voice
alone is dissimilar. Thus, these mirrored parts, along with the
addition of one separate voice that functions for both halves,
compose a "Triad," much like that expressed in Christianity
(Rostworowski 1983:22).
Oracles and Religious Centers
Throughout much of their lengthy cultural history native
Andeans have had a great proclivity for oracles and predictions of
the future. No great act was ever undertaken without first
consulting an oracle or soothsayer whose job it was to extract the
palpitating heart of a camelid and predict the future (Zárate [1555]
1933:40). "Sorcerers" even made predictions by divining maize and
llama dung (Molina [1584] 1873:14). Prognostications likewise
were made according to the movement of astral bodies

103
(Rostworowski 1988:208; Santillan [1562] 1950; Anonymous [1615-
21] 1950). The movement of the "Dark Constellations"--the black
voids between the stars and constellations--were quite important,
as well, for predictions and decision making (For a full discussion of
this phenomenon, see Urton 1984:169-191).
The belief in the significance of these celestial movements and
their consequences for native pastoralism and agriculture is made
clear in the following account written by Avila in 1598. Yacana, the
water bearer and the animator of llamas, was seen in one of these
"dark spots." Yacana must drink water from the earth, lest there be
a catastrophic flood. However, if he over-indulges, then there
would be a severe drought. To appease Yacana, men lived by and
tended the springs to ensure that water flowed for both the fields
and the camelids (1991:132-134).
The faithful "traveled as far as 300 leagues" (about 1,200 km.)
to make offerings of gold and silver or to make sacrifices to the idol
at Pachacamac (Figure 3-4). When sacrifices were made, the idol
would "speak" to the servants of the sanctuaries (Estete [1533],
1872:82). It is often stated that offerings and sacrifices made to all
the powerful huacas consisted of many items including: men,
women, and children; both coastal and highland crops, such as coca,
maize, oca, ulluco, llama, chicha, flowers, and herbs (Cobo [1653]
1979; Guarnan Poma de Ayala [1615] 1980; Gomara [1552] 1941;
Pizarro [1533];1872; de la Vega [1609] 1989; Calancha [1639] 1972).
Before the start of the planting season in Cuzco, 100 llamas
and 1,000 cuys [guinea pigs] were sacrificed to the local huaca in
hopes that neither the sun nor water would damage crops (Guarnan

104
Figure 3-4: Major Sacred Huacas (*) of Peru

105
Poma de Ayala [1615] 1980:223). It was said that the practice of
making offerings and sacrifices to the gods was so essential to the
native population that "each month they sacrifice their own
children, and with the blood they anoint the faces of the idols and
the doors of the mosques (temples). The Spaniards found in many
of those temples of the Sun, certain great earthen vessels, full of
dried children, which had been sacrificed" (Zárate [1555] 1933:40).
Since the Spanish were so enamored of justifying their right
to conquer, to rule, and to convert the "Naturales" to Catholicism,
their accounts were sometimes gross exaggerations. At least one
early chronicler relates an entirely different version concerning
human sacrifices. Anonymous [1615-1621] states "pero el mayor
borrón o falso testimonio que Polo [de Ondegardo 1560} dijo de los
Peruanos, fué, que ellos usaron sacrificar hombres adultos y niños
para diversas necesidades" [But the greatest blemish or false
testimony that Polo said about the Peruvians was that they used to
sacrifice adult males and children for diverse necessities]
(1950:140). Such accounts by Polo were his own conjectures,
according to this anonymous 16th century source, because "there
was a very ancient law prohibiting sacrificing of humans or human
blood because it was the cruelest thing and belonged to savages"
(Anonymous 1950:141). Further, when the Incas conquered a
cannibalistic tribe, they ordered the tribe to cease their practices,
under threat of death--"Neither were they allowed to sacrifice
adults nor children" (Anonymous 1950:141)
Offerings were made according to what pleased a particular
god. Huallallo, the god of fire and Pariacaca's (see below) arch

106
rival, had a fondness for the spiny oyster shell (Spondylus Princips)
(Avila 1991:66; Anonymous 1950). However, this mollusk is not
native to the Central Coast of Peru, but it lives in the warmer
waters off the coast of Ecuador. Therefore, Spondylus shells had to
be imported from Ecuador by the Chincha "merchants" who were
conveniently sponsored by the Pachacamac priesthood (Shimada
1991 :xlvi).
There were huacas (houses of adoration) in every province of
Peru (Acosta [1604] Vol. II, 1970:325), and Ondegardo [1560] states
that there were more than 400 of them (1873:154). But,
nevertheless, for centuries, there were only three major religious
centers in the whole of Peru—the Temple of the Sun at Cuzco, the
Temple of the Sun at Titicaca, and the sanctuary at Pachacamac
(Figure 3-4). The latter shrine was considered "the Mecca of South
America (Squier 1877:72). Pachacamac was the only coastal site
where the wealth of the Inca Empire was collected (Hyslop
1986:263). Although there were other noted branch huacas at
Quito, Chincha, and Huamachuco (Rostworowski 1988:208), which
kept portions of the offerings (Burger 1988), the two most powerful
huacas were Pachacamac on the coast and, Titicaca in the sierra
(Rostworowski 1983). On the coast, the natives said that
Pachacamac gave them life; while in the highlands, the Incas said
that Titicaca gave them life (Avila 1991:329).
The importance of these consecrated places is emphasized by
the fact that two of these sanctuaries experienced phases of
substantial rebuilding. After the collapse of the Wari, ca. 700 A.D.,
there was a renaissance at Pachacamac and intensive construction

107
of pyramids with ramps (Shimada 1991:xxxiv), but it was Topa Inca
who built the sumptuous temple at Pachacamac (Cabello Valboa
1955:338). The results must have been impressive because de la
Vega [1609] notes "this temple of Pachacamac was very splendid,
both as regards its buildings and their contents: It was unique in
the whole of Peru ..." (1989:380). Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui rebuilt
the Cuzco shrine in a splendid manner (Cobo 1979:134) and
renamed it Coricancha—the "Enclosure of Gold." This shrine became
the exclusive cult of the Inca Empire and was transmitted to
everyone, but it did not affect the veneration of local huacas
throughout the Andes (Rostworowski 1988:76).
"The religious change in Cuzco did not affect the veneration
given to the multiple huacas and existing idols within the boundary
of the Andes" (Rostworowski 1988:76). In fact, nothing seemed to
deter the indigenous population from worshipping their huacas
because the custom was still very much in force more than 80 years
after the Spanish Conquest and the proselytizing of Catholicism.
Thus, in 1617 began the "Extirpation of Incan Idolatry." For four
years, there was a true mobilization against the surviving idolatrous
rites among the native Peruvians. The hiding places for the huacas
were discovered, and the Spanish destroyed 1,769 principal idols,
7,288 lesser ones and burned 1,365 preserved, venerated bodies of
the ancestral population (Vargas Ugarte Vol. II, 1954:153-158).
"It appears that Pachacamac was the most influential
ceremonial center on the Central Coast and received labor services
and tributes of a wide range of material goods from agricultural
communities and polities on the Central Coast, adjacent highlands,

108
and beyond" (Shimada 1991 :xlii). Pachacamac's status is attested to
by the fact that there are an estimated 60,000-80,000 burials in the
large necropolis partially excavated by Max Uhle in the early 20th
century. The crowding of the cemeteries was attributed to the fact
that so many ancient Peruvians wanted to be buried at Pachacamac.
Highland foods, such as Chuño, ulluco, quinoa, and short-eared
maize, found in the graves at the Sun Temple at Pachacamac, are
possibly good indicators that the sierra people wished to be buried
there (Uhle [1908] 1991:12, 18, 84). According to Zárate [1555], all
principal people were carried to be buried in the province of
Pachancama {Pachacamac} (1933:37).
Since earthquakes and tremors are a common occurrence
along the entire length of the Peruvian littoral (Silgado 1978), the
Pachacamac priests easily extracted considerable quantities of
goods from the people using the threat of Pachacamac causing
earthquakes (Shimada 1991). Offerings of Chicha, Llamas, and
burned cloth were commonly used in an effort to placate the angry
[seismically active] earth (Santillan [1562] 1950:58). Besides goods,
the caretakers of the shrine began to appropriate surplus labor,
which gave even more hegemony to this already powerful site
(Patterson 1985). The natives believed that when Pachacamac was
angry, the earth would shudder; if he were to turn his face to the
side, the earth would quake. But worst of all, if Pachacamac should
move his body, the world would come to an end ("si moviera todo
su cuerpo, el mundo acabada"; Avila 1991:335).
Unfortunately, such severe warnings did not intimate the
Spanish, who had easy access to Pachacamac because it was an

109
important regional religious and political center on the Inca road
system (Hyslop 1986:249). Because the desert and the broken
topography restricted both communication and the trade of
religious items, this road system was extremely important (Lanning
1967). After taking the gold and silver offerings from Pachacamac,
Hernando Pizarro ordered the main vault pulled down (Estete
[1533] 1872:83). "This captain {Hernando Pizarro} knocked down
idols {and} broke the main idol to pieces; this was the one through
which the devil {oracle} spoke" (Cobo 1990:89).
Environmental Stress
Constant Stress
People residing in the high elevations of the Andes are
subjected to a number of constant stresses. With, perhaps, the
exception of the Himalayan Mountains, no where else on earth must
people continually adapt to the environmental stresses of a "not-
over-salubrious climate" (Bandelier 1911:218) with elevated levels
of solar radiation (Acosta Vol I, 1970; Moseley 1992), extreme cold
(Bowman 1968; Murra 1978; "Cold so bitter as to wither the grass
and benumb men and animals alike" Acosta Vol I, 1970:97), high
winds (Acosta Vol I, 1970; Brush 1977), and hypoxia {lack of
oxygen} (Acosta Vol I, 1970; Moseley 1992).
Other environmental factors, such as poor, thin soils (Murra
1978; Donkin 1979; Guillet 1987; Horkheimer 1990), erratic rainfall
and drought (Santa Cruz 1620; Cabello 1981; Lorandi 1986;
Browman 1987; Kolata 1987; Guillet 1987; Moseley 1992), hail
(Acosta Vol I, 1970; Erickson 1987), frost (Bowman 1968; Smith

1 10
1968; Acosta Vol I, 1970; Murra 1978; Cabello 1981; Browman
1987; Erickson 1987; Kolata 1987) short growing seasons, crop
failures (Guillet 1992:173--total crop loss every 3rd year), and
limited farm land, all adversely affect agriculture, and, therefore,
the less than average yields (Mason 1957; Browman 1987:175-
substandard yields in two out of seven years), in turn, often result
in a substandard diet for highland dwellers (Moseley 1992).
Tectonics
The impact of earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tectonic
uplift on early agriculture in general, and on canal building and
maintenance, in particular, is one of the most important aspects of
this problem, especially those events that occur in combination with
a severe El Niño. "Most of the world's tectonic activity—
earthquakes, volcanoes, and mountain building--is concentrated
along plate junctions. The west coast of South America is such a
junction" (James 1993:61). Because Peru sits at the convergence of
two massive plates in the earth's crust--the Nazca and the South
American—"there is considerable seismic activity within the upper
50 km of the overriding South American plate" (Berazangi and
Isacks 1976:686). "Subduction of the Nazca oceanic plate beneath
the South American continental plate makes the western margin of
South America one of the most tectonically active areas of the
world" (Sandweiss 1986:17). There is a wide belt of seismicity that
follows the Peru-Chile Arc for 7,000 km from Venezuela to
southern Chile (Plafker et al. 1971:545).

111
The angle of subduction varies according to the latitude of the
region of Peru or Chile. The nearly flat, subducted Nazca plate has
significant implications regarding the tectonics of the broad Andean
Cordillera since the South American plate slides relatively easily
over the Nazca plate preventing the build-up of a mantle wedge,
which is needed for volcanism. However, at the same time, it is this
lack of the wedge effect and the close proximity of the Nazca plate
to the continental plate that also causes the buckling and uplift of
the Andean Cordillera (Berazangi and Isacks 1979:538, 547).
It is this same subduction and interaction of the two plates
that is the origin of the Central Andes orogeny (mountain growth),
which has continued essentially unchanged from the Mesozoic to
present times (James 1971:3340). The 6 cm/yr. rate of underthrust
of the Nazca plate (James 1993:6) causes a slight vertical
displacement each year. This evidence supports the proposition of
a dynamic Peruvian landscape, which is contrary to the position of
some authors who consider the Peruvian countryside to be static
(see Farrington 1983).
Earthquakes
Unlike Plate Tectonics that produce gradual, almost
unperceptible changes in the Peruvian landscape, earthquakes, on
the other hand, frequently cause spectacular and immediate
alterations of the terrain. "The most molested lands, by
earthquakes, in all of America, are the plains and coasts of this
kingdom of Peru" (Cobo [1653], 1890:213). As two 17th century
travelers remarked, "... indeed a most dreadful circumstance, is

1 12
that of earthquakes, to which this country is so subject, that the
inhabitants are under continual apprehension of being buried in the
ruins of their own houses" (Juan and Ulloa 1975:203). Polo (1904)
estimated that there were more than 2,500 earthquakes in Peru
from the time of the Conquest until the end of the 19th century, and,
furthermore, he adds that there were not many tremors recorded
from 1600-1700 A.D. (1904:323) Earthquakes in the last 400 years
have killed at least 80,000 people in Peru and caused damages in
the tens of billions of dollars (Silgado 1978:8; Figure 3-5).
A greater part of Lima, the "City of Kings," was razed by a
major earthquake in 1586 A.D. (Cobo 1890; Silgado 1978; Rivera
1983). 1590 A.D. was a very bad year for earthquakes—in Lima
and Callao, many houses and business were destroyed (Vargas
Ugarte 1949); Cuzco suffered damages from strong tremors; a strong
quake violently shook Torata and Cananá {villages near Moquegua,
60 km from lio} (Silgado 1978). In 1687, Lima was once again
struck by a huge earthquake which razed most of the Peruvian
coast (Vargas Ugarte 1945:92; Silgado 1978:7). In 1746, most of
Lima was destroyed by an earthquake that lasted three minutes.
As a result of this quake, a big Tsunami destroyed the port city of
Callao that adjoins Lima (Juan and Ulloa 1975:206).
Arequipa has had almost as many severe earthquakes as
Lima. Major quakes seriously damaged Arequipa in 1582 A.D.,
1600 A.D. (including the damage from the eruption of Huayna
Putina), 1604 A.D. (Rivera 1983), 1821 A.D., and 1868 A.D. (Squier
1877:224). The 1604 A.D. earthquake produced a Tsunami at Ilo,
which traveled a kilometer up the Ilo Valley (Cobo 1890). The

113
Figure 3-5: Distribution of Destructive Earthquakes: 1555-1974

1 14
1868 A.D. event caused a tremendous Tsunami with waves 16 m
high at Arica, Chile (Rivera 1983) and destructive waves from this
event even reached the coasts of Japan and Australia (Giesecke and
Silgado 1981). According to Inca tradition, during the reign of Inca
Tupac Yupanqui (1471-1493), a great quake destroyed the
primitive settlement at Arequipa, including all the residents. To
add to the destruction, at about this time, there was also an
eruption of El Misti (Silgado 1978:16).
In Arequipa, 1582 A.D., an earthquake "overthrew the whole
city." This same event caused some village streets to be flooded
because it changed the position of the water table (Silgado
1978:17). The earthquake of 1586 A.D. caused a 27 m high
Tsunami that ran inland for 8 kilometers (Acosta Vol I, 1970:179).
This incident razed a great portion of Lima and caused damages as
far South as lea. At Callao, the sea level raised over a meter {dos
brazos} (Silgado 1978:18).
The damage from the 1604 A.D. event, "el espantoso
terremoto," was no less severe in Moquegua, 60 km upslope from
Ilo, than it was in Arequipa. The earth opened up in many places,
and there were rivers of foul-smelling, black water. The nearby
settlements of Torata and Tumilaca were razed. Severely affecting
the agriculture, the springs suddenly stopped flowing (Cobo
1890:220). Such tectonic activity probably affects spring sources
which are nearer to the coast more than those farther inland
because during the 17th century, there was an abundance of springs
near Lima when the water table was only 4-5 feet below the
surface (Juan and Ulloa 1975:219). Adding to this drop in the

1 15
phreatic level could be a drier climate which could also affect the
drop in the water table at Lima, such as it has done in southern
Peru (Clement and Moseley 1991). Possibly continual tectonic uplift
has also affected the lowering of the water table (Moseley and
Feldman 1984).
A great quake hit Trujillo in 1619 A.D. (Cobo 1890:226) and
uplifted beachlines along the mouth of the Moche Valley (Nials et al.
1979). The damage was such that the inhabitants of the Santa
Valley were forced to evacuate (Vargas Ugarte 1949:92). Cuzco was
almost totally destroyed by the quake of 1650 A.D. (Cobo 1890:226;
Torres Book IV, 1972:746).
Earthquakes are not exclusively a Peruvian phenomenon. As
early as 1539 in Ecuador, a "marvelous, great earthquake occurred—
the ground opened up in many places and swallowed up more than
500 houses." Accompanying this deplorable event was "rain with a
tempest of lightening and thunder" (Zárate 1933:152).
In 1581, Chile suffered an earthquake so terrible that "it
overturned mountains . . . blocking rivers and creating lakes . . . and
beat down towns" (Acosta Vol. I, 1970:179). A dreadful earthquake
in 1730 in Chile caused heavy damage as far South as Santiago. The
city of Talcagua was totally inundated by a huge Tsunami as a
result of the earthquake (Juan and Ulloa 1975:233).
Earthquakes not only destroy personal property, but they also
can devastate irrigation canals, and can destroy the soil fertility.
For example, the great quake of 1687 split the earth, releasing
sulfurous clouds, whose precipitation altered the soil fertility so

116
much that sugar cane would no longer grow in the fields
surrounding Lima (Juan and Ulloa 1975).
Tectonic Uplift
Prehistoric tectonics are also responsible for reshaping the
Peruvian landscape by stranding beaches several kilometers from
the ocean (Richardson 1983; Moseley et al. 1992). Total uplift since
500 B.C. is estimated at between 6-8 meters (Nials et al. 1979:8).
Some authors do not totally agree with this statement. One study
suggests that there is no evidence of Holocene tectonic uplift
demonstrated in the Casma Valley (Wells 1988, 1990). Yet,
Pozorski et al. (1983) state that the Casma Valley fossil bay, which
sits 2-3 m above present sea level, could be the product of a change
in sea level and/or tectonic activity (1983:408). Perhaps a change
in sea level affected this fossil bay because Cardenas (1979) states
there is evidence of a sea level drop, after sea stabilization, at the
fossil bay of Salina de Chao where the sea receded almost 4
kilometers (1979:5). However, since the present sea level has
remained basically unchanged since sea stabilization ca. 5000 B.P.
(Rollins et al. 1986), tectonic activity seems the more likely catalyst
for the uplift of this particular fossil bay.
Uplifted prehistoric marine terraces are evident in many
regions of along the Peruvian coast. One marine terrace at
Wawakiki, about 5 km from Pocoma, is over 100 meters above
current sea level. The marine terraces at the Majes Valley, North of
the Ilo Valley, have been uplifted 500 m since the Pliocene. The
uplift was not uniform since there are three "notches" or steps

1 17
visible. The effect of the uplift is that the Majes River has downcut
through these Pliocene deposits and formed an extensive delta from
them (Bowman 1968:227).
Although this same non-uniform uplift is visible in the
positions of the three large marine terraces along the coast at Ilo,
recent studies at the Ring Site near Ilo establish that the rate of
tectonic uplift is gradual being only 0.1 m per 1,000 years
(Sandweiss et al. 1989). Thus, the Ilo coastline has risen only 1
meter in the last 10,000 years since the Ring Site was first occupied.
This uplift rate is smaller compared to the Quaternary uplift along
the rest of the coast of southern Peru and Chile, which has been
calculated at 0.1 m to 0.5 m per millennia (Richardson et al. 1990).
Although the sea-level has risen 35-40 m in the last 10,000 years
(Dillon and Oldale 1978), this rise in elevation does not affect the
interpretation of the relationship between the Ring Site and its
immediate environment (Richardson et al. 1990).
Volcanic Eruptions
Since Peru sits on a convergence zone where the Nazca Plate
collides with the South American Plate, Peru is not only one of the
most seismically active areas in the world, but it also has a number
of active volcanoes, which sit opposite the regions of steep (30°)
subduction (Pitcher et al. 1985:12). Cobo exclaims "Volcanoes are a
plague and a calamity for the coastal plains and the sierra" (Mateos
Book II, 1956:95). Even neighboring Ecuador has had its share of
volcanic eruptions. Quito was devastated by a violent volcanic

1 1 8
eruption in 1576, and people had to stay indoors because of the
heavy ash (Acosta Vol. I, 1970:175).
Perhaps, one of most destructive eruptions of all times
occurred in February 14, 1600 A.D. when Huayna Putina violently
exploded (Mateos Book II, 1956:96). Huayna Putina was the most
violent volcanic eruption in the Central Andes during historical
times, that ejected 1 km3 of material into the atmosphere (Bouysse-
Cassagne and Bouysse 1984:47). The volcano erupted and covered
the city {Arequipa} with ash and sand "que a medio dia pareció
noche oscura" {so that at midday, it seemed like the dark night}
(Calancha [1639] 1972:415). "For 30 days, people were unable to
see the sun, the moon, or the stars" (Guarnan Poma de Ayala [1615]
1980:973; Figure 3-6). For hours the "dry rain" fell and "darkened
the air so that night and day were the same for little less than a
month" (Torres [1600] Book II, 1972:79). For four days, the
Arequepeñas also experienced violent earthquakes and more than
200 tremors. Rivers were clogged with rocks and the volcanic ash
was level with the fields. Lakes as large as 6 leagues (15 miles)
were formed, and when the rock and earthen dam breached, all the
trees, vineyards, olive groves, and other agricultural products were
totally washed away. Springs and smaller rivers became dry. The
city was filled with many people who either died or were severely
debilitated by hunger and thirst (Torres [1600] Book 1,1972:79-80;
Vargas Ugarte 1949:449).
Volcanic ash was carried as far as 300 leagues (750 miles)
(Torres [1600] Book I, 1972:80). Arica, Chile, about 500 km
Southeast of Arequipa, was also covered by the Huayna Putina ash

119
\»fi
ciVMD .
Figure 3-6: Arequipa During Huayna Putina Eruption

120
(Figure 3-7). In Moquegua and Torata, about 150 km from Huayna
Putina, ash caused the loss of much property and the sterilization of
farmland (Kuon Cabello 1985:35, 136). Volcanic ash covered
"everything from the cordillera to the coast" (Vargas Ugarte
1949:575). Instead of rain, "polvo triste" {sad dust} fell from the
sky on Lima (Torres [1600] Book II, 1972:690).
El Niño Rains and Floods
In any given year, the rainfall and temperatures of a
specific area are governed by a worldwide system of
atmospheric circulation whose patterns are determined
by the world budget of energy. Hence every local
episode of climatic change great enough to leave
archaeological evidence of its economic effect in the form
of alteration of ground water conditions, of vegetation,
and, ultimately, of fauna, indicates some modulation in
the total world climatic system (Paulsen 1977:121).
What better event to cause such an alteration and leave
irrefutable evidence of its occurrence in the archaeological record
than a strong El Niño perturbation? Since climate is mostly
independent of human existence, any major shift in climate should
affect a cultural system in ways that are readily recognizable to
archaeologists as changes of subsistence, population size and
density, settlement location, trade and artifact assemblage (Paulsen
1977).
Since sea stabilization about 5000 B.P. (Richardson 1983), the
modern climatic regime has been in place, and it is believed, based
on the incursion of warm water mollusks, that the El Niño
phenomenon has been occurring since about this time (Rollins et al.

121
x°rt
CíVl^ll
(U a
Figure 3-7: Arica During Huayna Putina Eruption

122
1986). However, evidence from the Quebrada Las Conchas in Chile
suggests that El Niños may have occurred as early as 9000 B.P.
(Elera et al. 1992). Wells (1987) would probably agree with this
early date because she states that the flood plain stratigraphy of
the Rio Casma suggests that the El Niño phenomenon has occurred
throughout the last ten thousand years (1987:1134), because the
distribution of warm water mollusks indicates that warm water
incursions have happened during the entire Holocene (1987:1135).
Further, she states that the warm water mollusks are "common to
quiet restricted marine environments (lagoons and estuaries), and
that they occur in association with cold-water open-marine fauna in
early lithic archaeological sites near Casma ..." (Wells
1987:14,463). Wells even has potential evidence from Rio Seco that
might suggest that El Niños have occurred since 40,000 B.P.
(1987:14,467).
To date, the most reliable means for recording paleoclimate
change seems to come from the deep ice cores from the Quelccaya
Glacier in southern Peru (Thompson et al. 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988),
one of only two ice caps existing in the Tropics (Mercer and Palacios
1977). This is vital work because "archaeological evidence, when
compared to ice cores, suggests that periods of flourishing highland
cultures appear during periods when mountains are wetter than
average, and coastal cultures flourish when mountains are drier
than usual" (Thompson 1992:311).
In addition, some work is now being done with the weather
changes recorded in tropical coral formations, which contain a
thousand year record of the changes in growth, and cadmium and

123
calcium content which are affected by the El Niño anomalies. The
cadmium/calcium ratios in corals from the Galapagos Islands, for
example, correlate well with the 1965-1979 weather anomalies.
However, for some reason corals were unaffected by nutrient
limitations during the Little Ice Age (150-450 B.P.), which has led
some to question whether El Niño is a persistent feature influencing
the eastern tropical Pacific during the past few millennia (Enfield
1989:180-181).
Cobo [1639] speaks of a huge inundation which destroys all
the houses in one quarter of Lima in 1578 (Mateos 1956:311).
Normally it is very dry, "but, in years when northern and easterly
winds blow, then it rains." In 1578, in Trujillo, "it rained
abundantly; the which they had not seen in many ages before"
(Acosta [1604] Vol. I, 1970:167). Testimonies from the 16th century
Caciques [local native rulers] concerning this flood yield enough
information to conclude that this "diluvio” was easily the most
catastrophic event of the 16th century. Floods inundated and razed
the entire region of northern Peru and produced a severe,
widespread famine (Alcocer 1987).
Surely these accounts do not exaggerate the devastation, since
a modern evaluation of this particular event rates it as "very
strong," the highest category of heavy rains and devastation (Quinn
et al. 1986:18). Cabello Valboa [1586] writes about the great
inundation of 1576 (he most likely means 1578) that totally ruined
Trujillo. "It was no less than any other flood that has occurred in
the world. Ten years after the inundation, people still had not fully
recovered from the damages" (1955:223-224).

124
Acosta (Vol. I, 1970) states that some observe that quakes
usually happened when a rainy year occurs after several dry years.
With reference to the 1581 earthquake, he states that a village near
La Paz, Bolivia, was suddenly raised up and carried away, with
many natives being smothered. Land slid, "like water or molten
wax," for 7 km (1970:181).
Sometimes highland floods are caused by an inordinate snow
melt during the Spring thaw. Zárate (1933) mentions such a flood
that totally drowned one town because the force was so great that
"it carried stones bigger than any millstone down the streams like a
cork" (1933:97). One of the greatest natural disasters ever recorded
in Peru was the result, not of an El Niño, but of the 1970 (7.7
Richter) earthquake that dislodged part of a glacier from the slope
of Huascarán. The resultant rock, debris, and ice flood drowned and
entombed at least 17,000 inhabitants of the town of Yungay
(Oliver-Smith 1986) and was probably the most destructive
landslide of this century (Keefer 1984). The avalanche involved
50-100 million cubic meters of debris that traveled 14 km to
Yungay at an average velocity of between 280-335 km per hour.
The quake affected 83,000 km2 (ONI 1971:15) and 80% of all
structures, within the afflicted areas, were rendered uninhabitable
(Plafker et al. 1971:543). Additionally, in Huaraz, nearly 20,000
more people died as the result of this same earthquake (Dudadik
1978).
Concerning the coast, "the only mechanism of massive erosion
in this desert region are the El Niños ..." (Richardson 1983:275).
Because of the massive amounts of materials moved from the land

125
into the ocean, El Niños have been identified as one of the sources
contributing to the buildup of massive sand dune ridges in the
Santa Valley (Richardson 1983; Rollins et al. 1986; Sandweiss 1986;
Moseley et al. 1992). Only the Santa, Chira, and Piura Rivers carry
enough sediments to sustain beach ridge development (Ortlieb et al.
1992:217) However, some believe that it is high waves from
southeastern Pacific storms that build the beach ridges (Craig
1992:55).
Flood Studies Conducted in Peru
Introduction
Spanish Colonial records help to augment the archaeological
record of Peru, especially where it concerns the Inca and their far-
reaching empire of Tahuantinsuyu. Unfortunately, since the
Spanish did not recognize Pre-Inca conditions with regards to any
legal claims by the native population, these records are of limited
use when investigating earlier times (Moseley 1992). The same can
be said for early chroniclers and clerics who made some mention of
large inundations in Peru which occurred during the 16th and 17th
centuries. However, when the events under study are prehistoric,
the archaeologist must rely heavily on the flood deposits and
profiles left by these early inundations.
Previous Flood Studies
Until now there have been only a few previous studies of
prehistoric floods in Peru, and these have focused mainly on the
north coast. The far-South of Peru has been almost totally ignored

126
archaeologically except for some work done in the 1950s by Ghersi
(1958). However, with the creation of the Programa Contisuyu in
1982, the area around Ilo has come under intense archaeological
investigation. As a part of this new area of scholarship, this current
study is the first to concentrate on the impact of a prehistoric flood
event, of inordinate proportions, on a local ancient population living
on the far-southern coast of Peru.
Moore (1988, 1991) analyzed the flood record left in the
prehistoric ridged fields of the Casma River Valley. Although it has
been proposed that these specialized agricultural surfaces were
built to augment total agrarian output from irrigation systems
(Pozorski et al. 1983), there is little evidence to support the idea
since there are scant storage facilities in the Casma Valley. Moore
(1988) believes that the agricultural structures "reflect a period of
markedly high precipitation and runoff from a 14th century El Niño"
(1988:273). This is most likely the same flood event that was
recorded and studied in the Ilo area by this author. The Casma
Valley ridged field system may be a part of the Chimu's post-flood
agricultural strategy to drain the water-logged lands, which were
presumably more productive than marginal lands (1988:274).
The effects of this 14th century event greatly disrupted the
total Chimu agricultural system. "The crippling of the canal system
by flooding apparently acted as a catalyst for a change in Chimu
{agricultural} strategy" (Pozorski 1987:118). Because of the vast
labor force available to the Chimu empire, some of the canal system
could have been rebuilt and used after the flood. Since there was a
loss of the marginal lands, most likely because from direct flood

127
damage, the Chimu formed additional military units and conquered
the coastal land to the North and to the South from which tribute
could be extracted to offset the lost agricultural production
(Pozorski 1987). This is in stark contrast to the small Chiribaya
polity which, after the 14th century flood, presumably did not have
enough people either to rebuild their canal system or to invade
another polity.
The Prehistoric Flood Record in Northern Peru
One of the earliest well-documented floods in Peru occurred
in the first millennia A.D., causing the abandonment of the Moche V
ceremonial city of Pampa Grande around 700 A.D. (Craig and
Shimada 1986; Shimada 1990). This date might be a little late
according to evidence from the ice cores of Quelccaya Glacier. Dust
particles captured within the glacial ice indicate a prolonged 32-
years-drought from 562-594 A.D. (Thompson et al. 1985; Shimada
et al. 1991; see Martin et al. 1992 concerning a severe drought ca.
600 A.D.). On the south coast of Peru, mudflows cover all the
Paracas-Nazca cultural materials (Gradzicki 1992:119), and, thus,
these deposits could have been from the same flood and deposited
sometime between 500-600 A.D.
Batan Grande, in the La Leche Valley, was abandoned ca. 1100
A.D. because of one of the largest and most devastating floods in
Peruvian prehistory. While the coast was being inundated, the
highlands were enduring an extended drought of 30 years duration
around 1020-1050 A.D. (Thompson et al. 1984, 1985, 1986). There
is also evidence at Pacatnamú that a major El Niño inundation

128
occurred at this time. The site was abandoned following the flood
and later reoccupied, as can be seen by the entirely new brick type
used in construction and the different ceramic assemblage (Donnan
1987, 1990).
The legend of Fempellac's (or Chimu) flood (see Chapter 2)
was undoubtedly based on this appalling event. Fempellac, a 12th
generation ruler succeeding the founder, Nyamlap, (Cabello Vargas
1951:38), lived around 1100 A.D. (Donnan 1990:270). This same
flood is recorded at Sican in the Lambeyeque Valley and is dated,
according to intrusive Middle Sican burials, to around 1000 A.D. By
1100 A.D., much of the complex was abandoned (Craig and Shimada
1986:30, 36). Nials et al. (1979) date this event to "within a
century of 1100 A.D." (Part 11:9). The new Moche V site of Galindo
was founded partially because of the flood after Moche IV and
before the introduction of red, white, and black Chimu ceramics in
the Early Chimu Period (Donnan and Mackey 1978), thus, placing
the date for the flood at about 1100 A.D. (Moseley and Deeds
1982:39).
There is some confusion among scholars as to when
Fempellac's Flood occurred. Pozorski (1987) believes that the flood
happened around 1300 A.D. based on the 14C data from the Casma
Valley, and the fact that Cabello Valboa (1955) mentions a powerful
"Chimo Capac" {Chimu leader} taking post-flood control of the
Lambeyeque Valley after the flood. This date of 1300 A.D. is a
vague possibility since it is around this time that the monstrous
Miraflores Event, near Ilo in far-southern Peru, is dated (1350 A.D.
+/- 45 PITT 0948; Satterlee 1991).

1 29
Although the Basal Sequence contains thicker deposits, the
Miraflores Flood left some of the deeper flood deposits, for a single
event, found in Southern Peru, and, further, this flood covered quite
an extensive region. Therefore, its flood surge on the north coast
could have been truly astounding. Therefore, it should have
obliterated any smaller, earlier flood signatures in the Casma
Valley, including those from an 1100 A.D. event, since the Casma is
a much smaller drainage than is the Lambeyeque.
Wells (1988) interprets the 14C dates of 1325 A.D. +/- 45
(SMU-1940), and 1380 A.D. +/- 140 (SMU-1669) as representing an
approximate date of 1330 A.D. +/- 35 for the occurrence of a major
El Niño. Wells (1990) offers additional possible 14C dates of 1330
A.D. +/- 60 (ETH-3916) and 1376 A.D. +/- 135 (SMU 1669) that may
correspond to this same flood event. "This 1330 A.D. date correlates
with the radiocarbon dates for the flood event which destroyed the
Chimu canal system North of Chan Chan" (Moore 1991:38; see also
Pozorski 1987).
Since similar flood deposits were identified in front of the
Huaca de la Luna, overlying Moche phase archaeological deposits
(Nials et al. 1979:7), the 1100 A.D. date for Fempellac's Flood seems
more realistic. According to a recent article by Ortloff and Kolata
(1992) there should have been two major El Niño perturbations that
transpired in 1100 A.D. and 1300 A.D., respectively. Morner (1992)
claims that Peruvian beach ridges, elevated levels of atmospheric
C02, and some glacial advances all point to a Super-ENSO around
1100-1200 A.D. (1992:204). Evidence from Pachacamac on the
Central Coast also indicates a major event ca. 1100 A.D. (Paredes

130
and Ramos 1992:225). Had Fempellac's Flood occurred in the late
14th century, there probably should be Chimu cultural materials
underlying and/or mixed with the flood deposits since the Chimu
Culture had already been in existence for 300 years.
Part of the confusion may result in the misinterpretation of
Holocene flood deposits. "Episodes of destabilization and
restabilization of vast quantities of arid land mass in motion during
the last 5,000 years are of 'Pleistocene' magnitude but are mistaken
for geological products of glacial episodes" (Moseley et al.
1981:239). It is true that some Pleistocene flood surges reached
leviathan proportions (greater than 18 million cubic meters per
second), but they usually left easily identifiable features such as
flood-scoured channels, giant sand bars, or huge gravel wave trains
(Baker et al. 1993:348). Since the northern Peruvian river valleys
lack such features, the deposits in question are probably the result
of massive El Niño flooding.
The Prehistoric Flood Record in the Ilo Valley and in the Coastal
Quebradas Near Ilo. Far-Southern Peru
The Ilo Valley flood record can be divided into discrete flood
sequences (Figure 3-8). The 1992 El Niño is the smallest and most
recent of these events, which left small mudflows in the bottom of
some rills and larger quebradas. Traces of adobe-like debris from
the 1982-83 event can be seen plastered against the lower walls of
the normally dry coastal quebradas. Further evidence of its
occurrence is also visible on the dry floodplain of the Ilo Valley.
The next noticeable flood is the very large post-1600 A.D. Chuza

131
D.R.S. 1993
Figure 3-8: Sequence of Flood Events in the Ilo Valley (Not to Scale)

132
Event, which was first identified in 1989 at the Chuza Quebrada
located on the coast about 12 km North of Ilo (Figure 3-9). The
Chuza flood signature is composed of silt, sand, thousands of 1-5 cm
angular rock fragments, and a few large rocks up to 60 cm in size.
These materials are found in a stratum varying from 1-2 meters in
depth. The Chuza deposits are characteristically brown in color,
which is derived from the materials of the Volcanic Chocolate
Formation that is prevalent throughout the Moquequa Drainage
(Bollido and Guevara 1963).
Although the Chuza Flood has, until now, not been dated using
14C, it probably occurred in 1607 A.D. during a significant El Niño
Event (Quinn et al. 1986). The reason that this event left such deep
deposits was the fact that it was preceded by major tectonic activity
associated with the eruption of Huayna Putina, in 1600 A.D. (Vargas
Ugarte 1949; Mateos [1639] Book II, 1956; Torres [1600] Book I,
1979; Guarnan Poma de Ayala [1615] 1980) and again in 1604 A.D.
(Cobo [1653] 1890; Squier 1877; Silgado 1978). Some authors
disagree that 1607 A.D. is a probable date for this large El Niño, and
they claim that 1624 A.D. would be a more accurate date
(Hocquenghem and Ortlief 1992:147).
However, the 1624 A.D. date for the El Niño that produced the
Chuza Flood does not seem correct for the following reasons. The
1604 A.D. terremoto was an event of phenomenal proportions. The
effects of this cataclysm were felt for 1650 km North to South, and
structures of all types were destroyed in the Peruvian cities of
Arequipa, Moquegua, Tacna and in Arica, Chile (Silgado 1978; Kuon
Cabello 1985). Its magnitude was estimated at an astounding 8.4

133
Figure 3-9: lio Coastline

134
on the Richter Scale (Silgado 1978:127). An event of this scope
would have caused mass wasting and shaken and dislodged more
than ample materials for water transport by El Niño rains. There
was a 1615 A.D. tremor, which caused damages in both Tacna, Peru,
and in Arica, Chile, but there were no damages recorded for this
event in either Ilo or Moquegua (Kuon Cabello 1985). Furthermore,
it was not a major event like the 1604 A.D. earthquake Therefore,
Hocquenghem and Ortliefs (1992) claim for a date of 1624 A.D. for
the El Niño which produced the Chuza Flood, does not appear to be
accurate. Further, there was a strong El Niño event in 1618-19 A.D.
which should have washed away any loosened materials from the
1615 A.D. quake. Therefore, unless the 1624 A.D. event were a rare
Mega-Niño, which might occur every 500 or so years (Sandweiss
1986; Ortlieb et al. 1992), there should not have been enough loose
materials to provide a massive flood signature.
At least one author (Morner 1992) claims that there have
been even rarer super-ENSO events, lasting 100-150 years, which
have transpired about 16 times since the Holocene Period.
However, there may not be records of such events in Peru since
"major climatic changes and shifts, on the order of decades and
centuries are found to be regionally induced, not globally induced
(Morner 1992:202, 203).
Beneath the Chuza Event deposits is a 1-3 cm layer of volcanic
tephra deposited by the eruption of Huayna Putina from February
19 to March 6, 1600 A.D. (Thompson et al. 1986). This ash layer
serves as a chronological marker separating the detritus of the two

135
largest late Holocene flood events—Chuza and Miraflores—found in
the lower Osmore and upper Moquegua Drainages.
Below the volcanic ash are the deposits from the Miraflores
Event, an episode named after a coastal quebrada about 6 km North
of the Chuza Quebrada (Figure 3-9). This gargantuan event
deposited 2-6 meters of silt, sand, riverine gravel, and small
cobbles throughout the Osmore drainage. When the 1982-83 debris
is compared to that of the Miraflores Event, the recent flood looks
like a mere trickle. Comparing the depths of the deposits from
these two events, the Miraflores Event could have been 10-20 times
stronger than the 1982-83 event, which was the strongest event of
the 20th century (Figure 3-10).
The characteristic pinkish color of the Miraflores Flood is
probably derived from the Inferior Moquegua Formation, near the
town of Moquegua, which is composed of sands and clays, shading
from grey to pink, and pinkish feldspars and quartzes. Another
source of this same colored material could also be the very large
Quebrada Seca de Guaneros, which is composed primarily of pink
sands and clays, that intersects with the Rio Osmore (Bollido
1979:36-37).
The earliest deposits visible in the flood record are those of
the Basal Sequence (BS), which actually represents generations of
prehistoric floods, some of which may have been as large or even
larger than the Miraflores Flood. The BS deposits include large
boulders, 20-50 cm in length, suspended in a matrix of well-
consolidated slightly pinkish silt and sand, which occurs in depths
varying from two to eight and a half meters. Unfortunately, at this

o
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
110
120
130
140
150
160 â– 
170
180
190
200
210
220
230
240
Cm.
t y ' • ,J¡ ' -i ' ' • ' * ' • i '
", v’v> “ C f * Y A" K
k * 4 4 • t «r_ k *4 rj »
r * /'4 ^ * 1 V *
¿ A w ^
,■ •
^ ^ ———- ^ i
K^i'tYYcYY 7
• " : •' '.••'• <2
4
<2S
• 4
Second Surge
of Chuza
- Deposits
from
lateral
Quebrada
Aeolian
Deposits
First Surge
of Chu/a
— Deposits
from
lateral
(¿pebrada
Aeolian
/ Deposits
lluayna
/Putina
Ash
Carbon
I.ayer
. Organic
layer
Miradores
Deposits
from
llo River
Miradores
Deposits
from
lateral
(¿pebrada
ESS
* Fine
Sand
=* Coarse
Sand
¡ggj.R°cks
IlIII I = Clay
* Silty
Sand
= Sandy
Silt
TO ml = Vegetal
TO ^1 Refuse
vvvv = Volcanic
Ash (HP)
Figure 3-10: Geologic Column #1 at Planting Surface #1
1982-83
El Niño
Miraflores
Deposits
Intrusive
/ Sand Lenses
Basal
Sequence
136

137
time, it is impossible to effectively separate and to date each event
within the Basal Sequence.
Analogous to the Nials et al. (1979) interpretation of flood
deposits in the Moche Valley, if subsequent downcutting of the
quebrada channel has occurred since the Miraflores Flood, then this
result would make other later floods, such as the Chuza Event,
appear to be smaller in volume because the channel would be
deeper and, thus, hold more flood materials. Further, as has been
suggested concerning large flood events elsewhere in Peru (Nials et
al. 1979; Wells 1987), the inordinate size of the Chuza Event
obliterated all the evidence of any earlier, smaller El Niño floods
that may have reached far-southern Peru during the late 14th
century until the early 17th century. For example, to date, there
have been no indications found in the geoarchaeological record of
the strong El Niños of 1541, 1552, 1567-68, or 1578 A.D. (Quinn et
al. 1986). These same particulars hold true likewise for the 1982-
83 El Niño deposits which expunged the deposits from both the
1891 and 1925-26 event, which were sizable perturbations.
Conclusion
Without written records to assist us, we must fully
comprehend the complex cultural development of Peru in order to
accurately interpret the archaeological record of the geographical
region. Drawing upon the knowledge derived from the previous
archaeological studies, we can only then slowly piece together the
puzzle of Peruvian Prehistory.

138
Humans in diverse geographical localities have relied heavily
on agriculture for millennia, with relative success for the most part,
but it is in the hyperarid regions of the globe, such as Peru, that the
technology of irrigation agricultural reached its zenith of
refinement. Developing, maintaining, and sustaining a viable
agricultural system in one of the world's driest deserts is no small
feat for humankind. Compounding the constant adversities of
desert and highland living, such as lack of rainfall, heavy frosts, and
hypoxia, are the stochastic stresses of earthquakes, volcanic
eruptions, tectonic uplift, and El Niño deluges.
Living under such conditions with a myriad of uncertainties,
humans usually create some type of religion to help explain
unnatural occurrences, to validate the controlling forces in the
Cosmos and ancestral spirits, and to reinforce humans' ability to
cope with their own frailties (Keesing 1981). Thus, Prehistoric
Peruvians conceptualized and created a religion rife with gods
which supposedly controlled the rain, springs and rivers, and
huacas which could be venerated in the many oracle centers built
as homes for these special ethereal entities. All this human energy
was expended in a vain effort to forestall the inevitable calamities
which occur sporadically in many locations of Peru.
The people hoped that this religion could assuage the hurt and
torment which must follow each catastrophe, for undoubtedly,
death and debilitation from natural calamities have been constant
companions of the Peruvians since they first settled along the coast
and in the highlands of their native land. Developing a native risk
management system which entailed growing many native

139
domesticates on terraces in different ecological zones, sharing food
stuffs and other life-sustaining necessities with their ayllu
members, and developing an equitable water management strategy,
ancient Andeans enjoyed a better diet than does the modern
population of Peru. Combining camelid pastoralism with a highly
sophisticated irrigation technology, second to none on our planet,
prehistoric Peruvians did a masterful job of surmounting the
vagaries of their environment.
Incorporating data from previous flood studies has allowed
me to more fully understand and interpret the sometimes confusing
archaeological record encountered during the course of my
investigations. Although the general preservation in Peru of many
cultural materials, such as ceramics, textiles, and botanical remains
is much better than in many other areas, and the preservation of
human remains is exceptional, the flood record is sometimes biased
toward the more spectacular, gargantuan flood events because of
differential preservation. Some time will probably pass before
future investigators can fully delineate and definitively date the
two major flood events, Chuza and Miraflores, whose deposits are
found in the flood record throughout the Ilo Valley and the
neighboring coastal quebradas, including Carrizal, Miraflores, and
Pocoma. Hopefully I will be able to play some small role in the
continuing archaeological efforts to unravel the mystery of the
fascinating archaeology of Peru.

CHAPTER 4
METHODS
Introduction
The methods utilized during the course of this investigation
included a number of common archaeological and geoarchaeological
techniques which allowed this investigator to obtain the maximum
amount of information about fairly large, widely separated
geographical areas in the shortest possible time. Investigations in
1990, 1991, and 1992 involved: 1) Using a field survey to search
for potential sites and to ascertain the extent of flood damage done
to occupational and agricultural areas in the Ilo Valley and in the
coastal quebradas; 2) Excavating units (one by one meter pits) in
occupational and agricultural terraces, and, occasionally, in
irrigation canals; 3) Cleaning and drawing profiles of flood deposits
and drawing cross-sections of irrigation canals; 4) Mapping units,
trenches, and geologic columns; 5) Processing and analyzing of
artifacts in the laboratory; 6) Searching for and collecting carbon or
vegetal debris for the future 14C dating of occupations and of flood
events when funds become available to do so; and 7) Making
computer maps, profiles, and illustrations from the detailed
drawings made in the field.
140

141
Field Survey
Preliminary investigations began in the summer of 1990,
when the author spent most of the time studying the flood impact
on the irrigated agricultural system built by the Chiribaya Culture
apparently sometime around 1000 A.D. (Moseley et al. 1992). Much
of the time was devoted to pedestrian survey, (and sometimes
"windshield survey" from a 4-wheel drive Toyota), of the entire
length of the 9 km-long canal system (Figure 4-1), assessing the
damages and looking for potential sites for profiling and excavating.
It was obvious that the flood debris from the lateral quebradas had
severely damaged the whole canal system by covering the
agricultural terraces and the main irrigation canal along the entire
extent of the system. Overbank sediments also covered the lower
agricultural areas at Planting Surfaces 1 and 2 (#236 and #215,
respectively, as designated by Owen 1991), which lie 3-5 meters
above the flood plain. Since digging permits were unavailable for
this area, excavations were limited to some shovel testing and very
small probes using only a trowel. During the field season, some
time was also spent doing a preliminary survey of the coastal
quebradas.
Because the 1991 season (July) in Peru was brief, emphasis
was placed on the recovery of carbon from the flood deposits for
dating purposes and conducting some additional surveys of the Ilo
Valley. Supplemental surveys of the coastal quebradas were
conducted in an effort to determine which of these locations would
provide the best comparative data that could be used to reconstruct
the most complete scenario of the prehistoric flood. Further, these

142
Original
Canal
Quebrada
2nd
Canal
(#266)
Tomb
Original Sites
Canal'
Quebrada '
(#236)
1st Planting
Surface I
(#215)
2nd Planting
Surface 1
Original
Canal
- Osmore
River
Quebrada
s
Osmore
River
0 250 500 1000
Meters
D.R.S. 1993
Figure 4-1: Ilo Valley-Lower Osmore Drainage

143
data would hopefully shed some light on what happened to the
Chiribaya Culture during and shortly after the Miraflores Flood.
In 1992, I once again returned to Peru to devote the whole
summer (June to August) to the investigation of the three
quebradas which I had chosen as the best locations to test my
hypothesis that the Miraflores Flood had ultimately led to the
demise of the Chiribaya Culture. In addition to excavating, much
time was consumed doing pedestrian survey of the upper reaches
of the individual quebradas looking for canal remnants, agricultural
surfaces, cultural remains, and flood debris.
Unit Excavations
Unit excavations were conducted using the same methods at
each location. Most test units, measuring one meter square, (lxl
meter) were oriented on a North/South axis and strung with nylon
string secured at each corner of the unit with a large spike.
Excavating was done using arbitrary 10 cm levels, and all sand and
dirt was sifted through a screen with 1/4 inch hardware cloth.
Since most of the flood deposits were highly compacted because of
high sea-salt content from the ocean fogs and breezes, the dirt had
to be excavated using a pick and then broken apart before
screening. Recovered materials that were durable items were
bagged and labeled for later cleaning and identification in the field
laboratory in Ilo. Other delicate items, such as textiles and
botanical remains, were wrapped in aluminum foil to enhance
preservation.

144
When possible in locations where several unit were required
because of spatial relationships, all units were oriented along a
transect using a magnetic heading of NNW (330°) or due West
(270°) starting from a datum point. The purpose of this technique
is to make the location of excavated units easily accessible to future
investigators. Such units were utilized when excavating domestic
terraces, agricultural terraces, and, in a few cases, irrigation canals.
Spacing of the units depended upon the size of the area under
investigation. For example, at the Miraflores Quebrada, one meter
square units were placed on five meter centers between the two
large, sunken, quadrangular features, (6 x 8 m and 8 x 10 m,
respectively). This method allowed the investigator to cover as
much of the occupation area as possible without missing too many
important diagnostic materials.
Trenches
Since the prehistoric irrigation canals usually have an outer,
mortarless stone-faced retaining wall, a narrow trench, about 30 cm
wide, proved to be the most effective method of excavating these
structures. Such trenches rarely need be more than 40-50 cm in
depth in order to reveal the stratigraphy of the canal. Figure 4-2 is
the profile drawing of the trench cut through the #2 High Canal at
the Pocoma Quebrada, and it shows the aeolian surface sand and
dust, the 1982-83 El Niño deposits, and the contour of a possible
Spanish Colonial canal (heavier line) cut into the Chuza deposits,
which overlie the Miraflores sheet wash. Apparently, after the

145
Aeolian
- Deposits
1982-83
- Deposits
Historic
Canal
Chuza
Deposits
Miraflores
Deposits
Centimeters
= Fine
Sand
= Coarse
y.v¿- Sand
= Silty
° °o°
-III
Sand
°OOoU
= Sandy
Silt
:::::
(7
= Pebbles
= Rock
Frags
= Rocks
Figure 4-2: #2 High Canal-North Side of Pocoma Quebrada

146
1607 A.D. Chuza Event filled the colonial canal, the tenders of the
olive groves carved out a new irrigation canal in an effort to salvage
their trees growing on the north side of the quebrada.
Figure 4-3 is the profile drawing of a trench in the #1 Low
Canal also at Pocoma Quebrada, which had remnants of two canals
on both the north and south sides. This profile reveals that once
again a new canal channel was dug into the Chuza Flood deposits,
but this time the inner Chuza materials have been entirely
removed, using instead the compacted Miraflores materials as the
inner canal wall. Because of the depth of this canal, the 1982-83 El
Niño sheet wash is more substantial than in Figure 4-2. The canal
shown in Figure 4-3 apparently fed a different section of the
colonial groves since it turns South from its westerly course toward
the modern olive groves.
Shovel Testing
Shovel testing provides the archaeologist with a method
which can be used for quick sampling of large areas, such as the
domestic surfaces and, especially, the agricultural surfaces.
Utilizing this method, the investigator often can promptly identify
any meaningful cultural areas or agricultural surfaces. Further, the
researcher can possibly determine what agricultural activity
transpired prehistorically, both pre- and post-flood, and whether
the planting surfaces were later used by the Spanish Colonialists
and/or by modern farmers. Such shovel testing also allows the
rapid recovery and identification of the agricultural crops which
were grown.

147
Aeolian
Centimeters
= Fine
Sand
• • • ••
= Coarse
Sand
::::
= Silty
Sand
° °o°
°OOo°
= Sandy
Silt
:::::
= Pebbles
= Rock
Frags
= Rocks
Figure 4-3: #1 Low Canal-South Side of Pocoma Quebrada

148
Because of the lack of field assistants and the time constraints
of the 1992 field season (May through July), shovel testing was
utilized in a number of locations in the coastal quebradas of
Carrizal, Miraflores, and Pocoma. Usually profile drawings were not
made of such probes, but, nonetheless, a careful written record was
always made of any positive (cultural remains) or negative (no
remains) evidence.
Unit Profiles and Floor Plans
After excavation was completed, the east wall of each unit
was brushed clean, and the natural strata were delineated by
incising with a trowel between the different strata. Each stratum
was accurately mapped by taking vertical depth readings every 10
cm along a level, horizontal reference string. After depth readings
were completed, color slide photographs were taken of each unit
profile. After the profile drawings were made and their analysis
completed, the unit was back-filled.
When something unusual or diagnostic was found included in
the bottom of a unit, a floor plan was drawn. Figure 4-4 is a floor
plan from one of several units dug between the rectangular, sunken
features at the Miraflores Quebrada. The floor plan shows a 60 +
cm boulder which was moved by the Miraflores Flood and covered
by almost 90 cm of flood deposits. The size and position of this
large rock is a good indication of the force of the Miraflores Event
because the Chuza Event, which was a sizable surge, rarely if ever
moved rocks of this size.

149
Centimeters
• ••»•• •
= Fine
....
= Silty
V777/
Sand
Sand
= Rocks
= Coarse
Sand
= Pebbles
Miraflores
Deposits
Figure 4-4: Floor Plan of Unit #3 N. at Miraflores Quebrada

150
Quebrada Geologic Columns
Since quebradas serve as major collection points for all runoff
from the highlands as well as the middle elevations and the lower
coastal plains, useful overbank flood profiles are usually found
along one or both side walls of the deeply incised main quebrada
channels and along the smaller lateral branches feeding into these
channels. Flood deposits from the wet El Niño periods and deposits
from the dry aeolian interludes are usually well-preserved and
normally provide an uninterrupted record of both the modern and
the prehistoric climatological regimes from far-southern Peru.
Volcanic ash from the Huayna Putina volcanic eruption in 1600 A.D.
is often intersticed between the two flood episodes, and, thus serves
as a ubiquitous, accurate chronological marker separating the two
flood episodes.
Quebrada profiles were made by cleaning a one meter wide
column, extending from the surface to the bottom of the quebrada
channel wall. Vertical and horizontal measurements of the
different strata were referenced from a level control line strung
across the top of each column. All measurements were recorded on
graph paper for later use in creating a computer illustration of each
profile.
Figure 4-5, for example, is a typical geoarchaeological column
from the upper Miraflores Quebrada that shows the distinctive
sequence of events found throughout the investigated quebradas.
Since the 1992 El Niño was a minor event, its sediments are only
found in the very bottom of the quebradas and are not visible in
the profile. This figure shows an aeolian episode separating the

151
Centimeters
= Fine
= Silty
—
•
Sand
_ . . -
Sand
•••••
v.-dl-
= Coarse
Sand
I I I I
= Clay
° °o°
°o?o°
= Sandy
Silt
= Pebbles
V:-- ^ P
= Rock
Frags
= Rocks
1982-83
Deposits
Aeolian Deposits
Mixed with Rich
Agrarian Refuse
Chuza
Deposits
Miraflores
Deposits
Basal
Sequence
Sandy
= Marine
Garvel
Figure 4-5: Geologic Column #2 at Miraflores Quebrada

152
1982-83 and the Chuza deposits. Since this column was taken
downslope from the prehistoric and historic agricultural terraces,
there is rich agrarian refuse mixed with the fine sands of the
aeolian layer. The characteristic Miraflores sediments are seen
overlying the Basal Sequence, whose events have yet to be
identified or separated, which is composed mainly of large rocks up
to 20 cm in size and an abundance of sandy marine gravels.
Mapping
The location of each unit, shovel test, trench, feature, and
profile was recorded in the field for later transfer to a permanent
map. Maps were made from aerial photographs obtained both from
the Servicio Aerofotografico del Peru and from the actual surveying
coordinates taken in the field by a mapping crew. A line map
drawing was made from the aerial photos using known reference
points, such as roads, road intersections, and permanent structures.
Radial displacement, which distorts the ground features on aerial
photographs, was lessened by using a Kodak Stereo Transferscope
when transfering these features onto mylar (see Avery and Berlin
1985 and Lillesand and Keefer 1987 for more information on the
use and interpretation of aerial photography). Plotting the location
of the various units on a master map was facilitated by the fact that
the units were excavated on 5, 10, or 15 meter centers and along a
known magnetic compass heading.

153
Laboratory Analysis
Recovered materials from the field were brought back to the
laboratory in Ilo where, when possible, they were washed, placed
on screens, and allowed to dry in the sun. This procedure was
permissible when working with sturdy materials, such as bone or
ceramics, but it was impossible when dealing with delicate textile
fragments. Dirt and debris, which adhered to these fragile
materials, were gently brushed away using small, soft-bristled
brushes. Organic remains, such as wild and domesticated plant
refuse, were treated in a similar manner. Plant fibers and animal
hair were left uncleaned and identified, when possible, using a
binocular microscope with a self-contained incandescent light
source. Although the recovered cultural remains were scant, care
was taken to identify and to record each small piece.
Recovery of Carbon
The search for carbon, which could be used in 14C dating, was
almost a futile endeavor because of the inherent characteristics of
the Miraflores Flood. Field investigations revealed that one
characteristic of this flood is that the volume and speed of the flood
surge tended to push cultural materials ahead of the mudflow,
removing most of them from the landscape, rather than including
items such as pottery sherds and botanical remains in the flood
sediments. The second quality of the flood is that it was an
extremely wet event, which facilitated the decomposition of most
vegetal matter. Therefore, because of these two aspects, it was
extremely difficult to recover any carbon or plant remains for 14C

154
dating of the Miraflores Event. However, on those rare occasions
when some carbon was found, recovery was done with tweezers to
avoid contamination from the oil and other foreign matter carried
on the hands of the investigators. Carbon was then transferred into
an envelope shaped from aluminum foil and carefully sealed for
later transport.
Computer Methods
Creating Computer Maps. Profiles, and Illustrations
The process for creating publishable quality maps, profile
drawings, and illustrations with a computer is similar for each
example. Sometimes an original map can be scanned, digitized, and
stored directly onto the hard drive of a computer, using a high
quality scanner with a resolution of 300 DPI (dots per inch) or
greater, if available. Because of memory constraints, smaller, less
expensive, and slower personal computers will not store or process
digitized images. More often than not, a line drawing of the
meaningful features from a map must first be carefully traced by
hand and then scanned into the computer. Drawings for this
dissertation were scanned using a high resolution (800 DPI) B &
W/Color scanner.
After images are scanned, they must be processed to reduce
the inordinately large memory requirements. For example, a
scanned 8" x 10" B & W photograph will produce a digital image of
4-5 Megabytes (Mb). A complex line drawing can require as much
as 300-400 Kilobytes (Kb). Therefore, the size of the scanned image

155
file must be substantially reduced because most computers used
today in academia do not have large enough RAMs (Random Access
Memories) to function properly when processing such large files.
However, processing the scanned image, using a "streamlining"
program, eliminates extraneous pixels in a line drawing by creating
a new, narrower centerline which faithfully follows the center of
each scanned line. The result is a new image file that is now 40-50
Kilobytes in size, which can easily be stored and manipulated by the
computer. An added benefit is the fact that the digital file is easily
transportable on one 3.5" diskette; whereas, an unprocessed digital
image must remain on the computer's hard disk drive.
The image is now ready for any additions, such as descriptive
text, shading, highlighting, and new features, or deleting unwanted
features or lines. This author has worked with a number of CAD
(Computer Aided Design) drawing programs and has found, for his
purposes, the Adobe Illustrator program to be the most useful for
making maps and illustrations of field drawings. This specific
program is not easily mastered, but once it is, there is virtually
nothing the user cannot draw in two dimensions. Once again, the
memory requirements for this program are fairly large. Nominally,
a computer needs 4 Mb of RAM or more to run efficiently certain
types of illustrating software. My personal computer, with which
all illustrations for this dissertation were made, has 20 Mb of RAM,
which allows the computer to run quickly and effectively without
any system failures or any irritating pauses while the computer
searches for additional free memory. Undoubtedly in the near

156
future, memory requirements will become even larger as more
"memory-hungry" applications are developed.
Since the finished illustrations demand the highest resolution
for publication, they must necessarily be printed on a high quality
laser printer. A laser printer, with a resolution of 600 DPI, was
used to print all the illustrations used in the dissertation. Here
again memory plays an important role. Without sufficient RAM, a
illustration such as Figure 4-1 cannot be printed because the
printer does not have enough storage to hold simultaneously the
fonts, digitized lines, and shading requirements. For the moment,
my personal laser printer readily handles such requirements
because of its large internal RAM and its high speed processor.
Producing a Three Dimensional Model of the Ilo Valley
Figure 4-6 is a photograph of a three dimensional model of
the Ilo Valley, which includes: 1) the active and abandoned modern
agricultural surfaces; 2) the abandoned prehistoric settlements; and
3) prehistoric agricultural terraces, and as well as the topography of
the valley and its floodplain. A number of steps were required to
complete the finished image. A base map was created using a pair
of aerial stereo photos at a 1:10,000 scale. Although it cannot be
totally eliminated, photographic distortion from radial displacement
was lessened by using a Kodak Stereo Transferscope. Using ground
controls, such as road intersections and buildings, identifiable on
both the photographs and a Peruvian Agrarian Reform base map, it
was possible to create a final map which had a spatial accuracy
sufficient for most archaeological field work.

157
Figure 4-6: Three Dimensional Model of the Ilo Valley

158
Obviously, such a map would not have the high spatial
accuracy which can now be achieved using a GPS (Global Positioning
System) receiver. Only orthorectified photos, which have
eliminated both the radial and relief displacement (caused by the
differences in altitude of the ground features and the airplane from
which the photos were taken), can be used to create an accurate
map of an area. Distances, angles, and areas can be measured
directly from orthophotos (Lillesand and Kiefer 1987), but since it is
so expensive to have them produced for field work, orthophotos are
beyond the budget of most graduate students and professors of
archaeology.
A mylar drawing was made of pertinent cultural and
geographical features (Satterlee 1990). This drawing was hand
digitized, using a CalComp 9000 digitizing board, into the ARCINFO
GIS (Geographical Information System) software developed by ESRI
(Environmental Systems Research Institute, Redlands, California),
and stored on the hard disk drive of a XIT-IBM Workstation. The
topographical lines from a 1:10,000 scale 1973 Agrarian Reform
map from Peru were hand digitized using the same process as
described above.
A "G.I.S" is actually a computer software program which
allows the user to automate, manipulate, analyze, and display
geographical data in digital form (ESRI 1984). Geographical
information is stored as Cartesian X,Y coordinates, which allows the
computer to form ARCS (lines) and POLYGONS (shapes) of a
particular area. Information concerning area, usage, artifactual

159
materials, or cultural affiliation is stored in an attribute table
assigned to each polygon. Color coding can be added to facilitate
identification of the different cultural areas.
Once both images, known as "coverages," were safely stored in
the computer's memory, one coverage was then overlaid—merged—
on top of the other. This type of overlay is created by a
mathematical process that orients both coverages so that the known
ground control points, such as road intersections, domestic
structures, Spanish Colonial walls, and canals, that exist in the
layers of both coverages, will perfectly align with each other. The
elevation for each topo line had to be entered into the relational
data base of the ARCINFO program so that the information could be
used to create the final 3-D view of the valley, which was produced
by the TIN (Triangular Integrated Network) module of the ARCINFO
program [For a more detailed discussion of making digitized maps
of archaeological sites, see Scott et al. 1991].
The final step was to add the two dimensional cultural and
geographical features of the valley from the base map to the 3-D
rendering. The outlines of these features were also digitized and
stored using ARCINFO. Once the 3-D rendering is completed, the
two dimensional features, which are stored as a third coverage, are
"draped," that is "overlaid," accurately onto the 3-D valley view.
The finished product and its accompanying data base can be used to
calculate and to demonstrate the loss of agricultural land through
time (Satterlee 1992), to compare the difference in total agricultural
area for historical and prehistorical periods, or a myriad of other
comparisons which are limited only by the user's imagination.

1 60
Discussion
The methods outlined here all provided similar information
concerning both the historical Chuza Flood and the prehistoric
Miraflores Flood. The quebrada profiles clearly show the deposits
from two major flood events, which have occurred in the last 500-
600 years in the study area. Occasionally, cultural remains, such as
pottery sherds or bone, are seen protruding from the Chuza
deposits in the quebrada channels, but very few cultural remains
from the Chiribaya Culture or vegetal matter were observed within
the Miraflores deposits in any of the three coastal quebradas.
However, some mud casts of cane (Caña brava) and of a few roots
can be found, in isolated places, included in the Miraflores deposits
near the Tomb Site (#266) in the upper Ilo Valley (Figure 4-1). The
presence of only the mud casts with no physical remains, strongly
suggests that the Miraflores Flood was an extremely wet event that
promoted the rapid decomposition of vegetal matter.
Although the shovel tests could not be excavated too deeply,
they, nevertheless, allowed the investigator to expose the flood
deposits from the two separate events, to analyze each flood's
composition, and to search for included cultural or vegetal
materials. The shovel tests yielded results similar to those of the
unit excavations. Cultural refuse was often included in the Chuza
deposits; whereas, the Miraflores deposits were customarily devoid
of any non-flood materials. These observations also lead to a like
conclusion concerning the characteristics of the Miraflores Flood--It

161
was a very wet, strong event which was typically not conducive to
the preservation of materials.
Unit excavations at the coastal quebradas, ordinarily, did not
reveal a layer of volcanic ash from the eruption of Huayna Putina
separating the two floods. Possibly the speed and moisture content
of the Chuza Flood were such that its mudflow either swept away
all ash or the ash was diluted and incorporated into the finer flood
sediments. An exception was the 2 x 2 m test probe placed in the
east wall of one sunken feature at Miraflores Quebrada. Here a 2-3
cm layer of tephra delineates the two events. Profiles of overbank
deposits in the Ilo Valley sometimes also disclose the Huayna
Putina ash layer between the Chuza and Miraflores sediments.
Another possible explanation for the absence of the H. P. ash
separating the two flood events at a number of locations is the fact
that there was an enormous tidal wave in 1604 A.D. (Cobo 1890),
which adversely affected the coastline at Ilo. This tidal wave could
have readily washed away all traces of the volcanic ash at any
location which the Tsunami reached. H. P. ash is often found in situ
in the upper Ilo Valley which was beyond the extent of the tidal
wave, but the volcanic ash is often absent in the lower valley and
in the low-lying coastal quebradas which were probably affected by
the tidal wave.
Laboratory analysis of the recovered remains demonstrated
that the number of sherds and the amount of other materials, such
as bone, botanical remains, and fibers, were substantially greater
from the Chuza stratum than from the Miraflores stratum (see
Chapter 6 for artifactual categories and frequencies). Further, the

162
meager remains from the Miraflores Flood were often significantly
abraded so as to make them sometimes nearly unidentifiable as to
their parent culture. On the other hand, the remains from the
Chuza Flood were only slightly abraded, even though the flood
matrix is composed of hundreds of fairly sharp, angular rock
fragments. Again one must draw the conclusion that the Miraflores
Event was a especially wet, swift mudflow. Although it cannot be
definitively proven at this stage of investigation, the facts seem to
indicate that while the Miraflores Event tumbled and scoured the
sherds, it also annihilated any Chiribaya people who were
occupying the Miraflores Quebrada at the time the flood transpired.

CHAPTER 5
SITE EXCAVATIONS
Introduction
Site excavations are perhaps some of the most important
aspects of an archaeologist's field work, since it is the excavated data
that permit him to interpret and to synthesize various kinds of
information into an integrated cultural scenario for the particular
time period and specific location which is being investigated.
Therefore, it should be with the utmost care that the researcher
chooses the locations for the units and the profiles he plans to
excavate; however, this is not often an easy decision. The following
aspects of my field investigations pertaining to site excavations will
be discussed: 1) Criteria for choosing unit and profile locations; 2)
Location and description of units, profiles, and trenches; 3)
Indications of the severity of the prehistoric Miraflores Flood and the
later historic Chuza Flood from these excavations; and 4) Evidence in
the archaeological record for the survival or demise of the Chiribaya
Culture following the Miraflores Flood. Only those units and geologic
columns for which no field drawings were made will be discussed in
this chapter. Drawings of the remaining units and geologic columns,
which were of special interest, will be discussed in Chapter 7
(Profiles and Geologic Columns).
163

164
Choosing the Locations of Units
Carrizal Quebrada
Choosing the location for individual units at the Carrizal
Quebrada was a challenging task for several reasons. Unlike the
Miraflores Quebrada which has a broad, relatively flat coastal plain,
the topography at Carrizal is undulating with the relief varying as
the landscape alternates between hills and swales on both sides of
the main quebrada channel, as shown in the aerial photograph in
Figure 5-1. Therefore, the flood damage could vary from one specific
elevation to another. For example, since many of the prehistoric
domestic areas are located at the higher elevations, they could have
been left unscathed by the floods; whereas the prehistoric irrigation
canals and the terraces which they watered, were located either in
the low-lying areas between the domestic areas or below them, and,
thus, would be more directly and seriously affected by the same
floods. Since one prehistoric canal is located about a kilometer
farther East (upslope) from these areas, the flood impact on this
canal should be more extreme since any mudflows would have
buried this canal before reaching the lower-lying areas.
To further complicate the process of choosing the optimum
locations for excavation, there were some large colonial canals
(Figure 5-2A) interspersed among their prehistoric counterparts
(2B). Fortunately, the construction techniques for the two canal
systems are quite different. The main canal and some of the lateral
feeder canals for the Spanish Colonial irrigation system often have
stone-lined side walls, but the colonial canals at Carrizal always have

165
Figure 5-1: Aerial View of Carrizal Quebrada

166

167
stone-lined bottoms—a technique introduced in colonial times, which
continues to be used today. Even a few of the smaller branching
canals also have stone-lined side walls (Figure 5-2C). Contrasting
with this colonial construction style is the Chiribaya practice of
building canals without stone-lined walls and perhaps using the
natural stratum for the canal bottoms, though there are some stoned-
lined prehistoric canals found at higher elevations of the Moquegua
Drainage (Stanish 1987, 1992).
In addition to these considerations, the final decision of where
to locate the units was based on a combination of other significant
factors. The North-to-South segment of the prehistoric canal,
running perpendicular to the flood's flow, was chosen as a likely
place where the flood surge could have done considerable damage to
the canal, and, at the same time, the flood deposits should have
conceivably collected in the bottom of the canal channel. Because of
the difference in elevation, the lowest areas lie directly in the path
where the mudflow was most likely to have run and consequently
should have the deepest flood deposits. Further, the canals could
contain evidence from both the historical and prehistorical events
superimposed upon each other. Excavating units farther down the 6-
7° slope at Carrizal (Figure 5-3), in the direction of the Pacific Ocean,
would possibly reveal the farthest extent of the Chuza Flood.
Few units were excavated on the domestic surfaces at Carrizal
since the main purpose of this study was to determine the flood
impact on the prehistoric, irrigated agricultural system of the
Chiribaya. Furthermore, a small number of the tombs in the
domestic areas were being excavated by a University of New Mexico

Unit #5 S.
O 50 lOO
Meters
D.R.S. 1993
Figure 5-3: Profile of Carrizal Quebrada
168

169
(UNM) graduate student who would consult with me concerning the
flood stratigraphy whenever he encountered flood deposits in any of
his units. Therefore, I had an opportunity to identify the flood
deposits and to assess the damages in the higher areas, and to
compare them to the sediments which I had discovered in the lower-
lying portions of Carrizal.
Miraflores Quebrada
In addition to the criteria discussed above, the location for
some of the one meter square units at the Miraflores Quebrada was
determined by the fact that there were undisturbed domestic
terraces with two rather large sunken features at this site. This area
would be the most logical place to begin excavating because this zone
could be where much of the concentrated human activity transpired
and, consequently, where the most artifactual evidence would likely
be found. The decision to excavate units at Miraflores Quebrada
along a transect that ended at the edge of the lower quaternary
marine terrace was based on the fact that aerial photography
indicated that the Miraflores mudflow covered this terrace and only
ceased its forward motion when the flood reached the Pacific Ocean
(Figure 5-4). Further, excavating at the extreme edge of the marine
terrace would allow the comparison of the depth of the Miraflores
flood deposits here and also at the sunken features, ca. 430 meters
farther upslope. Using this strategy of excavating along a transect,
one should also be able to discover the farthest extent of the 1607
A.D. Chuza Event. Comparing the depth of the different flood
deposits found in the various units with those deposits found at the

170
Figure 5-4: Aerial View of Miraflores Quebrada

171
farthest extent of the individual floods ought to provide an indication
of the relative strengths of the two flood episodes, even though they
occurred three and a half centuries apart.
Pocoma Quebrada
Choosing the excavation locations at Pocoma Quebrada was the
least difficult because of the quebrada's small size and the fact that
there are only two basic areas of interest concerning this
investigation. There are prehistoric domestic terraces lying about 30
meters above and 130 meters to the South of the main quebrada
channel (Figure 5-5A) and prehistoric agricultural terraces which are
located on the north and south side of this same quebrada channel
(Figure 5-5B).
Of the three quebradas studied, this quebrada is unique
because it has three irrigation canals, a High canal (Figure 5-5C) on
the north side of the quebrada and High and Low canals on the south
side of the quebrada channel (Figure 5-5D & -5E). Another unique
feature at this location is the existence of some small rills cut by the
1982-83 El Niño run-off. More erosion from the 1982-83 event was
present here than elsewhere, probably because in some places the
slopes are 45°. In addition, a rectangular hole 3 meters deep,
apparently made while excavating for road construction "fill"
material, provided an exceptionally good geological column that
included a number of Chiribaya pottery sherds.

17 2
Figure 5-5: Aerial View of Pocoma Quebrada

173
Excavations at Carrizal Quebrada
Introduction
Originally I had planned to excavate all the prehistoric
domestic areas and the agricultural terraces using units dug on five
meter "centers," i.e. a distance of 5 meters from the center of one
unit to the center of another unit. However, I soon discovered that
the flood deposits at the coastal quebradas were almost always very
compacted, and that consequently the units would require additional
excavation time. On an average day, I was only able to excavate 50-
60 cm in one unit in addition to fulfilling my other archaeological
duties. Therefore, for brevity's sake, I had to rethink my field
strategy and to use "centers" that were sometimes much larger than
originally planned.
Location and Descriptions of Units
Figure 5-6 is a general site map of Carrizal Quebrada showing
the location of the units, geologic columns, and trenches which were
excavated. Additional features of the quebrada shown in Figure 5-6
include: The location of the tombs at 6A that were excavated by
UNM graduate student, Rick Reycraft; The olive grove located at 6B
upslope from the domestic (6C) and agricultural terraces (6D); and
the main quebrada channel located at 6E.
Unit #1 South (U. #1 S.) (discussed in Chapter 7) is located 150
meters northwest of the entrance road to the olive grove (Figure 5-
6). The location for this unit was chosen because it sits in the middle

174
Figure 5-6: Carrizal Quebrada Site Plan

175
of the largest canal which is the farthest canal downslope from the
olive grove in the area known as Carrizal Baja.
Trench #1 South (Tr. #1 S.), located 15 m from U #1 S., is a 40
cm wide probe cut into the canal in an attempt to find the canal
bottom and the depth of flood sediments that were deposited closer
to the quebrada channel (See Chapter 7).
Unit #2 South (U. #2 S.) is located 5 meters North from U. #1 S.
The location for U. #2 S. was chosen because it lies 1.5 m above U. #1
S. in the irrigation canal and adjacent to a domestic terrace. The soils
in all units were analyzed using the standardized Munsell Soil Color
Charts (Macbeth 1992). A hue notation of a color, e.g. 10YR, indicates
its relationship to the colors of (Y)ellow and (R)ed. The numbers
following the hue notation, for example, 5/2, indicate the value (5) in
the lightness of the soil and the chroma (2) indicates the strength of
the color or a departure from a neutral of the same lightness. For
example, a chroma notation of an (8) would indicate a soil color that
contains more yellow.
This unit had an 18 cm aeolian stratum of grayish brown (10YR
5/2) fine silt with a small amount of fine sand, which overlies
unusual burned deposits. Both U. #2 S. and U. #1 S. revealed a 20 cm
thick, dark gray (10 YR 4/1) burned layer containing many shell
fragments and silty sand. This stratum is too unconsolidated to have
been deposited by flood waters, but it is possible that the residue is
caused by the burning of Spanish Colonial olive leaves and other
agricultural refuse. Directly below this burned stratum was a

176
yellowish brown (10YR 5/4) layer, at least 40 cm thick, of only sand
and a copious amount of gravels with rocks from 8 to 26 cm in
diameter.
Unit #3 South (U. #3 S.) is located on the domestic terrace 10 m
NNW U. #2 S. (Figure 5-6). Although Chuza is present in U. #1 S. and
in the lower area immediately to the South of this domestic terrace,
the evidence from this unit and U. #2 S. suggests that the Chuza Flood
surge was unable to overcome the additional 1.5 m elevation of the
domestic terrace and, therefore, left no deposits on the domestic
terrace. The domestic terrace must have been an obstacle for the
Miraflores Flood as well, since there was no evidence of the
Miraflores Flood found in either U. #2 S. or U. #3 S.
The strata found in this unit consisted of 10 cm of pure aeolian
materials overlying 20 cm of mixed aeolian deposits and agricultural
debris. An occupation layer was discovered beginning at 35 cm
below the surface. Cultural debris were excavated down to 70 cm
below the surface.
Unit #4 South (U. #4 S.) lies 20 m northeast of U. #1 S. and is
situated 5 meters from the edge of a domestic terrace, which was the
reason for U. #4 S. being located here (See Chapter 7 for details).
Test Pit # 4 (T. P. #4 S.) was located 10 m from U. #4 S. in what
appears to be an old "Huaquero" pit. This location was of interest
because it contained a layer of somewhat-mixed Huayna Putina (H.P.)
volcanic ash overlying a carbon lens varying 4-5 cm in thickness.

177
A carbon layer is often found directly beneath H. P. ash, and this
stratigraphy has led at least one investigator, Jorge Tapia of the
University of Pittsburgh, to hypothesize that the inordinate amounts
of hot volcanic ash which fell over an extremely large area produced
a regional conflagration. This hypothesis might be proven by future
investigations, but it is noteworthy that none of the early 17th
century chroniclers mentions any widespread fires in connection
with the H. P. eruption, and there is not one allusion to even thatched
roofs burning in Arequipa where the volcanic tephra fell
continuously for three weeks.
Unit #5 South (U. #5 S) is located 20 m South of U. #1 S. in the
low-lying area between the domestic terraces. This location was
chosen because it appeared to be a likely place where debris would
have been deposited. The 10 cm of grayish brown (10YR 5/2)
aeolian deposits overlie 20 cm of Chuza flood deposits, which
contained many rock fragments varying from .8 to 2 cm. The pinkish
gray (7.5YR 6/2) Miraflores Flood deposits encountered at 30 cm
contained rocks up to 30 cm, which is similar to the sediments found
in U. #1 S. in the historic canal.
Unit #6 South (U. #6 S) is located 25 m farther South from U.
#5 S. This location was selected because it appeared to be a
prehistoric domestic terrace, which was confirmed by excavations.
Excavations revealed that it had also been used as an agricultural
surface by the Spanish or by the modern Peruvians. The (10YR 5/4)
yellowish brown 7 cm aeolian layer was composed of fine sands,

178
some silts and clays. The 14 cm of (10YR 4/4) dark yellowish brown
agricultural debris was composed of very fine silt with good clay
content and very little sand. This agricultural stratum rested on 18
cm of (10YR 4/2) dark grayish brown sandy silt midden, which
contained an admixture of pottery, including Chiribaya, Burro Flaco,
and Colonial styles. The (7.5YR 6/6) reddish yellow Miraflores
sediments composed of fine and coarse sands, with rock fragments
and larger granitic rocks up to 18 cm, were found at 40 cm below the
surface and did not contain any cultural materials. There were no
Chuza deposits found in this unit.
Locations and Descriptions of the Geologic Columns
Geologic Column #1 (G. C. #1) is a 50 cm-wide column located
ca. 500 m from the mouth of the main quebrada at the Pacific Ocean
and 330 m Northwest of U. #1 S. This location was chosen because it
is in a section of the quebrada where the strongest flood surges
should have risen above the channel walls leaving overbank
deposits. Further, since the column lies on the same line as the canal
units, the absolute depths of the deposits at the two locations would
allow for a comparison of the extent of the Miraflores Flood at both
points (See Chapter 7).
Geologic Column #2 (G. C. #2) is located 120 m from G. C. #1 in a
westerly direction toward the Pacific Ocean. This location was chosen
because erosion had left a good geologic column with deposits from

179
the various El Niño events. The uppermost stratum was comprised of
5 cm of the 1982-83 El Niño deposits. While the Miraflores Flood
commonly leaves much deeper deposits than does the Chuza Flood,
the reverse was true at this location. The Chuza deposits were 50 cm
thick, while the Miraflores deposits were a mere 5 cm. This rather
large difference in the flood deposits leads to the conclusion that the
Miraflores Flood was already waning, probably because it had lost so
much of its sediment load several kilometers farther up the
quebrada. Separating the two flood deposits was what appeared to
be a 3 cm mixed layer of volcanic ash and carbon and 18 cm of
aeolian deposits. It was later discovered that the Miraflores Flood
had stopped 80 m farther downslope from this geologic column.
Directly beneath the thin layer of the Miraflores deposits were
Chiribaya cultural remains, which included 2 red, Chiribaya sherds
and some seashells.
Geologic Column #3 is located 40 m downslope from G. C. #1.
This spot was chosen because, once again, a second, deeper layer of
what appears to be volcanic ash was included in the column, which
incorporated rather unusual stratigraphy. Eight centimeters of
1982-83 deposits covered 28 cm of the Chuza sediments. Directly
beneath these latter deposits is a 4 cm layer of volcanic ash with
carbon immediately beneath it.
What is unusual about this column is the fact that there is a 90
cm stratum of aeolian deposits directly overlying another 1 cm layer
of volcanic ash with some carbon under it. If chemical analysis of
this layer proves it to be volcanic ash, then this thin stratum would

180
be evidence of possible seismic activity prior to the Miraflores Event.
Heretofore, there has never been any volcanic ash found anywhere
beneath Miraflores deposits. Underneath this last stratum of
volcanic ash is 120 cm of the Basal Sequence. It seems reasonable
that there should have been prior seismic activity before Miraflores
to account for the excessive amount of flood debris associated with
this singular event. However, it is also a possibility that this event
was one of those extremely rare MegaNiftos that occur once or twice
a millennia (Sandweiss 1986).
At 120 meters West of G. P #3 is the narrowest part of the
quebrada, measuring only 7 meters in width, and here the quebrada
has been eroded down to the granitic bedrock. At this point, the
Chuza flood deposits have diminished to only 16 cm, which is a good
indication that the volume of this deluge had already begun to wane.
Also of interest at this location was another small mixed layer of
volcanic ash and carbon overlying 40 cm of aeolian sand, silt, and
very small pebbles. Only at the Chuza Quebrada are aeolian strata
found separating the deposits of the two major flood events.
Geologic Column #4 (G. C. #4) is located on the south side of the
quebrada about 135 m upslope from the modern road. The south
side of the quebrada was also investigated because the terrain on the
north side of the quebrada is about 15 m higher, and, thus, more of
the flood should have been forced to flow to the South and should
have left deeper deposits there. Four cm of the 1982-83 El Niño silty
sand overlie 52 cm of wind transported matter. Directly below the
aeolian layer are the Chuza deposits, which are still well represented

1 8 1
here by a layer 46 cm thick. However, there are no Miraflores
deposits. Chuza deposits at G. C. #4 are thicker because the bedrock
stricture 30 m upvalley (East) forced the flood materials to rise.
Fifteen meters upvalley from the stricture, Chuza deposits fluctuate
from 18-25 cm thick. Beneath Chuza are what appear to be two
different aeolian layers. The upper 30 cm appear quite normal, but
the lower 30 cm are somewhat more consolidated than those
generally found in other localities. Under the aeolian deposits are
the deposits of the Basal Sequence.
There were substantial dry periods before and after the Chuza
Flood because there is a layer of thick aeolian sands and silts lying
contiguously below and above the Chuza stratum. The predominant
northerly and easterly wind patterns along the coast always create
an accumulation of sand or sand dunes on the south side of a
quebrada channel. This same pattern is quite noticeable at the Chuza
Quebrada where sizable aeolian layers are found interspersed
between flood deposits.
Geologic Column #5 (G. C. #5) is located 60 m upvalley from G.
C. #1. This location was chosen because this column is farther
upvalley, and, therefore, the flood deposits from both the Chuza and
Miraflores Floods were expected to be deeper. Beneath 2 cm of
1982-83 deposits were found 54 cm of Chuza sediments, which was
substantially more than found at the other loci at Carrizal. No
volcanic ash was noted, but there were 2 cm of carbon underneath
the Chuza deposits. Rather than being deeper here, the Miraflores
deposits were only 20 cm thick which was about 15 cm less than

182
these same deposits found in G. C. #1. A 20 cm layer of Chiribaya
occupation debris, consisting of shells and 1 red Chiribaya sherd, was
found immediately below the Miraflores deposits. The final deposits
represented in the column were 220 cm of the Basal Sequence.
Location and Description of the Prehistoric Canal
Prehistoric Canal Profile #1 is 130 m above the fork in the
main quebrada channel, about one kilometer from the olive grove
(Figure 5-6). This location was chosen because I found a segment of
an irrigation canal, which appeared to be the "intake" for the
prehistoric irrigation system. A segment of the irrigation canal was
totally washed away because the end of the canal is 7 meters from
where the "intake" for the canal system would have been. In the
bedrock bottom of the quebrada channel there is a natural, 8 m-wide
"Choke Point" created by a very large boulder measuring 3.10 m in
diameter. Some of the facing stones of the canal support wall had
been disturbed, but the canal was originally of prehistoric Chiribaya
construction.
At the north side of the 50 cm profile, 13 cm of grayish brown
(10YR 5/2) aeolian sand and silt overlies 1 cm of Huayna Putina
volcanic ash. Immediately below this volcanic ash, in the canal and
overlying the canal facing stones, are the dark yellowish brown
(10YR 4/6) Miraflores flood deposits of compacted silty sand, grit,
and some small gravels. Above these flood deposits is a loose
stratum of sand, small gravels, and rock fragments. These loose

183
materials are, apparently, the result of excavating what looks like a
canal bottom directly into the Miraflores deposits; therefore, there is
a slight possibility that the canal could have been reactivated by the
Chiribaya, but this is very doubtful in light of the Miraflores flood's
impact on the irrigated agricultural system. Even though 1600 A.D.
H. P. ash lies 18 cm above the concave canal bottom, the more likely
case is that the new canal was dug by the early Spanish settlers,
since they had already occupied this region for decades before the
Huayna Putina eruption. Covering the canal bottom were 9 cm of
debris which included a few seashells, some unidentified bone
fragments, and a piece of olive wood; however, no potsherds were
included. Although there was a 2 cm layer of "puddled" 1982-83
sediments overlying this canal debris, unlike other locations, there is
no 1982-83 El Niño sheet wash. Apparently the slope of 3-4 degrees
is not enough to precipitate sheet wash at this location.
Agricultural Terraces
One hundred and twenty meters West/Northwest of the canal
profile are some agricultural terraces which escaped the wrath of the
Miraflores Flood; however, only 30 m beyond this point, all the
terraces are covered by a huge 250 m by 600 m Miraflores rock and
mudflow (Figure 5-7), which almost rivals in size the mudflow at
Miraflores Quebrada (700 m by 900 m). Apparently 1 km above this
point, the Miraflores Flood spilled very rapidly out of the narrower
segment of the quebrada and covered the terraces. Unlike the other
Carrizal locations investigated, there were no 1982-83 El Niño
deposits present in the upper Carrizal Quebrada.

184
v
Figure 5-7: Miraflores Rock and Mudflow at Carrizal Quebrada

185
Investigations of this area included a 2.5 km jaunt up the quebrada
searching for additional prehistoric fields and irrigation canals.
Although no additional components of the prehistoric agricultural
system were found, there were some Chuza and Miraflores deposits
visible 4-5 meters higher up on the quebrada walls that were thus
inaccessible to the investigator.
Shovel Testing at Carrizal Quebrada
Introduction
A number of shovel tests were conducted in the proximate area
of the irrigation canal, on the agricultural terraces, to assess further
the flood damage and to evaluate whether or not these surfaces may
have been re-activated following the Miraflores Flood. Although it is
often difficult to reach any substantial depth using a shovel, the
uncovered strata frequently reveal useful information.
Location and Description of the Shovel Tests
Shovel Test #1 (S. T. #1) is located about 150 m downslope
from the canal profile on some agricultural terraces which were
unaffected by the Miraflores mudflow. Immediately below the
aeolian deposits was a rich, 25 cm thick, organic layer presumably
from Spanish Colonial agriculture since this stratum overlies
Miraflores deposits. Since the Spanish introduced olive grove
tending around 1555 A.D. (Kuon Cabello 1985), they presumably
were able to re-activate these abandoned terraces when the climate
became wetter at the beginning of the "Little Ice Age." Even though
there is post-flood evidence that some Chiribaya people survived at

186
Carrizal Quebrada, it is highly unlikely that there would have been a
sufficient labor force to re-activate the canal system following the
Miraflores Flood.
Shovel Test #2 (S. T. #2) is located 50 m back upslope from S.
T. #1 on another agricultural terrace. This probe exposed the same
stratigraphy as the previous shovel test. Once again, immediately
below the aeolian deposits was a deep rich, dark brown, organic
layer, which had almost degraded into humus, capping the Miraflores
deposits. This organic detritus must have come from Spanish
Colonial agricultural activities because, to date, there is no
archaeological evidence of any other culture practicing agriculture in
this region until the arrival of the Spanish ca. 1540 A. D.
Shovel Test #3 (S. T. #3) is located 50 m Northwest of S. T. #2
and a meter from a small Spanish Colonial feeder canal. A little re¬
deposited Huayna Putina ash was discovered overlying the same
thick agricultural layer. There are more small rocks in the
agricultural layer here, and the soil is also more compact than in the
other shovel tests. The presence of rocks leads to the conclusion that
these lower terraces were also impacted by the Miraflores Flood but
to a lesser extent than the others, and, thus, the Spanish were able
to farm them.
Shovel Test #4 is located 50 meters West of S. T. #3. The
findings of this probe were very similar to those of S. T. #3. Digging
revealed a slightly rocky agricultural layer with somewhat

187
compacted soil. The Huayna Putina volcanic ash found in the
previous shovel test was absent in this probe.
Shovel Test #5 is located 100 meters downslope from S. T. #4
in a defunct Lomas depression. A relic stand of tough, wild grass was
found growing above the identical agricultural layer found farther
upslope. The only difference here was the presence of salt/mineral
deposits found beneath the grass intruding into the agricultural
stratum.
Cultural Area North of the Carrizal Quebrada
There are some additional agricultural terraces situated about
200 m Northwest of the lower main quebrada channel which are
almost void of any Miraflores flood deposits. There are, though,
Miraflores deposits, resting below volcanic ash, in a prehistoric
irrigation canal East and upslope from this midden. Apparently the
small, rudimentary irrigation canal served as a run-off channel,
which captured some Miraflores sheet wash. However, there are no
Miraflores deposits on the higher domestic terraces West of the
agricultural surfaces.
Oddly enough, there are Chuza-like deposits overlying a
Chiribaya midden. These sediments could be from Chuza sheet wash
because there is no other evidence that either the main flood surge
of Chuza or Miraflores ever reached this much higher location.
Shovel testing on the highest point exposed some Post-Chiribaya
Burro Flaco style pottery.

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Excavations at Miraflores Quebrada
Introduction
The aerial view of the Miraflores Quebrada (Figure 5-8) gives
dramatic proof of the enormous size of the 14th century flood
recently discovered at this location. This 700 m by 900 m mudflow
totally covered the approximately 140 m by 140 m Chiribaya
settlement (Figure 5-8A). The approximate limits of the lighter-
colored historic Chuza flood deposits are shown at 8B. Besides the
many flood covered domestic terraces, the most striking features at
this quebrada are the two large, rectangular sunken features.
Despite the fact that they have been inundated by two major flood
events and centuries of aeolian dust and silt, these 2+ m deep
features are still noticeable (Figure 5-8C & -8D) even at the 1:8500
scale of this figure. Figure 5-9 shows the locations of the units at the
Miraflores Quebrada.
Sunken Features at Miraflores Quebrada
Ceremonial architecture has a long tradition in the Moquegua
Drainage. Dating to ca. 5000 B.P, structures found at Asana are
perhaps some of the earliest ceremonial architecture in southern
Peru (Aldenderfer 1991). There are two sunken rectangular
features, covered by flood deposits, at Miraflores Quebrada which
may reflect this long-standing tradition. Pit #1 measures 6 by 8
meters, while Pit #2 is 8 by 10 meters. Both of these features have
smooth clay floors about 12 cm thick.
Pit #2 also has a row of worked stones dividing the feature into
two equal parts (Figure 5-10). This distinguishing characteristic

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Figure 5-8: Aerial View of Miraflores Quebrada

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Figure 5-9: Miraflores Site Plan

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Figure 5-10: Sunken Feature #2

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could be interpreted as a division for two moieties or kingroups,
reflecting the dual organization of the Chiribaya society, which
perhaps used the individual halves of the sunken features for
religious ceremonies. Such dual societal organization has been
proposed for some regions of Peru even as early as the PreCeramic
Period (Grieder et al. 1988; Burger 1988). Further, sunken courts,
both the earlier circular type and the later rectangular versions, are
architectural features found almost ubiquitously on the Peruvian
coast and in the highlands at various sites, spanning thousands of
years of cultural history (Moseley 1985; Pozorski and Pozorski 1987;
Chávez 1988). There are at least two, and possibly three, sunken
features at the Pocoma Quebrada. However, I was unable to excavate
these features and, therefore, I am unsure if the features at Pocoma
also had clay floors and/or a dividing row of stones.
During the course of my investigations, certain questions arose
concerning the origin and use of these features. For example, these
sunken pits may have been constructed for the exclusive use of the
inhabitants of their respective quebradas, even though the Chiribaya
were an ethnically homogeneous population. Or perhaps the people
from other coastal quebradas, lacking such facilities, congregated at
Miraflores or Pocoma for important religious rituals or other
significant secular ceremonies, depending on whether they belonged
to the hanan (upper) or hurin (lower) moiety. It could be that the
sunken pits at Pocoma were built after those at Miraflores were
rendered useless by flooding. However, lacking sufficient data from
Pocoma, one can only speculate on what the exact relationship was
between the two quebradas.

193
Location and Description of Units and Geological Columns
Excavations at Miraflores Quebrada began with a series of
seven units, placed on 5 meter "centers" between the two large
sunken features (Figures 5-10 & -11). These units will be discussed
as an integrated whole because of their close proximity and their
South-to-North orientation. The depths of the Chuza and Miraflores
flood deposits vary very little in each unit because they all lie on the
same plane, and, thus, the floods would have reached the units
simultaneously. This phenomenon should account for the fact that
the excavations of these units yielded similar data.
These seven units were oriented along a transect of 330°. The
center of U. #1 N. was located 5 meters from a datum stake set at the
Northeast corner of the southern sunken feature (Pit (P.) #2). In
general terms, Units #l-#7 North (U. #l-#7 N.) all contained 3
identical strata (U. #1 N. and #3 N. are further discussed in Chapter
7). The uppermost 4-8 centimeters were composed of an dark
yellowish brown (10YR 4/6) aeolian layer of dust and silt. Directly
beneath this stratum were the 18-20 cm deep deposits of the Chuza
Flood composed of (7.5YR 4/6) strong brown deposits of silt, sands,
and a multitude of small rock fragments which directly superimpose
the dark brown (7.5YR 4/4) Miraflores flood debris. Only the Chuza
deposits had any included materials, and these were usually of
historic vintage.
Quite often the Huayna Putina volcanic ash, which serves as a
constraining chronological marker for excavations in the Moquegua
Drainage, is found separating these two flood layers, but it was

194
Figure 5-11: Sunken Feature #1

195
conspicuously absent in these units. Perhaps, the Chuza flood surge,
like the Miraflores, was unimpeded in its downhill flow toward the
Pacific Ocean and obliterated the thin layer of volcanic tephra. Since,
at the contact point with the Chuza deposits, the Miraflores deposits
are so often highly compacted, it would be interesting to determine if
the moisture content and the chemical composition somehow react
with the volcanic ash to help produce this very hard layer.
Large Unit #1 (L. U. #1) is a large 2 m by 2 m probe excavated
into the east wall of the northernmost sunken pit (Pit (P.) #1).
Because the 7 units yielded so few artifacts, the east side of the pit
was chosen for excavation because it lies 8.5 m closer to the
quebrada mouth and would have been struck first by the mudflows.
Furthermore, there was a possibility that since the "pit" is 2 meters
deep, some cultural material may have been trapped and preserved.
Unit #1 West (U. #1 W.) is located 10 m due West (270°) from
the datum stake at the southern sunken Pit #2. The Chuza Flood
begins at 2 cm below the aeolian layer and extends down to 30 cm
where it meets the Miraflores Flood. The Chuza flood deposits in this
unit are not as consolidated as in the seven units between the two
pits, although the aerial photo shows the Chuza Flood extending
about 300 m farther downslope (Figure 5-8B). It may be that the
Chuza flood lost some of its excess moisture by the time it reached
this point.

196
Unit #2 West (U. #2 W.) is located 10 m farther to the west of
U. #1 W. in an effort to better analyze the depth of the flood
sediments. The Chuza deposits here do not begin until 15 cm below
the surface. The aeolian deposits may be deeper in this unit because
the wind should tend to bank the dust and silt against the front faces
of the domestic terrace support walls.
Unit #3 West (U. #3 W.) is situated 30 m farther West of U. #2
W. The deeper I dug in this unit, the more compact the Chuza
deposits became, to the point that they were almost as hard as the
deposits left by Miraflores. Since very little of a diagnostic nature
was found in the Chuza deposits, when the Miraflores sediments
were encountered, I stopped excavating.
Unit #4 West (U. #4 W.): Because excessive time was being
spent in excavating the very hard flood deposits, the decision was
made to locate this unit as close as possible to the edge of the marine
terrace in an effort to ascertain whether or not the Miraflores Flood
truly reached the Pacific Ocean. Thus, this unit is located 5 m from
the south side of the quebrada and 10 m East from the edge of the
marine terrace where it slopes sharply down to the beach (See
Chapter 7).
Unit #5 West (U. #5 W.) is located 40 m East and 25 m South of
U. #4 W., and its location was chosen because of the depression 1.5 m
below the level of U. #4 W. It was presumed that more cultural
debris could have collected in this small swag (See Chapter 7).

197
Unit #6 West (U. #6 W.) lies 50 m due East of U. #5 W.
Excavations were stopped when I encountered Miraflores because
the deposits were inviolable, solidified caliche. However, twenty plus
cm of Chuza deposits were dug and screened. There were no sherds
found in this unit. The only remains recovered from the Chuza
deposits were carbonized shells.
Trench #1 West (Tr. #1 W) is a 1 by 2 meters excavation
located 25 m due West of U. #5 W. This trench was cut into the edge
of the marine terrace to determine if the Miraflores Flood really
continued its surge to the sea (See Chapter 7).
Survey of the Upper Miraflores Quebrada
Pedestrian survey of other areas of the quebrada revealed that
the there is a fairly good spring flow at Miraflores, but, nevertheless,
the water is insufficient and must be stored for later use. Most of
the water for the olive grove is now pumped from subterranean
sources. There are abandoned colonial/modern fields on the south
side of the quebrada lying immediately East of the modern road.
Located on the south side of the olive grove is a small, stone-lined
colonial irrigation canal adjacent to a reservoir for irrigation water.
A portion of this canal is now cement-lined to better prevent erosion
from the rush of irrigation water as it is released from the holding
tank.

198
Geologic Column #1 (G. C. #1) is located in a small fork East of
the main quebrada channel about 100 m from the upper edge of the
modern olive grove. This location was chosen because the deposits
from all of the presently known El Niño events in the Ilo region, are
clearly visible here in an unbroken 2.10 m column.
There were no prehistoric agricultural terraces or irrigation
canals located in this small tributary, but there is an artificial dam
positioned 54 m upvalley from G. C. #1. The dam is 20 m wide and
2 m high. Located adjacent to this impoundment is a small colonial
canal. The dam appears as if it had been damaged by an El Niño
flash flood since over 10 m of its center has been washed away. Five
hundred meters farther upvalley from the dam, the quebrada
narrows to a 15 m wide, very steep-sided gully (30°).
All of the Miraflores flood flow would have been contained in
this small ravine until it reached the main quebrada where it would
have joined and augmented the mudflow from farther upvalley.
These materials should have been contained within the quebrada
until they reached the quebrada mouth where they would have
disgorged and fanned out rapidly over the Chiribaya settlement. The
speed of the flood would have been substantial (around 112 k.p.h.;
see Chapter 8) since the slope of the quebrada channel is 10 degrees.
Geologic Column #2 is located in the wall of the main quebrada
channel one kilometer upvalley from the olive grove. This spot was
chosen because the quebrada is fairly steep here, with a slope of 25°,
and the flood events are clearly visible in the banks of the channel
(See Chapter 7).

199
Excavations at Pocoma Quebrada
Introduction
Figure 5-12 is an aerial photograph showing the general terrain
surrounding the Pocoma Quebrada. Figure 5-13 indicates the
important features of the quebrada including: The domestic and
agricultural terraces denoted by 13A and 13B; The High and Low
canals on the slopes of the quebrada at 13C and 13D; the olive grove
at 13E; and the units, the terrace wall profile, and Geologic Column
#1.
Location and Descriptions of Units and Profiles
Profile #1 of Terrace Wall (T. W. #1) lies 10 meters from a 6.5
m wide stone-lined tomb, which has been looted. This interesting
location was brought to my attention by UNM graduate student, Rick
Reycraft, who was also doing research at Pocoma Quebrada. This
terrace wall is extraordinary because it was built directly on top of
the Miraflores flood deposits, and it is the first evidence of rebuilding
by the Chiribaya people after the Miraflores Event (See Chapter 7).
Unit #1 (U. #1) is located on a combined agricultural/domestic
terrace 5 m from T. W. #1 on a heading of 60°. Since the Miraflores
deposits were present at the terrace wall, this location was chosen to
further analyze the impact and to determine if there was any
additional evidence of rebuilding. The Chuza deposits are absent
from this unit, and the Miraflores flood detritus rapidly becomes

200
Figure 5-12: Aerial View of Pocoma Quebrada

201

202
caliche within 30 cm of the surface. Other than a pocket of arcilla
(whitish clay), nothing significant was found in U. #1.
Unit #2 (U. #2) is located 19.5 m from the center of the badly
disturbed stone-lined burial chamber. The large tomb (6.5 m E-W
and 5.5 m N-S) has been so damaged that it is virtually impossible to
say for certain whether or not this structure was a Proto-Chullpa, an
above ground stone burial chamber. Unit #2 was perhaps the most
artifactual laden unit of the entire field season (See Chapter 6 below
for a detailed account of the recovered data from all quebrada units).
This unit was quite exciting because it contained the cane wall from a
new dwelling which was built directly on top of the Miraflores
deposits (See Chapters 6 and 7).
Unit #3 (U. #3) is located 45 m Northwest of U. #1 because an
agricultural terrace exists here. Agricultural refuse mixed with
cultural remains found in the upper levels of this unit leads to the
conclusion that this area was once a domestic terrace which was later
used for agricultural purposes. A layer of midden is found directly
overlying the Miraflores reddish yellow (7.5 YR 6/6) deposits, whose
composition looks identical to that of the sediments found in U. #1.
This positioning of the strata supports the conclusion concerning the
evidence from U. #2 that at least some of the Chiribaya survived the
Miraflores Flood and were able to continue their daily lives. No
indication of the Chuza Flood could be found on this
agricultural/domestic terrace.

203
Location and Description of Shovel Tests
Shovel Test #1 is located 85 m North and 25 m East of U. #2 on
what is believed to be an historical agricultural surface. Probing
here exposed 10 cm of agricultural refuse overlying 40 cm of
Chiribaya midden, which included sea shell fragments and very small
pieces of pottery. Miraflores deposits were once again encountered,
but were found at a shallower depth of 50 cm below the surface.
There are no Chuza deposits here, but it is interesting that there is
some Chuza sheet wash even in the High Canal on the north side of
the Pocoma Quebrada (see below).
It should be noted that some of the later possible Post-Flood
cultural materials found at Pocoma and in the surrounding areas are
now referred to as originating from the Burro Flaco Complex, a series
of maritime settlements located near some of the coastal quebradas
(Penmann and Bawden 1991). This classification is based in part on
the excavations and the interpretations of the type site of Burro Flaco
by Ms. Shawn Penmann of the University of New Mexico. Burro Flaco
is located about 400 m West and downslope from the units which I
have been discussing. Most of the Burro Flaco pottery is very drab,
but a few polychromatic sherds have been found. Although the
decorated pottery from Burro Flaco is different from the Chiribaya
but similar to the Chilean San Miguel pottery, the current sample is
too small to make any definite statement about motifs or
iconography (Shawn Pennman Personal Communication 1993).
The idea that the Burro Flaco Complex was a separate fishing-
based social unit, contemporaneous with the Chiribaya, was based on
an early model developed by Garth Bawden, Director of the Maxwell

204
Museum at Albuquerque, New Mexico. However, since the discovery
of the Miraflores Flood, this model has had to undergo some
modification. It is now unclear whether: 1) the Burro Flaco Complex
was a separate maritime-based society before the flood; or 2)
whether it developed after the Miraflores Event; or 3) it remained a
separate contemporaneous ethnic entity both before and after the
Miraflores Flood and some post-flood members of the Chiribaya
Culture were later assimilated into the Burro Flaco society. Lacking
sufficient 14C dating, it is currently impossible to assign an accurate
chronology to the Burro Flaco Complex. Additional research is
needed at the Burro Flaco Site and at the Carrizal and Alastaya Sites
before we can accurately determine the nature of the Burro Flaco
Complex with regards to the much larger coastal Chiribaya
population (Garth Bawden personal communications 1993) since it
has also now been proposed that some of the Chiribaya living in the
Ilo Valley had been part-time fishing specialists (Owen 1992b).
Shovel Test #2 (S. T. #2) is located on a different terrace 15 m
East of S. T. #1. Excavations exposed a 4 cm deep layer of wind
deposited sand and silt. A 2 cm layer of redeposited Huayna Putina
ash was found overlying 30 cm of agricultural refuse. Although the
rains associated with the Chuza Event were sufficient to create sheet
wash on the steeper slopes, the gentler slopes of the terraces only
allowed the rains to disturb the volcanic ash, but, at the same time,
were not sufficient to move noticeable Chuza sediments. There was
no evidence of human occupation, such as sea shells or sherds, found

205
in the agricultural stratum, which leads to the conclusion that this
particular terrace may never have been occupied.
Prehistoric Terraces
Ground survey of the quebrada involved the investigation of
the abandoned agricultural terraces North of the olive grove. The
terraces, which lie the farthest upslope, are completely covered by
only Miraflores deposits. The lower-lying terraces bordering the
quebrada channel include Chuza deposits overlying the Miraflores
alluvium, which also overflowed the banks of the quebrada at this
particular location.
1982-83 Run-off Channel
Fifteen meters from the main channel of the quebrada is a cut
made by the run-off from the 1982-83 El Niño rains. There is a .5
cm veneer of 1982-83 mud, composed of fine sands and silt,
plastered over the top of the Miraflores sediments that lie at the
bottom of this cut. Chuza deposits consist of a 27 cm thick layer of
dark yellowish brown (10YR 4/6) silty, gritty sand with very small
rock fragments (less than .5 cm) and small pebbles (less than 1 cm).
This Chuza debris directly overlies the 60 cm thick stratum of
Miraflores deposits, which had to be divided into two components.
The first 28 cm of the Miraflores stratum is yellowish brown (10YR
5/6) very compacted sandy silt with rocks up to 20 cm in size.
The last 32 cm of Miraflores is dark yellowish brown (10YR
3/6) very compacted sandy silt with some clay particles, small rocks,
and includes many root hairs. The reason that the lower deposits are

206
darker is probably because of the organic materials from the
agricultural terraces which the leading edge of the flood pushed in
front of its wake. Despite the salient profile left by the erosion of the
1982-83 rains, there were no cultural remains visible in either of the
flood strata.
Irrigation Canals
The #1 High North Canal (#1 H. N. C.) is located on the north
side of the Pocoma Quebrada. Much of the canal has been totally
eroded away by previous El Niño sheet wash and floods, except for a
20 m canal remnant at the extreme upper valley end, and, thus, was
an ideal location for a trench profile. There is exposed bedrock about
35 m from the intake end of this canal near what appears to be a
now defunct spring source for the Chiribaya irrigation system. There
are still a few dead olive tree stumps located at the edge of this canal
which could be interpreted as an indication that the Spanish had
somehow reactivated the canal. However, a test trench in the canal
revealed that it saw perhaps some use after the Miraflores Flood,
because the canal bottom, which lies directly above the Miraflores
deposits, has little evidence of water transported sediments.
However, the construction indicates that the canal was originally part
of the Chiribaya irrigation system.
The #2 High North Canal (#2 H. N. C.), which is 1.30 m at its
widest point, is located about 15 m above the quebrada bottom on
the north side of the Pocoma Quebrada, and it is obviously a
continuation of the #1 H. N. C. Both the #1 and #2 High Canals have
outside stone-faced retaining walls, which helped support the canals
on these precarious slopes. This #2 canal extends for about 75 m up

207
(NNE) the main branch of the quebrada toward the exposed bedrock
at the spring source. There is a colonial rock-wall enclosure which
possibly served as a domestic livestock corral. Since this enclosure is
built over the #2 High North Canal in two places, it seems probable
that this enclosure is from the later Spanish Colonial Period (See
Chapter 7).
The #1 Low South Canal (#1 L. S. C.) is located on the south
side of the quebrada 4.5 m above the bottom of the quebrada. The
location for the profile was chosen on the basis of the remnants of
olive tree trunks visible along this canal, and the fact that 10 m
beyond this point all traces of the canal have been obliterated.
Unless there were prehistoric agricultural terraces that have since
been covered over by colonial or modern agricultural endeavors,
today there are no visible prehistoric agricultural terraces which the
#1 L. C. S. could have irrigated.
The #1 High South Canal (#1 H. S. C.) is located on the south
side of Pocoma Quebrada about 25 m above the quebrada bottom.
The profile location was selected because the support wall and the
irrigation canal were intact, while other sections of the canal were so
damaged that a profile would probably not contain diagnostic data
(See Chapter 7).
Geologic Columns
Geologic Column #1 (G. C. #1) at Pocoma was located in a "cut"
made by heavy excavation equipment. The rectangular hole, which
exposed an excellent two meter tall column, was probably a "borrow
pit" for fill materials used in local road construction. The cut is

208
located 75 m North of the quebrada channel and 80 m Northeast of
the colonial stone wall which once enclosed a now abandoned olive
grove (See Chapter 7).
Location and Description of Shovel Tests
Shovel Test #1 (S. T. #1) is located on an agricultural terrace
Northeast of the colonial wall and the quebrada channel. This probe
exposed a 7 cm layer of aeolian deposits resting on 43 cm of Chuza
sheet wash. However, this terrace had been farmed sometime after
the Chuza Event. The deposits were composed of sandy silt with a
good clay content which is to be expected because of agricultural
activities. Cultural debris found included one Colonial sherd and a
few seashells. Also present were some very fine root hairs from
some unknown domestic plants. Wild plants rarely grow anywhere
along this region of the coast, with the exception of El Niño years
when some long dormant seeds will sprout. Even most of the Lomas
here have been devoid of any vegetation for decades.
Shovel Test #2 (S. T. #2) is located on the second agricultural
terrace upslope (East) of S. T. #1. Wind deposited fine sand and silt
measured 5 cm in depth. The Chuza deposits are more compacted
here, although they are almost identical in depth (i.e. 49 cm) to those
found by S. T. #1. The deposits here are perhaps more dense
because of the inclusion of rocks 5-10 cm in diameter on this terrace.
Nevertheless, the sediments were still composed of sandy silt with
good clay content. I found a few more seashells and some root hairs,

209
but no cultural materials in the upper half of the Chuza sediments,
though there many more seashells in the lower deposits.
Shovel Test #3 (S. T. #3) is located North of the colonial wall on
the second terrace downslope (West) of S. T. #1. Aeolian deposits
measured 4 cm deep here. The Chuza deposits (36 cm) are more
compact on this terrace than at S. T. #2, but they are still comprised
of sandy silt with clay. I only found a few shells and a scant few root
hairs in this test. A major limitation of shovel testing is the inability
to excavate deeply, and, therefore, I was unable, in most places, to
excavate deeply enough to reach the debris from the Miraflores
Flood.
Shovel Test #4 (S. T. #4) is located two terraces downslope
from S. T. #3 on the lowest visible agricultural terrace approximately
50 m Northwest of the colonial stone wall. Here probing revealed 4
cm of aeolian deposits overlying 30 cm of Chuza sediments consisting
of sandy silt with clay particles. This probe was the shallowest
because the very compacted flood deposits only allowed excavating
to a total depth of 34 cm. However, since cultural materials had been
so scarce on these terraces, I was very fortunate in finding one Burro
Flaco sherd here.
Shovel Test #5 (S. T. #5) is located two terraces upslope from S.
T. #2. The remainder of the agricultural terraces extending upslope
for 45 m from S. T. #5 are totally covered by flood debris and rocks
which fluctuate from 10 cm to one meter plus in size. The aeolian
level was only 3 cm thick here. The Chuza deposits were 41 cm
deep, but I was finally able to find evidence of the Miraflores Flood
on the agricultural terraces, and so I dug down 20 cm searching for

210
cultural remains. The Miraflores deposits were somewhat finer than
usual, and they only included rocks up to 15 cm. However, I believe
that the increased number of rocks helped to trap the finer
sediments. I again found only one Burro Flaco sherd and even fewer
seashells, but no Chiribaya materials.
Shovel Test #6 (S. T. #6) is located on an abandoned olive
agricultural terrace 25 m NNE of S. T. #5 and 30 m East of the G. C.
#1. At this location, there are a series of colonial terraces with small
depressions for watering olive trees. The wind borne sands are 5 cm
thick and overlie only 16 cm of Chuza deposits. The shallower Chuza
deposits here indicate that the volume of the Chuza mudflow was
waning at this point because these terraces are situated at about the
same elevation. Therefore, as the Chuza mudflow surged downslope,
spreading laterally at the same time, its total force and volume were
dissipating by the time they reached the olive terraces.
The strata in S. T. #6 was the most unusual found during the
shovel testing. Beneath a 16 cm layer of Chuza deposits was a 4 cm
layer of sand directly followed by 12 cm more of flood deposits.
Immediately beneath this second flood layer was a 21 cm thick
midden overlying at least 5 cm of Miraflores deposits.
The 4 cm sand layer is definitely not of aeolian origin. Perhaps,
it was deposited by the slackwater phase of the Chuza Flood. If this
sequence is true, then there must have been a second flood surge
involved with the Chuza Event. Evidence contained in a geologic
column at the Planting Surface #1 also indicates that there were
possibly two phases of the Chuza Flood.

211
I found many shells in the lower portion of the Chuza deposits
immediately overlying the midden. Based on the stratigraphy, I
believe this midden is the same one which I encountered in the
G. C. #1, 30 meters west of S. T. #6. There were, as commonly is the
case, no cultural materials in the Miraflores sediments.
Investigations in the Ilo Valley
Introduction
Lacking official permission from the INC (Instituto Nacional de
Cultura) to conduct excavations in the Ilo Valley, investigations were
necessarily limited to observing and measuring the accessible flood
stratigraphy in the river bank, cleaning and drawing a few geologic
columns, a few shallow probes on some of the agricultural terraces,
and one trench in an historical irrigation canal.
The Ilo Valley Flood Sequence
Since the flood sequence for the Ilo Valley has been discussed
in detail in Chapter 3, a brief overview will suffice here. In general,
the Basal Sequence (B.S,) has the oldest and deepest deposits with a
strata as thick as 8.5 m. Lying directly above the B.S. are the 14th
century Miraflores sediments which fluctuate from 2-6 m in
thickness. The 1600 A.D. Huayna Putina ash is generally found in a
thin 1-3 cm stratum. The 1607 A.D. Chuza Flood deposited a layer
that is 1-2 m thick. The fine sediments of the 1982-83 El Niño are
visible on the valley floodplain and in the bottoms of the large

212
quebradas that run perpendicular to the Ilo Valley. Traces of the
1991-92 El Niño have now been added to the flood sequence.
With the exception of the 1991-92 and the 1982-83 El Niño
deposits, the flood stratigraphy in the valley is almost identical to
that found in the three coastal quebradas. The marked difference
between the two stratigraphies, separated by some 30 km, is the
depth of the flood deposits in the Ilo Valley, which are substantially
thicker than those found at the Carrizal, Miraflores, or Pocoma
Quebradas. The reason for the disparity is the fact that there are a
series of lateral quebradas that channel viscous materials into the
river channel.
Agricultural Terraces
The quebradas not only add to the total volume of flood
materials, but they also substantially add to the destruction of the
irrigation system components. Even a cursory field survey of the Ilo
Valley would quickly reveal that none of the agricultural terraces
escaped the Miraflores Flood. The highest terraces are totally
covered with flood debris that is an estimated 10 meters or more
deep at some locations. Even the lowest terraces all have at least
sheet wash, varying in depth from 30-78 cm, which again is deeper
than that found on the terraces along the coast.
Planting Surface #3 was the only location where limited shovel
testing uncovered any plant remains, and these were sparse. One
corn cob of the variety grown by the Chiribaya and some corn husk
fragments were discovered here. Limited shallow tests of the
agricultural terraces at P. S. #1 and #2 revealed no agricultural

213
refuse. Since the presence of the corn cob might be considered an
aberration, it is possible that the cob was carried from elsewhere and
deposited by the sheet wash.
What Do Excavations Indicate about the Flood Severity?
Introduction
The lack of Pre-16th century written records concerning heavy
rains and flooding in Peru, compels a researcher to rely on data
recovered through site survey and excavations. Careful analysis and
synthesis of these data can help create an oftentimes quite accurate
account of past events. The focus of this dissertation research was
primarily to assess the impact of a mammoth flood event on the
irrigated agricultural systems located in the coastal quebradas and in
the Ilo Valley. Data concerning the Chuza Flood were used for
comparative purposes since it was also a very large flood event,
which left considerable deposits in the study area. Evidence from
each quebrada and the valley presents a slightly different scenario.
The following is a description of the severity of the flood episodes,
with particular emphasis on the Miraflores Flood, based on field
observations, excavated data, and stratigraphy.
Impact at Carrizal Quebrada
Although the 1982-83 El Niño was the strongest perturbation
in the last century, its impact on the modern people and their
agriculture in the Ilo area was inconsequential compared to the

214
impact of the Miraflores Event on the prehistoric agriculture. It is a
fact that the mudflows associated with the 1982-83 El Niño rains
covered the spring at the La Yara quebrada causing the eventual
abandonment of this small olive grove (Moseley et al. 1993).
However, the Miraflores Flood not only buried springs, but it
virtually annihilated the largest irrigated agricultural system ever to
operate in the lower Moquegua Drainage.
Analysis of the Miraflores deposits at Carrizal indicate that the
Miraflores Event was a widespread event that was perhaps worse
than any other known El Niño perturbation, though some of the flood
events represented in the Basal Sequence may have been as large or
even larger than the Miraflores Event. Based on the data from the
units excavated at Carrizal the following interpretation seems
probable. Since only the units that do not reside on the domestic
terraces show flood deposits from both the Chuza and the Miraflores
floods, it is reasonable to conclude that the residents of these
terraces were unaffected directly by the Miraflores Flood. The large
irrigation canal at the base of the domestic terrace was used briefly
for irrigation purposes, but probably not by the Chiribaya because
the agricultural terraces below the domestic terraces were covered
by the Miraflores Flood. The test trench in the canal shows that an
irrigation canal bottom exists above Chiribaya cultural debris, but if
there were no viable agricultural terraces to irrigate, then it seems
that the canal sediments were probably from later use by non-
Chiribaya people who re-activated some of the abandoned
agricultural surfaces.

215
The geologic columns demonstrate that both of the floods
continued their flow for at least 200 m beyond the location of the
domestic terraces on the south side of the quebrada. The depth of
the Chuza deposits present in the geologic columns seem to indicate
that the Chuza Flood was a larger event than the Miraflores Event. Of
course, investigations of the entire region prove the opposite to be
true. The reason for this disparity is the fact that the Miraflores
Flood dropped most of its sediment load on the agricultural terraces
in the upper quebrada according to field observations in this area.
Ground survey, stratigraphy of the canal profile, and the data
from the shovel testing in the upper quebrada all lead to the
conclusion that the Miraflores Event totally destroyed the irrigated
agricultural system with a single mudflow of mammoth proportions.
Although some of the terraces nearer to the quebrada channel were
unaffected by this mudflow, at least 75% of the available agricultural
surfaces were covered by the Miraflores Flood. Probing of these
terraces show a rich organic layer composed of root hairs and
unidentified vegetal fibers overlying Miraflores deposits, but, at the
moment, there is no evidence to support the position that the
Chiribaya had re-activated the terraces following the flood.
Assessing the impact on the domestic terraces, about 200 m
North of the main quebrada, was the most challenging. The only
evidence of the Miraflores Flood found was sheet wash in what
resembles a small rudimentary irrigation canal. However, since the
Miraflores Event was so much stronger than the Chuza Flood, it is
difficult to explain adequately the presence of what look like Chuza
deposits overlying cultural midden at a location that is even higher

216
in elevation than the "irrigation canal". Since not much time was
spent investigating this area of Carrizal, additional research is needed
to solve this enigma.
The 1982-83 flood deposits at Carrizal are characterized by a
silty sand cap that varies from 10-14 cm in depth. The adobe-like
deposits are found plastered against the wall of the quebrada, 2-3 m
above the floor of the channel. These sediments differ in both depth
and composition from those investigated on the north coast of Peru.
There the sediments are "characterized by a 50- to 100-cm-thick
basal gravel, overlain by a 10- to 100-cm-thick sand bed, grading
into a 1- to 10-cm-thick silty sand bed and capped by a very thin
layer of silt or clay" (Wells 1987:14,463). The reason for this
dissimilarity is the fact that the northern Peruvian valleys normally
receive more rain during an El Niño perturbation, and it is only
during very strong events that the El Niño rains ever reach far-
southern Peru (Waylen and Caviedes 1986).
Impact at Miraflores Quebrada
Miraflores Quebrada presents the most dramatic setting for the
greatest potential human devastation anywhere in the study area.
More units were excavated here than at any other location, and, yet,
less artifactual data were recovered at Miraflores than in the other
locations. As soon as excavations began, I was immediately awe¬
struck by the absence of even pottery sherds, especially since sherds
are so commonly found on the surface at other locations. With the
exception of cultural material recovered from the 2 by 2 m probe in

217
the east wall of Pit #1, the entire floodplain is almost totally devoid
of cultural remains for a distance of 400 plus meters. We cannot
categorically state that the quebrada was occupied when the
Miraflores Flood struck, but if it were, then the entire Chiribaya
population living at the quebrada would have been instantaneously
pushed into the Pacific Ocean by the estimated 5-6 m high leading
edge of the flood, surging down upon them at more than 110 k.p.h.
The immense power of this swift moving flood is verified by
the fact that boulders larger than 3 m rest slightly South of Pit #2. S.
Terrace facing stones and rocks, longer than one meter, rest at the
very edge of this marine terrace over 400 m from the sunken pits
and rich organic debris found in some of the units could have come
from the agricultural terraces that lay more than a kilometer
upslope.
There is absolutely no trace of a prehistoric irrigation canal--
every component of the irrigation system had been totally
obliterated by an event that seems to have been worse than the
wrath of God. The steep slopes (25-30°) of the Miraflores Quebrada
would have restrained the total mudflow until it reached the
quebrada mouth where it would have instantly fanned out across the
total area destroying everything in its path. There is not one shred
of evidence of anyone or anything surviving this 14th century
gargantuan flood at Miraflores Quebrada.
Impact at Pocoma Quebrada
There is evidence of heavy damage to the irrigation system at
Pocoma. Most of the High Canal on the north side of the quebrada

218
has been totally washed or eroded away. One 20 m-long intake
section of canal exists near the presumed spring source for this canal.
Another 75 m section of canal is found farther down valley from this
intake section, but the rest of the contour canal which ran up the
main branch of the quebrada is now utterly non-existent.
All terraces show evidence of flood damage, although the
combined Chuza and aeolian deposits were too deep to allow reaching
the level of the Miraflores deposits. The last 45 m of terraces
nearest the slopes are totally buried by flood deposits. If any
agriculture was conducted at Pocoma following the great flood, it
would have had to been "dry" farming, which would have provided
only an extremely precarious subsistence.
Impact in the Ilo Valley
The devastation at the Miraflores Quebrada is impressive to
say the least, but it is, however, a small irrigation system and a
relatively limited area when compared to the 9 km-long irrigation
system in the Ilo Valley which was also destroyed by the Miraflores
Flood. All that remains of the largest irrigation canal to have ever
operated in the Southern Andes is the canal support "notch" carved
into solid rock and a few facing stones for the canal support walls
which seem to defy gravity by clinging to the near vertical rock faces
15-20 m above the flood plain.
This agricultural system was rendered unequivocally useless
by the largest single flood event yet to be identified in the Southern
Andes. If any remnants of the original canal still exist, they are
buried beneath countless tons of flood deposits, sheet wash, and

219
scree. All the higher terraces of this system are also completely
buried, sometimes by as much as 10 meters or more of detritus. All
flood deposits are many times greater here than those found
anywhere in the coastal quebradas.
Fed additional flood materials by the lateral quebradas, the
flood surge raging down the Ilo River Valley inundated everything in
its path until it met the natural mud and rock dam created by the
extravagant outpouring of debris from the large quebrada at Planting
Surface #3. One can only imagine what the consequences would have
been for the downvalley inhabitants when this "dam" breached.
Even the lower terraces are buried by flood debris that varies
from 30-78 cm. Although the deposits along the river bank are
normally much deeper than those found elsewhere, the overburden
on the agricultural terraces in not much more than that of the
terraces found in the coastal locations.
The only evidence of possible post-flood agricultural activity
was one lone corn cob of the Chiribaya variety, which was found in a
shovel test at Planting Surface #3. I believe that this find is an
aberration because multiple shallow probes at both Planting Surfaces
#1 & #2 yielded unquestionably no proof of post-flood agricultural
activities in the Ilo Valley.

220
Evidence of the Survival or the Demise of the Chiribava
Post-Miraflores Cultural Activity
Carrizal Quebrada
There is no direct evidence of cultural survival at the Carrizal
Quebrada, but there is some indirect evidence. Since some domestic
terraces at Chiribaya Baja showed no deposits from either the Chuza
or the Miraflores Floods, it seems reasonable to conclude that at least
some of the occupants of these terraces could have survived after the
Miraflores Event. South of the domestic terrace, a 20-30 cm deep
midden overrides the deposits from Miraflores in two different units.
Although there is a slight mixture of pottery sherds found in these
units, the overwhelming majority of them are Chiribaya, which
should lead to the conclusion that there was a remnant Chiribaya
population which survived the flood.
Based on recent research of prehistoric weather patterns
elsewhere in Peru, there is a possibility that a drying climate may
have caused the abandonment of the Carrizal Quebrada a little before
the Miraflores Flood. A shrinking water supply affected the years
from 1100-1300 A.D., with a marked decline beginning in 1350 A.D.
or at least by 1400 A.D. (Ortloff and Kolata 1993). Other
investigators state that the climate may have changed to a drier
regime with below average precipitation from 1200-1500 A.D.
(Thompson et al. 1985) with a severe drought occurring between
1245-1310 A.D. (Thompson et al. 1983).
Since spring-fed, localized irrigation systems are the most
vulnerable to periods of drought (Ortloff and Kolata 1993), an

22 1
irrigation system, such as that used by the Chiribaya at the Carrizal
Quebrada, may very well have suffered enough from a water
shortage that some agricultural areas were abandoned, at least in the
lower section of the quebrada. However, the upvalley irrigation
system appears to have been sourced by a stream that presumably
flowed during the time of the Chiribaya Culture because there is a
"choke point" located meters away from a prehistoric canal 'intake".
Therefore, it seems probable that this upvalley component could
have remained viable until the onslaught of the Miraflores Flood.
Pocoma Quebrada
This quebrada presents more evidence supporting the
hypothesis that at least some of the Chiribaya people survived the
Miraflores Flood. On the high domestic terraces that lie West of the
olive grove, excavations uncovered several tantalizing bits of
evidence that indicate some rebuilding activities following the
Miraflores Flood. The profile of the rebuilt domestic terrace wall
shows that the large facing stones were set directly on top of the
Miraflores deposits. Unit #2 exhibits the foundation of a cane house
wall which was excavated 20 cm into Miraflores sediments. Nearby
this newly constructed wall are found older, damaged canes that
were presumably from a house which was razed by the flood. The
25 cm deep occupation layer gives a good indication that this location
was occupied for quite some time. The segment of human pelvis
bone found in this unit poses the question of whether it belonged to
an occupant of the dwelling which was destroyed by Miraflores.

222
In another unit, there is a thick midden immediately overlying
flood deposits, providing yet another confirmation of the supposition
that some people at Pocoma survived the flood. Shovel testing
revealed that there is another thick midden overriding the
Miraflores deposits. Some of the pottery sherds found in these
shovel tests were the Burro Flaco style, presumably manufactured by
the former members of the Chiribaya Culture. Thirty meters from
one shovel test lies the same thick occupation midden, which seems
to indicate that a resident population had lived here for some time.
Probes in the several irrigation canals at Pocoma, show that at
least the High Canal on the south side of the quebrada saw some
limited use. It is presently inconclusive as to who used this canal
following the flood, but it is obvious that a new canal was excavated
into the Miraflores sediments.
The Ilo Valley
There was evidence of Post-Miraflores construction found at
Planting Surface #2 (P. S. #2). The lowest terrace at this location was
cleared of flood debris, and a number of rectangular cane dwellings
were built. Figure 5-14 is a profile of P. S. #2 showing the location of
these cane dwellings. Further activity involved the construction of a
stone-lined storage pit near the houses. The limited number of
houses would suggest a very small resident population, although
more houses may have previously existed and have subsequently
been eliminated by later flood erosion of the terrace. P. S. #2 is the
only location in the entire Ilo Valley where I could find any evidence
of post-flood activity by the Chiribaya people.

I\
O 5 10 15
Meters
D.R.S. 1993
Figure 5-14: Profile of Planting Surface #2
223

224
The tomb locations associated with the planting surfaces seem to be a
good indicator of whether or not these surfaces were used for
agricultural purposes following the Miraflores Event. The tombs at
both P. S. #1 and #2 are intrusive sepulchers excavated directly into
the planting surfaces, which strongly suggests that they were never
used for agricultural purposes after the decimation of the planting
surfaces by the Miraflores Flood in the 14th century A.D.
Irrigated Agriculture in the Study Area
Introduction
Since much of Peru consists of a lengthy desert coast and the
extremely high Andes mountains, it has inhabitable regions that are
of limited size. Hence, the expanding prehistoric population was
necessarily densely concentrated in small zones which were semi-
isolated from each other. For this reason, the expansion of limited
farming land could only be conducted efficiently on a valley-wide or
regional basis (Lanning 1967:4). Coastal valleys, such as Carrizal,
Miraflores, and Pocoma, North of Ilo, and the Ilo Valley were small
and probably moderately densely populated areas, which could only
support the resident population with the aid of extensive valley¬
wide irrigation systems.
Types of Terraces Used in the Study Area
Virtually all agricultural land below 3,000 m, in the Moquegua
Drainage, is terraced because of the steep gradients (Stanish 1987)
produced by gradual tectonic uplift and the downcutting of the
watershed (Clement and Moseley 1991). My personal field survey

225
has determined that there are three types of terraces found in the
study area along the coast and in the Ilo Valley. The first is the
Andene or "staircase" type. These terraces usually have either
vertical or slightly back-sloping facing walls of mortarless stone
work. The agricultural surface itself is sometimes nearly flat, but
more often the surfaces slope forward to facilitate the drainage of
excess water to the lower surfaces. The "staircase" type is by far the
most common terrace design used in the areas near Ilo. This terrace
scheme is basically the same as that found elsewhere in Peru
(Denevan 1987).
As the slope increases in steepness, "contour" terraces, which
closely follow natural terrain of the steep walls of the Ilo valley and
coastal quebradas, are used. These terraces are relatively narrow,
varying from about 1.0 to 2.0 meters in width--in contrast to the
lower terraces which may be as much as 8 meters wide. A major
advantage of contour terraces is the creation of cultivable land where
none normally exists. Remnants of contour terraces are found
occasionally only in the coastal quebradas because the mudslides
from the 14th century Miraflores flood either totally destroyed or
covered all of the higher contour terraces in the Ilo Valley.
Only a very few "linear" terraces can be found anywhere in the
study area. These short, rather narrow terraces tend to run laterally
across the slope of the not-too-inclined hillsides (Denevan 1987).
These types of terraces are only found on the north side of the
quebrada at the P. S. #1, far up the Ilo Valley (Figure 5-15).
Mortarless stone walls were used as supports for the agricultural
terraces, and served to prevent the erosion of agricultural soils, while

T = Terrace
• = Molle Stumps
30 meters
Historic Canal
Figure 5-15: Planting Surface #1—Ilo Valley
226

227
at the same time allowing excess water to drain to the lower
surfaces. This design is a sound architectural practice because the
area is tectonically active, and the stone walls built using this
construction technique are non-rigid and are able to move with the
undulations of the earth.
Types of Canals Used in the Study Area
There are two types of prehistoric irrigation canals used in the
Moquegua Drainage. In the higher elevations, where there are
narrower valleys with rapid, more or less permanent streams with
steep gradients, people diverted water upstream into short, "linear"
canals^, which would irrigate small plots of farm land. In the lower
Ilo Valley, where there probably was an intermittent stream
augmented by springs, the Chiribaya most likely built a "toma
rustica" (a primitive diversion dam of stones and/or logs, which are
still is use today), which raised the water level and, at the same time,
diverted the water into a intake canal that fed into the main
"contour" irrigation canal {Acequia Madre), which supplied the lateral
or feeder canals that ran perpendicular to the main canal and
terminated in the fields. The advantage of a contour canal, which
typically is about Io slope (or less at higher elevations, such as at
Otora, Stanish 1987), is to incorporate the maximum allowable land
using a river inlet as far up-valley as is feasible. Prehistoric canals,
in many parts of the world, are rarely constructed to flow down
slopes greater than 2 per cent because of canal erosion (Farrington
1980).

228
Further, a contour canal closely follows the natural terrain in
order to maintain a small, constant slope as it descends farther
downvalley. Similar canals are also found on the north coast of Peru,
and, regardless of location and topography, all "require precise
surveying skills to find the correct path" (Ortloff 1988:102). This
type of construction is typical of both the Middle Horizon and the
Late Intermediate Period (Ortloff 1994).
Canal construction used in the Ilo Valley and in the coastal
quebradas was the same. Retaining support walls, called Pirca
(Stanish 1987), constructed with mortarless stones were used to
prevent the erosion of the outside canal wall. The inside wall of the
irrigation canal, in the case of the Ilo Valley, was carved into the
solid granitic slopes, leaving a canal "notch" that is frequently visible
high on the sheer walls of the Ilo Valley.
Irrigation Reservoirs
Reservoirs are vital engineering components of the PreHispanic
agricultural system as is evidenced by the fact that at least 5
reservoirs have been discovered in the Otora Valley. These
structures were stone-lined, earthen-filled wells about 1 m wide that
were placed directly on the main canal lines (Stanish 1987:344).
Similar technology was used by the colonial Spanish at Carrizal,
where a series of cement holding tanks migrated downslope as the
phreatic level has decreased through the centuries (Clement and
Moseley 1991). Earlier investigators found similar holding basins
elsewhere in the highlands (Cook 1916).

229
In the coastal quebradas, where much of the water supply was
doubtless provided by springs alone, water storage for the irrigation
systems would be even more critical. The quebrada residents would
need to capture and store the meager flow in a reservoir, and later
open a floodgate or spillway to provide enough hydraulic pressure to
allow the irrigation of the fields farthest from the water source.
Discussion
The flood impact was much less at Carrizal than it was at the
Miraflores Quebrada because of the constricted quebrada that is
located 2 km above the olive grove. As the quebrada opened on to a
large, gently sloping terraced agricultural area (Figure 5-6D), the
Miraflores Flood would have spread laterally and slowed, losing most
of its forward velocity and, at the same, its capacity to carry much of
its heavier sediment load. For this reason, the flood deposited
hundreds of large rocks, ranging in size from 10 cm to a meter plus
(Figure 5-7) over a 250 m by 600 m area of the agricultural terraces.
Geological columns show that additional flood debris continued
flowing down the main quebrada channel and, when the flood
encountered the canal "Choke Point," it would have risen sufficiently
to destroy the canal intake. In sum, the Miraflores Event, possibly
the largest El Niño flood event in the last 4,000 years (based on the
fact that it overlies a Preceramic midden at the La Yara Quebrada)
would have decimated the entire irrigated agricultural system of the
upper Carrizal Quebrada and rendered it useless in a matter of
seconds.

230
These exposed profiles showed the sequence of the deposition
of the aeolian materials and the various floods. The depth of these
deposits gives an indication of the severity of each flood episode
because, as the units proceed farther downslope, the deposits should
become thinner as the distance increases, as was indeed the case
with the Chuza flood deposits, which, generally, would decrease in
depth until, at some point, they would disappear entirely. However,
the Miraflores deposits did not decrease substantially in depth, and
could be found in the lowest portions of the Miraflores Quebrada, all
the way to the Pacific Ocean. Since there was no evidence of the
Chuza or the Miraflores Flood found on the occupation terrace at
Carrizal Baja, it can be assumed the if the domestic terraces had been
occupied at the time of the Miraflores Flood, the Chiribaya residents
at this particular location would have survived.

CHAPTER 6
EXCAVATED DATA
Introduction
Using the methods outlined in Chapter 3 sufficient data were
recovered in the locations discussed in Chapter 5 to support my
original hypothesis that the Miraflores Flood, which occurred in the
mid-14th century A.D., had indeed destroyed the Chiribaya irrigated
agricultural system beyond repair, and that this destruction had
ultimately led to the demise of the Chiribaya Culture around 1350
A.D. Included in this chapter is the analysis of these data,
presented in a series of tables and graphs, which conclusively prove
that the Miraflores Flood was the largest single flood episode
identified to date that has occurred in the Southern Andes in
perhaps millennia.
Types and Quantities of Materials Expected from each Locality
Since the Chiribaya utilized pottery for centuries, it was
expected that Chiribaya potsherds would be the most abundant
artifacts found throughout the research area, even though there
was a chance of occasionally finding another pottery style because
of the interaction with the highland cultures living around
Moquegua. Since "the Chiribaya pottery is the most beautiful found
in the region for all epochs" (Mujica 1990:132), it is easily identified
because the vibrant pottery is usually decorated with black, white,

232
and orange on a red base with geometric designs, such as panels
with semi-circles, and red bands with white dots (Jessup 1990).
Because the Chiribaya was an agricultural based culture,
domestic plant remains, such as maize, ají, coca, and gourd, were
predicted to be found occasionally in the excavated units. However,
these expectations would not exclude the discovery of marine
remains since the exploitation of marine resources by native
Peruvians has a well-documented history spanning 8,000 or more
years (Bird 1938, 1946a, 1946b, 1988; Sandweiss 1989; Wise 1989,
1990), and at least ten different type of marine mollusks have been
found in burials (Mujica 1990).
Since weaving generally accompanies the use of pottery and
agriculture, raw materials (both cotton and camelid wool) for
weaving and the concomitant necessary instruments could be
represented among the recovered artifacts. However, considering
the fact that the excavations were not intended to concentrate
exclusively on the habitation areas, the overall frequencies of
certain artifact categories probably would not be consistent with
those frequencies associated with the excavations of dwellings or
tombs.
The expected outcome was not always the case, especially
concerning the excavations at the Miraflores Quebrada because the
Hood impact varied from quebrada to quebrada. For example, the
results from the excavations at the Carrizal and Pocoma Quebradas
were not regularly what had been anticipated because the
topography of the individual quebradas differentially affected the
presence of the cultural remains in the flood deposits.

233
Excavated Data from the Carrizal Quebrada
Table 6-1 contains the data from Unit #1 S. Although this
unit is located in an irrigation canal, it contained more cultural
materials than was predicted because of the proximity to a
domestic terrace. Even Levels #1 & #2 (L. #1 & #2) of the mixed
aeolian/organic layer contained 30 potsherds, which were mostly
Chiribaya domestic ware. One lone piece of olive wood from L. #2
seems to indicate that olive trees once probably grew very close to
the unit’s location. The combined aeolian/Chuza L. #3 consisted of a
number of bone fragments from unidentified mammals and fish
vertebrae. Since vertebrae are generally larger and more durable
than the other fish bones, they are usually the most common fish
remains found, unless fine-mesh wet screening or "flotation" is
used. Cotton fibers in this level are not an unusual find since the
Gossypium barbadense variety of cotton has been a domesticated
plant in Peru since the Preceramic Period (Moseley 1992). The
presence of lithic flakes in an historical level would normally be
difficult to explain, since lithic tools have not been commonly used
for several millennia. However, whenever a culture's subsistence
base is destroyed, people will often re-adapt an abandoned
technology in order to guarantee the culture's existence.
Excavations at the possible Post-flood site of Burro Flaco have
discovered thousands of lithic flakes and a number of stone tools,
including hunting/fishing points, conceivably manufactured and
utilized after the destruction of the Chiribaya agricultural base by
the Miraflores Event. During the centuries between the Miraflores

Table 6-1: Excavated Data from Carrizal Quebrada
Unit #1
South
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Olive
Wood
Raw
Cotton
Carbon
Textile
Frag
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian/
Organic
2
10.12
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Aeolian/
Organic
28
83.34
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Organic/
Chuza
52
370.05
Yes
None
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
1
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Chuza/
Aeolian
88
531.20
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Aeolian/
Miraflores
11
51.04
Yes
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
15
74.90
Yes
Yes
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Miraflores
4
20.08
Yes
Yes
D.R.S. 1993
234

235
and Chuza Floods, aeolian deposits accumulated to form L. #4 & #5.
With the exception of one small unidentified mammal bone, no
other artifacts were found in these units. L. #6 & #7 were located
in the Miraflores deposits, and nothing but a few unknown mammal
bones were uncovered, which came as a surprise since past
experience with the Miraflores deposits in the Ilo Valley
demonstrated that they habitually contained no artifactual remains
whatsoever (Satterlee 1991).
Table 6-2 lists the artifacts from Unit #2 S., which is also
located in the irrigation canal. L. #1 and #2 exhibited less than half
as many sherds as did these same levels in U. #2 S. The reason for
the presence of fewer sherds here is the fact that the domestic
terrace in front of this unit probably prevented much of the Chuza
Flood from washing as many sherds from the domestic area into the
canal as the flood did into U. #1. Again olive wood and a few
unidentified animal bones were found in the aeolian levels. The
olive wood is to be expected since olives have been grown in the Ilo
area for over 400 years. The burned organic layer found in L. #3
and #4 could have possibly come from the burning of agricultural
refuse in an effort to create potash for additional fertilizer for
agriculture. The abundant seashell fragments probably were the
remains from marine comestibles, which, when burned, can also
serve as fertilizer. L. #4, #5, and #6 are also void of any cultural
materials also because the Chuza Flood did not breech the domestic
terrace.

Table 6-2: Excavated Data from Carrizal Quebrada
Unit #2
South
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Human
Bones
Guinea
Pig
Bones
Olive
Wood
Carbon
Textile
Frag
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
4
13.30
Yes
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Aeolian
14
53.00
Yes
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Burned
Organic
10
55.60
Many
Frags
1
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Burned
Organic
3
46.20
Many
Frags
Yes
Yes
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
l
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
D.R.S. 19‘)3
236

237
Table 6-3 lists the artifacts from Unit #3 S., which lies directly
on the domestic terrace above the irrigation canal. L. #1 contained
dozens of colonial potsherds as would might be expected for a level
this close to the surface. L. #2 and #3 had an abundance of
potsherds because the agricultural activities present in these levels
were conducted on occupational debris which had probably been
spread down slope from the nearby terrace. The occupation
midden represented by L. #4, #5, #6, and #7 naturally contains 29%
more Chiribaya sherds than does the mixed aeolian/agricultural
stratum because the midden represents an area of concentrated
human activity. The unknown mammal bones, fish vertebrae, and
one sea mammal (Lobo marino) bone are all probably refuse from
eating. The drilled sherd pendant might be expected to be found in
an occupation midden, but a human phalange is not necessarily an
anticipated find.
Table 6-4 lists the artifacts from Unit #4 S., which was located
a few meters South of the domestic terrace and, therefore, it
contained fewer pottery sherds than did the other units discussed
thus far. L. #1 and #2 of the aeolian stratum contained only 5
colonial sherds and a little olive wood from historical olive grove
tending. L. #3 and #4, located in the Chuza deposits, also included
few artifactual remains, which were 8 sherds, a little olive wood,
and, once again, a lithic flake, which probably originates from the
later Burro Flaco Phase. L. #5 in the Chuza Flood and L. #6 and #7
in the Miraflores Flood were totally barren of cultural materials.

Table 6-3: Excavated Data from Carrizal Quebrada
Unit #3
South
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Maize
Kernal
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Sea
Mammal
Bone
Human
Bones
Drilled
Sherd
Pendant
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
29
166.00
1
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Aeolian/
Agrie.
36
303.50
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Aeolian/
Agrie.
5
25.80
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Midden
28
242.00
Few
Yes
1
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Midden
48
388.40
1
1
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Midden
18
154.20
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Midden
4
32.80
D.R.S. 1993
238

Table 6-4: Excavated Data from Carrizal Quebrada
Unit #4
South
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Olive
Wood
Raw
Cotton
Carbon
Textile
Frag
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
2
8.80
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Aeolian
3
20.03
Some
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
4
25.80
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Chuza
4
19.1
1
Some
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
D.K.S. 1903
239

240
Table 6-5 lists the artifacts found in Unit #5 S., located below
the irrigation canal, which contained a moderate number of sherds
apparently washed downslope by the mudflows. L. #1 located in
the aeolian layer contained only historic sherds. L. #2 in the upper
Chuza deposits also had historic sherds, with the exception of one
possible Burro Flaco sherd. Included in L. #2 were 3 human bones
which possibly were from disturbed tombs located immediately to
the South of this unit. L. #3 had two more sherds than the previous
level, and also included a few fish vertebrae, 2 human bones, some
carbon, and a little copper ore. There is nothing significant about
this level, including the copper ore since we know for certain that at
the Burro Flaco Site people were smelting copper and casting it in
the form of harpoon barbs (Penmann and Bawden 1991). In L. #4
the number of sherds decreases significantly because this level is
located in the upper Miraflores sediments. Some copper ore was
also found in this level, but its presence signifies nothing special. L.
#5, #6, and #7 were not excavated because of the large rocks (up to
30 cm) contained in the Miraflores deposits. Marine shells were
quite numerous in all the levels of the Chuza deposits because,
following the Miraflores Flood, there seems to have been a
substantial increase in the exploitation of marine resources to help
replace the loss of the agrarian resources.
Table 6-6 lists the artifacts found in Unit #6 S., which
contained more sherds than any other previous unit possibly
because of the midden and the neighboring disturbed tombs. L. #1,

Table 6-5: Excavated Data from Carrizal Quebrada
Unit #5
South
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Human
Bones
Copper
Ore
Carbon
Textile
Frag
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
19
71.50
Many
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Chuza
39
355.30
Many
3
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
41
539.60
Many
Few
2
Yes
Yes
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Miraflores
10
91.20
Yes
Yes
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Not
Excavated
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Not
Excavated
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
D.K.S. mi
241

Table 6-6: Excavated Data from Carrizal Quebrada
Unit #6
South
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Copper
Fishing
Weight
Chert
Carbon
Textile
Frag
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Agrie.
25
115.00
Some
Yes
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Midden
37
172.50
Some
Yes
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Midden
142
1410.30
Some
Yes
Yes
1
Yes
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miradores
0
0.0
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Not
Excavated
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
D.R.S. 1993
242

243
which showed evidence of agriculture, was probably the upper limit
of the midden since this level contained several dozen sherds and
some fish vertebrae. L. #2 and #3 both had unknown mammal
bones and some pieces of chert. L. #3 had more sherds than did the
level directly overlying it. The fish vertebrae found in L. #3 are
also a good indication of exploitation of marine resources, but an
even better indicator of the return to a fishing subsistence following
the Miraflores Flood was the copper fishing weight found in L. #3.
The presence of storage pits containing many small dried fish in the
excavations at San Gerónimo conducted by Jessup (1990, 1991), also
supports the proposition of a maritime subsistence after the
Miraflores Flood. L. #1, #2, and #3 all contained some marine
shells, whose presence reinforces the hypothesis that by now the
Chiribaya were probably mainly a fishing society, much like their
Archaic Period ancestors, with perhaps some dependence on dry
farming. L. #4 and #5 in the Miraflores deposits contained
absolutely nothing.
Excavated Data from Miraflores Quebrada
Table 6-7 lists the artifacts found in Unit #1 N., one of seven
units excavated between the previously described sunken features
at Miraflores Quebrada. The aeolian deposits of L. #1 contained
only one very small potsherd of probable historic origin. The
camelid wool was a rather unusual find since llama or alpaca are
only rarely brought from the highlands to the coast to graze in the
Lomas, when they experience a rich "bloom," and the last such

Table 6-7: Excavated Data from Miradores Quebrada
Unit #1
North
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Native
Ore
Camelid
Wool
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Olive
Wood
Molle
Wood
Slag
Cane
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
1
.26
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Chuza
1
.18
Galena
Yes
Yes
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Copper
Yes
Yes
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Arsenic
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
D.ILS. 1993
244

245
phenomenon occurred in 1982-83. Remnants of olive and Molle
wood are fairly common finds in the region since olive trees are
domesticated, and Molle trees are ordinarily found growing in many
locations. L. #2 in the Chuza deposits also had only one small sherd,
a few unidentifiable mammal bones, and some Molle wood.
However, this level does exhibit some possible evidence of historic
smelting of ores, because both galena ore and some slag were found
in this quebrada. Although L. #3. contained no pottery, it did have
a few mammal bones and a little Molle wood. The fact that some
copper ore was found in this level could be another indicator of
smelting activities. Were the copper ore contained within the
deposits of the prehistoric Miraflores Flood, rather than the historic
Chuza Flood, its presence might bear some significance since the site
of Burro Flaco contains the first hard evidence of smelting of ores in
the Ilo area. L. #4 had only one small piece of arsenic, which can be
used in the production of arsenical bronze. L. #5, #6, and #7 reside
in the Miraflores deposits and were totally void of any remains.
Table 6-8 lists the artifacts contained in Unit #2 N. L. #1 is an
aeolian layer which contained no pottery, but it had some
unidentifiable plant remains, undoubtedly of historic origin, and
some copper ore. The most interesting find in this level was yellow
and red ochre, which was found in the bottom of L. #1 and in the
top of L. #2 in the Chuza deposits. Both of these substances are
often used for religious purposes or for burials. L. #2 had no
pottery, but it did contain some camelid wool, slag, and small bits of
carbon. Marine shells first appear in L. #3, which also contained

Table 6-8: Excavated Data from Miraflores Quebrada
Unit #2
North
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Camelid
Wool
Unknown
Plant
Remains
Native
Ore
Daub
Red/
Yellow
Ochre
Slag
Carbon
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
0
0.0
Yes
Copper
Yes
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Yes
Yes
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Few
Yes
Yes
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Yes
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
D.K.S. l‘)*)J
246

247
some more slag, and some daub, which probably came from one of
the Chincha —daub and waddle—cane dwellings, commonly used by
the Chiribaya people. L. #4 was a typically disappointing Miraflores
level, since it contained nothing. L. #5 did have a small piece of
slag, but this find is somewhat suspect, since no other slag was
found in any other levels in the Miraflores deposits. L. #6
contained nothing, and so excavations were ended here.
Table 6-9 lists the artifacts found in Unit #3 N. L. #1
contained only one historic sherd and a small bit of carbon. Chuza
deposits began in the lower part of L. #1 and composed all of L. #2,
which had some burned shells and a small amount of raw cotton,
which grows wild in the Ilo Valley, but not in the coastal quebradas.
L. #3 contained two onions, which was one of the domesticated
crops, including olives and grapes, that were introduced into the
area by the 16th century Spanish (Kuon Cabello 1985). L. #4 in the
Miraflores sediments contained a small bit of carbon. L. #5, had one
worked terrace facing stone, which could have come from either a
domestic or an agricultural terrace. L. #6, and #7, in these same
deposits held naught.
Table 6-10 lists the contents of Unit #4 N. L. #1, the aeolian
layer contained no pottery, but did have some carbon and a little
red ochre. L. #2 is a mixed aeolian/Chuza layer, with no sherds,
that also contained both red ochre, carbon, plus one olive leaf. L. #3
in the Chuza deposits had a few shell fragments, a little carbon, and
some sulphur. What was interesting is the fact that this level and

Table 6-9: Excavated Data from Miraflores Quebrada
Unit #3
North
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Plant
Remains
Fish
Bones
Olive
Wood
Raw
Cotton
Carbon
Terrace
Stone
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
1
.57
Yes
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Burned
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Two
Onions
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Yes
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
1
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
D.R.S. 1993
248

Table 6-10: Excavated Data from Miraflores Quebrada
Unit #4
North
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Plant
Remains
Red
Ochre
Carbon
Native
Minerals
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
0
0.0
Yes
Yes
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Aeolian/
Chuza
0
0.0
Olive
Leaf
Yes
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Frags
One
Onion
Yes
Sulphur
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Miraflores
1
0.46
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Few
Frags
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
D.K.S. 1993
249

250
its counterpart in Unit #3 both contained onions. Did these onions
come from a small garden plot near the house in the olive grove, or
did they come from a garden patch planted on the richer soil of the
former Chiribaya village? Only more extensive investigation can
answer these questions. L. #4 had one small, black on beige
Chiribaya sherd. As usually is the case, the lower levels, L. #5 and
#6, produced nothing of interest except a few shell fragments.
Table 6-11 lists the contents of Unit #5 N., which contained
more cultural materials than the combined totals of the other six
units between the sunken features. Some carbon and a few pieces
of red ochre were found the aeolian L. #1. Also included in L. #1
was one coca leaf (Erythroxylon coca), and a piece of thread spun
from alpacawool. The mixed aeolian/Chuza layer, L. #2, held 7
sherds, the only ones found in the entire unit. In addition to some
unknown mammal bones and strands of human hair, this unit
produced some spun alpacawool thread, and small lengths of spun
cotton thread and cord, like that used by fisher folk. One of the few
dyed items found was the bright red yarn ear ornament used to
decorate camelids, especially llama during special festivals. After
all of these items in L. #2, L. #3 proved to be somewhat of a
disappointment, since it contained only one small cane fragment.
The Miraflores deposits of L. #4 held only a piece of wood that
could only be tentatively classified as Molle, since it is so common
in the region. L. #5 had no pottery, but it contained a small piece of
metal that appeared to be a small piece of intrusive iron since the
Eskimo were the only native Americans to use iron. If this

Table 6-11: Excavated Data from Miraflores Quebrada
Unit #5
North
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Coca
Leaf
Spun
Alpaca
Wool
Spun
Cotton
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Human
Hair
Wood
Red
Ochre
Carbon
Native
Mineral
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
0
0.0
1
3 cm.
Piece of
Thread
Yes
Yes
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Aeolian/
Chuza
7
31.45
Thread/
Alpaca
Ear
Ornament
Thread
&
Cord
Yes
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Cane
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Molle?
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Iron?
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
D.K.S. 1093
251

252
identification is correct, this find would be one of the few instances
where metal has been found in a Chiribaya context. The culture
normally relied on pottery and wooden implements, although some
metal body decorations have been found in tombs. L. #6 contained
nothing but flood deposits.
Table 6-12 lists the meager contents of Unit #6 N. L. #1, again
an aeolian layer, held only a small amount of mixed carbon, which
was of no use for analysis. The mixed aeolian/Chuza layer L. #2
had only a few shell fragments. L. #3, located entirely in the Chuza
sediments, contained a small piece of olive wood. L. #4 also had a
piece of wood, but it must have been Molle since this level was in
the Miraflores Flood. L. #5 only had a few shell fragments and
nothing else. L. #6 was totally void of anything of a useful nature.
Table 6-13 lists the contents of Unit #7 N., which is the
northernmost unit of the series of units between the large features.
L. #1, the aeolian component, contained a few marine shells and
nothing else. L. #2, in the mixed aeolian/Chuza layer, held the one
historic sherd, the only potsherd found in this entire unit. L. #3 had
only one shell. L. #4 was located in a composite Chuza/Miraflores
stratum and only contained one shell fragment, as did L. #5 and #6.
Nothing of any significance was noticed in this entire unit.
Table 6-14 lists the contents of Unit #1 W., which was one of
the units located along the East-West transect to the Pacific Ocean.
L. #1 was a mixed layer of aeolian deposits with the last 8 cm being

Table 6-12: Excavated Data from Miradores Quebrada
Unit #6
North
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Shell
Spun
Alpaca
Wool
Spun
Cotton
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Human
Hair
Wood
Red
Ochre
Carbon
Native
Mineral
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
0
0.0
Mixed
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Aeolian/
Chuza
0
0.0
Frags
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Olive
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Molle?
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Frags
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
D.K.S. 1993
253

Table 6-13: Excavated Data from Miradores Quebrada
Unit #7
North
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Olive
Wood
Raw
Cotton
Carbon
Textile
Frag
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
0
0.0
Few
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Aeolian/
Chuza
1
0.23
Few
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
1
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Chuza/
Miraflores
0
0.0
Few
Frags
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
1
Frag
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
1
Frag
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
D.R.S. 1903
254

Table 6-14: Excavated Data from Miraflores Quebrada
Unit #1
West
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Coca
Leaf
Maize
Remains
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Olive
Wood
Spun
Cotton
Raw
Cotton
Metals
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian/
Chuza
36
191.30
Yes
Thread
Copper/
.6 gms.
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Yes
Copper/
.2 gms.
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
1
Yes
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Yes
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
1
0.28
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
D.RS. 1993
255

256
Chuza sediments. For a stratum in a unit at Miraflores Quebrada,
this layer was relatively rich with sherds (36) and further it
contained some olive wood, a piece of cotton thread and a very
small piece of copper (.6 gm.), and all were of historic vintage.
There is no real explanation for the presence of so many sherds
since it is also situated on a domestic terrace. Perhaps the area
between the sunken pits were kept clean as is often the case
concerning specialized cultural locations. L. #2 in the Chuza
deposits held no pottery, but it did have a little raw cotton and an
even smaller bit of copper (.2 gm.). L. #3 yielded one coca leaf and
a corn stalk, which was one of the few pieces of agrarian refuse
found at Miraflores Quebrada. L. #4 is the beginning of the
Miraflores deposits, and it also contained a piece of corn stalk. L. #5
was barren. L. #6 had one small Chiribaya sherd, which was an
exciting find at this depth. L. #7 contained nothing.
Table 6-15 lists the contents of Unit #2 W. The aeolian layer,
L. #1, contained the only 2 sherds, which were colonial, found in
this unit. L. #2, a mixed layer of aeolian and Chuza deposits, had
one coca leaf, some alpacawool, and one cotton seed, all of which
would be historic. L. #3 in the Chuza deposits contained more than
the other levels of this unit, i.e. a bit of corn husk, some unknown
mammal bones, a few fish vertebrae, some unspun alpacawool, a
little carbon, and a few cane fragments, which probably came from
a domestic dwelling. L. #4 also had some cane fragments and a
piece of corn stalk. L. #5, #6, and #7, located in the Miraflores
deposits contained no remains.

Table 6-15: Excavated Data from Miradores Quebrada
Unit #2
West
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Maize
Remains
Coca
Leaf
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Alpaca
Wool
Cotton
Seed
Carbon
Cane
Frags
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
2
1.24
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Aeolian/
Chuza
0
0.0
1
Yes
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Yes
Yes
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
D.R.S. 1993
257

258
Table 6-16 lists the contents of Unit #3 W. The aeolian
deposits, L. #1, had only some Molle wood. The mixed
aeolian/Chuza level, L. #2, had a small piece of spun alpacayarn. L.
#3 contained some Molle wood and a few chunks of tar. The latter
find was a rarity at this quebrada, although the Colonial Spanish
commonly used tar to seal the large shipping jars which contained
olive oil or wine (Smith 1991). The Chuza/Miraflores L. #4 had a
small piece of olive wood, while L. #5 and #6 contained no
artifactual remains.
Table 6-17 clearly shows L. #l-#5 of Unit #4 W. contained no
artifactual remains. The probable reason for this lack of any
cultural residue is the fact that there are no Chuza deposits present
in this unit, and the fact that this unit is located a few meters from
the edge of the 30 m deep quebrada. Further, there is a slight rise
in elevation from the other units to the location of Unit #4 W.
Table 6-18 lists the remains found in Unit #5 W., which was
purposely located in a small depression which was considered a
prime location where artifacts might collect. Unfortunately, since
the Chuza Flood deposits were lacking, the remains collected were
few. L. #1, a mixed aeolian/Miraflores layer produced nothing.
L. #2 did hold some significant remains. Besides the carbon, which
will be useful for dating the Miraflores Event, burned shell and red
ochre were also found. These latter two items are often used in
important religious ceremonies and also in interments. Even though

Table 6-16: Excavated Data from Miradores Quebrada
Unit #3
West
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Spun
Alpaca
Wool
Wood
Raw
Cotton
Carbon
Tar
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
0
0.0
Molle
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Aeolian/
Chuza
0
0.0
Yarn
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Molle
Yes
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Chuza/
Miraflores
0
0.0
Olive
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
U.R.N. !•>•)<
259

Table 6-17: Excavated Data from Miradores Quebrada
Unit #4
West
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Olive
Wood
Raw
Cotton
Carbon
Textile
Frag
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian/
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Not
Excavaated
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavaated
D.K.S. 1 •)•).<
260

Table 6-18: Excavated Data from Miradores Quebrada
Unit #5
West
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Burned
Shell
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Olive
Wood
Red
Ochre
Carbon
Textile
Frag
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian/
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Yes
Yes
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Yes
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Yes
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
D.R.S. 1993
261

262
it cannot be conclusively proven at this time, I firmly believe that
the large rectangular, sunken features at this quebrada were used
for religious purposes, and, perhaps, for express secular purposes,
as well. Besides humans rarely expend such energy to create large
2 meter deep holes with smooth clay floors just to occupy their idle
hours. Sunken features, such as courts and attendant smaller pits,
have been used for such cultural purposes for millennia along the
Peruvian coast (Moseley 1992) and in the highlands (Manzanilla
1992). L. #3 was barren. L. #4 and #5 both contained small
amounts of carbon for future 14C dating. L. #6 was void of any
artifactual remains.
Table 6-19 list the contents of Unit #6 W. This last unit
excavated into the flood deposits at Miraflores, was located far
enough upslope to again encounter the Chuza Flood deposits. L. #1,
a mixed aeolian/Chuza level contained only a small amount of
unspun alpacawool. L. #2, in the Chuza deposits, had some burned
shell and a little carbon. L. #3 held identical remains, plus some
Molle wood. L. #4, the last stratum of the Chuza deposits, had no
cultural refuse. L. #5 was into the upper Miraflores sediments and
contained nothing.
Tables 20A and 20B list the contents of the 2 by 2 m test
probe in the east wall of rectangular feature, Pit #1. This unit was
by far the most beneficial and interesting of all the units dug at the
Miraflores Quebrada. Since I was excavating such a large sloping
area, natural strata were used instead of the arbitrary 10 cm levels.

Table 6-19: Excavated Data from Miradores Quebrada
Unit #6
West
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Burned
Shell
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Alpaca
Wool
Wood
Raw
Cotton
Carbon
Textile
Frag
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian/
Chuza
0
0.0
Yes
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Yes
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Yes
Molle
Yes
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Chuza
0
0.0
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Not
Excavated
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
D.RS. 1993
263

Table 6-20A: Excavated Data from Miradores Quebrada
E. Wall
Pit#l
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Spun
Alpaca
Wool
Raw
Alpaca
Wool
Human
Bones
Fish
Bones
Guinea
Pig
Bones
Raw
Cotton
Carbon
Chribayt
Textile
Frags
Natural
Stratum
Used.
Aeolian
0
0.0
Natural
Stratum
Used.
Chuza
2
7.95
Yes
Yes
Natural
Stratum
Used.
Huayna
Putina
Ash
0
0.0
Natural
Stratum
Used.
Miradores
7
29.10
Yes
S-Spun
Dyed
Thread/
Cord
Yes
1
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
4
H.K.S. 1'J‘H
264

Table 6-20B: Excavated Data from Miradores Quebrada
E. Wall
Pit #1
Deposits
are:
Rabbit
Bones
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Unknown
Plant
Remains
Maize
Remains
Coca
Leaf
Cane
Sheep
Wool
Coprolite
Unknown
Bird
Feathers
Tar
Natural
Stratum
Used.
Aeolian
Natural
Stratum
Used.
Chuza
Yes
Yes
Unknown
Mammal
Yes
Natural
Stratum
Used.
Huayna
Putina
Ash
Natural
Stratum
Used.
Miraflores
Yes
Yes
Yes
Stalk/
1 Cob
1
Yes
Yes
D.K.S. 1993
265

266
Nothing was found in the Aeolian stratum, which was 8 cm thick.
The Chuza stratum contained 2 historic potsherds, some marine
shells, a few unknown plant remains, a little sheep wool, an
unidentified coprolite from a small mammal, a few chunks of tar,
and some carbon. In the Chuza deposits, there was a carbonized
layer 9 cm high by 40 cm long, which had been subjected to some
fairly high temperatures because the flood deposits had changed
color. A similar burned area was found in Unit #2 N., and in Unit #4
N., a 25 cm by 20 cm burned area was also found. It is unclear
whether these areas were the results of domestic hearths or some
other undetermined source.
As expected, the Huayna Putina ash stratum had no
artifactual materials. The Miraflores deposits contained a number
of remains, which included: 7 Chiribaya potsherds, which included 2
pieces of painted bowls (Chua), some marine shells, a piece of
human rib, fish vertebrae, Guinea Pig (Cuy) bones, rabbit bones,
some unknown mammal bones, some unidentified plant remains,
and one corn stalk and one corn cob. All of these materials are
more than likely related to cooking and eating activities, which
could also account for the carbon found in the sediments. One piece
of cane, presumed to be from a domestic structure, was also
included in the Miraflores deposits. A number of the recovered
remains were probably related to weaving activities. For example,
both raw alpaca wool and cotton were found. Finished woven
products included some S-spun dyed alpaca thread and cord, and 4
textile fragments.

267
The only remains found that could be interpreted as being
used for religious purposes were several unidentified bird feathers
and 1 coca leaf. Fortunately, these cultural remains had been
preserved by the depth and east wall of the sunken pit. There
were also a number of large stones that could have come from an
exterior wall or from a seating bench, that could have sat about 15
cm above the floor and had a depth of 11 cm, based on the analysis
of the remains. This premise is based on the fact that there were a
number of rock imprints (18 cm above the level of the floor) left in
the well-preserved worked clay found at the east edge of this
sunken feature. These pieces of clay were obviously not part of the
12 cm thick clay floor which the pit had. In sum, the large chunks
of clay and the many worked stones leave the impression that there
could have been a "wall-fall," which also helped preserve these
cultural materials.
Table 6-21 lists the contents of the 1 m by 2 m Trench #1 at
the very edge of the marine terrace where it slopes down to the
ocean. L. #1, #2, and #3 contained nothing except some root hairs,
which extended down to 20 + cm. L. #5, #6, and #7 contained
nothing. The only significant remains found in the unit were three
terrace stones included in L. #4. The fact that these stones were
carried from the terraces 400 + m upslope, once again emphasizes
the strength of the mudflow caused by the Miraflores Event.

Table 6-21 ¡Excavated Data from Miraflores Quebrada
Trench #\
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Fish
Bones
Olive
Wood
Raw
Cotton
Carbon
Terrace
Stones
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
0
0.0
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
3
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
1
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
DlILS.
268

269
Excavated Data from Pocoma Quebrada
Table 6-22 lists the contents of Unit #1. which was located on
a prehistoric domestic terrace, it had subsequently been used as an
historic agricultural terrace, and, thus, was disturbed. L. #1 was a
shallow aeolian layer that contained only some marine shell. The
Miraflores deposits found in L. #2 had a few shells and no other
cultural remains. L. #3, #4, and #5, also in the Miraflores deposits,
did not even contain shell fragments. Apparently the Miraflores
Flood totally inundated and swept any cultural debris from this
terrace.
Table 6-23 lists the artifacts found in G. C. #1 which contained
five natural strata exposed by the excavation done with heavy
equipment. Ten cm were cleaned inward from the exposed face in
order to make a sharp, one meter-wide vertical column. The
following are the artifacts which were screened from the debris.
The first stratum encountered at the surface is the Aeolian which
contained no artifacts. The 1982-83 El Niño sheet wash was also
void of any remains. Directly beneath the 1982-83 deposits were
the Chuza flood deposits from which only three colonial sherds were
recovered. The Midden, directly below the Chuza deposits, was rife
with 139 potsherds, all of which were Chiribaya, except for one
possible Burro Flaco sherd. Besides the many potsherds, the
midden also included many marine shells, unknown mammal bones,
camelid bones, Cuy bones, fish vertebrae, and some unidentified
bird bones. All of these remains probably represent refuse from
eating. A few lithic flakes and 1 lithic point were also found in the

Table 6-22 Excavated Data from Pocoma Quebrada
Unit #1
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Camelid
Bones
Cuy
Bones
Bird
Bones
Fish
Bones
Cane
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
0
0.0
Many
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
Few
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
None
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
None
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Miraflores
0
0.0
None
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Not
Excavated
0
0.0
None
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
0
0.0
None
D.K.S. 1993
270

Table 6-23: Excavated Data from Pocoma Quebrada
Geologic
Column #1
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shells
Lit hie
Flakes
l.ithic
Points
Unknown
Mammal
Bones
Camelid
Bones
Cuy
Bones
Bird
Bones
Fish
Bones
Cane
Natural
Stratum
Used
Aeolian
0
0.0
Natural
Stratum
Used
1982-83
El Niño
0
0.0
Natural
Stratum
Used
Chuza
3
37.30
None
Natural
Stratum
Used
Midden
139
1,007.50
Many
Few
1
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Natural
Stratum
Used
Miraflores
0
0.0
0
D.K.S. I'Wi
271

272
midden. Once again these lithic materials could be interpreted as
an indication that the Post-Flood survivors had to engage in hunting
and/or fishing activities. The Miraflores deposits contained nothing,
but a piece of Classic Chiribaya pottery with a "Bowtie" motif was
found at the contact point of the midden and the Miraflores
deposits.
Table 6-24A and 24B lists the contents of Unit #2, which was
located on a domestic terrace. This unit was without a doubt the
most exciting unit of the field season since it contained irrefutable
evidence of rebuilding by the Chiribaya after the Miraflores Flood
because the flood deposits had been dug into to make a floor for a
house. The Aeolian layer, L. #1, contained nothing. L. #2 was a
composite layer of agricultural refuse and Miraflores deposits,
which began at 19 cm below the surface. L. #2 contained 7 historic
sherds and some marine shells. Other remains included some
unidentified mammal bones and some gourd seeds. Only one lithic
flake was found in this level, which leaves the impression that its
presence might be an aberration, but more flakes were found
deeper in the unit. L. #3 was also a composite layer with the upper
portion consisting of Miraflores deposits, and the lower portion
consisting of occupation debris from the floor of a cane structure.
Fifty-six sherds, some marine shells, and 1 lithic flake were
included in this level. Remains from a number of comestibles found
in the unit included more gourds seeds, Guinea Pig bones, a few
camelid bones, and fish vertebrae. Also braided human hair, S-
spun alpaca thread, and some raw alpaca wool were recovered. Of

Table 6-2 4A: Excavated Data from Pocoma Quebrada
Unit #2
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Marine
Shell
Lithic
Flakes
Lithic
Cores
Gourd
Seeds
Human
Bones
Camelid
Bones
Cuy
Bones
Bird
Bones
Fish
Bones
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
0
0
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Agrie./
Miraflores
7
95.60
Yes
1
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Miraflores/
Midden
56
510.75
Yes
1
Yes
Few
Few
Yes
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Midden
44
330.80
Yes
2
1
Yes
1
1
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Midden
24
270.00
Yes
1
1
Few
Few
Yes
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
3
43.50
Yes
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
P.R.S. 1493
273

Table 6-24B: Excavated Data from Pocoma Quebrada
Unit #2
Deposits
are:
Sherds
Weight
in
Grams
Human
Hair
Braided
Human
Hair
Alpaca
Wool
Spun
Alpaca
Wool
Cane
Unknown
Bone
Coprolite
Textile
Frags
Level #1
0-10 cm.
Aeolian
0
0
Level #2
10-20 cm.
Agrie./
Miraflores
7
95.60
Yes
Level #3
20-30 cm.
Miraflores/
Midden
56
510.75
Yes
Yes
S-Spun
Thread
Yes
Level #4
30-40 cm.
Midden
44
330.80
Yes
Yes
1
Level #5
40-50 cm.
Midden
24
270.00
Yes
Level #6
50-60 cm.
Miraflores
3
43.50
Yes
Level #7
60-70 cm.
Not
Excavated
D.R.S. 1993
274

275
course, there were many canes which were used for one wall of the
structure. L. #4 was purely occupation debris with 44 Chiribaya
sherds, marine shells, 1 coprolite of unknown origin, bird bones,
and some unidentified mammal bones. Human remains included
some hair and a pelvic bone. A small well-used lithic core and two
lithic flakes were also found in L. #4. L. #5 consisted of more
occupation midden yielding of 24 sherds, marine shells, and another
lithic flake. Additional remains included 1 camelid bone, a few
Guinea Pig bones, more fish vertebrae, several bird bones, and more
identified mammal bones. L #6 was once again into pristine
Miraflores deposits, and, therefore, contained scant remains, but,
nonetheless, 4 Chiribaya sherds and some unidentified mammal
bones were recovered.
Figure 6-1 is a cross section drawing of Unit #2, which helps
explain the complicated stratigraphy of this unit. The upper 6 cm
of this unit consist of aeolian fine sand and silt. Immediately
beneath the 13 cm of agricultural refuse, the Miraflores deposits
begin 19 cm on the east half of the unit and extend down to at least
70 cm below the surface, where my excavating stopped. The
occupation midden, a 25 cm thick stratum in the west half of the
unit, is found from 35 cm to 60 cm, where the Miraflores deposit
are again encountered. Therefore, since the Miraflores deposits
start at 19 cm, the survivors of the Miraflores Flood had to have
excavated at least 41 cm in some places to make the level floor for
their new dwelling.

276
Centimeters
Figure 6-1: Cross-Section of Unit #2 at Pocoma Quebrada

277
Agricultural refuse had replaced the other 16 cm of excavated
Miraflores flood debris overlying the midden, which explains how a
colonial sherd could be included in L. #3, which, at first glance,
appears to be a level that should have been entirely composed of
the Miraflores deposits beginning at 19 cm below the surface.
Further, the split stratigraphy of this unit accounts for the fact that
there was some Huayna Putina ash found in the northwest corner of
the unit in L. #3. Normally, it would be a physical impossibility for
the 16th century A.D. H. P. ash to appear 10 cm below the level of
the 14th century A.D. Miraflores deposits, but since the flood
deposits had been excavated away in some places during the 14th
century, it is possible to have H. P. ash in L. #3.
What Recovered Artifacts Indicate about the Strength of the Flood
The number of artifacts can be used to infer the seriousness
of the two flood events, which impacted the study area. For
example, Graph 6-1 shows the summary data of the sherd
distribution for each quebrada. It is obvious that the excavations at
Carrizal Quebrada produced more than two and a half times the
number of sherds as did its closest competitor, the Pocoma
Quebrada. Although Miraflores Quebrada probably had the largest
native settlement and more units were excavated there than at the
other two locations, nevertheless, the total number of sherds
recovered from Miraflores Quebrada was only 60.

278
Graph 6-1: Sherd Distribution for all Units and Levels

279
There can exist at least three possibilities for this large
discrepancy in sherd distribution. The first possibility is that even
though the settlement at Miraflores covered a rather large area
(about 140 m by 140 m), the settlement had fewer residents than
the other investigated locations. This is probably not the case, since
many L.I.P. settlements were homogeneous sites which tended to
have houses evenly spaced with an estimated five persons per
household. Therefore, since the settlements at both the Carrizal and
Pocoma Quebradas were smaller than the one at Miraflores, then
the proposition that there were fewer people residing at the
Miraflores Quebrada at the time of the flood seems to be negated.
Another possibility for this large discrepancy could be that,
for whatever reason—civil upheaval, severe climatological change,
tectonic uplift, mammoth earthquakes, or a volcanic eruption larger
than Huayna Putina—some of the quebrada settlements were
sparsely inhabited by the time the Miraflores Event occurred, and,
therefore, the number of sherds available for potential recovery
should be smaller. Even supposing that the Carrizal Quebrada was
totally abandoned for some years by the time of the Miraflores
Event, as proposed by Ortloff and Kolata (1993), the abandonment
of the settlement could not sufficiently explain the abundance of
sherds found at the Carrizal Quebrada and the paucity of sherds
found at the Miraflores Quebrada. Based on the premise of
settlement abandonment sometime prior to the Miraflores Flood, it
seems that the distribution of sherds should be reversed for the
two quebradas.

280
But the third possibility that the Miraflores Flood was simply
so strong that it nearly obliterated all traces of the fairly large
Chiribaya population in these quebradas seems to be the most
likely possibility, based on all of the evidence gathered for this
study. Graphs 6-2, 6-3, and 6-4 show the sherd distribution per
flood event. The information presented unequivocally
demonstrates that regardless of the quebrada or the number of
units excavated, the number of sherds included in the Chuza Flood
overwhelmingly outnumbers the number of sherds found in the
Miraflores Flood by a minimum of 3.33 times at Pocoma to a
maximum of 5.7 times at Carrizal. Even an analysis of the scant
remains from the Miraflores Quebrada, where more units were dug
than at the other two quebradas combined, illustrates that 4.89
times as many sherds were recovered from the Chuza Flood layers,
as from the Miraflores Flood deposits. Graph 6-5 shows that the
sherd weight distribution of the materials found in the Chuza Flood
deposits are 6.81 times more than those included in the Miraflores
sediments. The reason for this significant difference is the fact that
based on the variance in the depths of the two floods at the coastal
quebradas and in the Ilo Valley, the size of the Miraflores Flood
exceeded the proportions of the Chuza Flood by a factor of several
magnitudes. Therefore, it would be expected that the lesser event
would not have swept away nearly as much of the cultural
materials as the greater event would have done.

281
250
Carrizal
Quebrada
200
150
100
50
0
—r*3-q
o
O <
i?'
C=¡ O
o O
c^>. ¿
O
O <
°o^C
o' o
• C^>- ¿
O
¿O
? - Wo
Chuza =
Flood
O
~P
Miradores =
Flood
Miradores
Quebrada
Pocoma
Quebrada
Graph 6-2: Sherd Distribution per Flood Event

282
Graph 6-3: Sherd Distribution per Flood Event

283
Graph 6-4: Sherd Distribution per Flood Event

284
Graph 6-5: Sherd Weight Distribution per Natural Strata

285
What Recovered Artifacts Indicate about a Cultural Response or
Change caused by the Impact of the Miraflores Flood
The archaeological evidence found in the coastal quebradas
and in the Ilo Valley indicate that the flood damage to the Chiribaya
agricultural system was so extensive that the culture experienced a
rapid, profound change (punctuated equilibrium--Eldredge 1989;
Eldredge and Gould 1972; Gans 1987; Gould and Eldredge 1977).
The evidence of widespread destruction indicates that, at the
minimum, the direct effects of the flood caused: Many coastal and
valley sites, long occupied by the Chiribaya, to be abandoned; At
least one formerly abandoned site, San Gerónimo, to be re-occupied;
Agriculture to contract severely; The Chiribaya people to adopt a
new subsistence base; and, based, tentatively, on the Burro Flaco
pottery, to change their art and iconography.
There are a number of indicators of a potential rapid cultural
change. Although the sample is small and the evidence is
admittedly superficial, nonetheless, the fact that lithic materials,
such as flakes, a few points, and a worked core, were found at
every quebrada could be interpreted to mean that the Chiribaya
people were again making and using lithic tools. The presence of
lithic debitage by itself may not be adequate to argue conclusively
for a change in the subsistence base; however, since we are already
aware of the evidence from the Burro Flaco and the San Gerónimo
Sites, it seems quite logical to conclude that the Chiribaya were
indeed again using lithic materials, some of which were employed
as hunting points, such as the one found embedded in the proximal

286
end of a rib from a large sea mammal. The few points found during
my excavations were much smaller, 2-3 cm, and are the type often
used to hunt small mammals or birds.
Why were the Agricultural Terraces near Ilo Abandoned?
The most obvious and logical reason for the abandonment of
the agricultural terraces in both the Ilo Valley and the coastal
quebradas is the immediate damage done to them and to the canal
systems by a major 14th century A.D. El Niño flood as this study has
shown. Nevertheless, most modern theorists seem to ignore these
facts and, instead, espouse one of the two most popular theories for
terrace abandonment are: 1) Depopulation or 2) Climatic Change.
They seem oblivious to the more reasonable possibility that both of
these factors could have played some part in terrace abandonment,
but that an even more significant role was played by the almost
total destruction of these terraces by a cataclysmic event such as a
Mega-Niño followed by its resulting massive floods.
The depopulation theory holds that as the population
decreases, the amount of available labor required for intensive
projects would presumably be less. Therefore, the terraces farthest
from the settlements would necessarily have to be abandoned.
Since "terraces must constantly be maintained lest they degenerate
in response to environmental hazards such as erosion, landslides,
mudslides, and flashfloods," (Guillet 1987c: 193), with a decrease in
population, there simply would not be enough people to fulfill the
large labor requirements needed to maintain and clean irrigation
canals or to fertilize and seed the planting surfaces. Archaeological

287
evidence from the Ilo region supports the idea that there was a
decline in population following the disastrous 14th century El Niño
flood based on the fact that late in the Chiribaya Period, settlement
size in the Ilo area did decrease (Owen 1991 and 1992a.). However,
standing in opposition to this declining population theory is the fact
that the terraces at Otora, about 100 km from Ilo, were abandoned
in a context of demographic growth and agricultural intensification
(Stanish 1987:340).
It is almost a certainty that the population declined after the
Miraflores Flood. Drawing on modern health data, it is easy to see
that there will be various epidemics, such as malaria, leishmaniasis,
cholera, and others, in the weeks and months after an El Niño.
Lacking modern medicine, prehistoric populations must have been
even more severely affected than modern populations. It has been
proposed that local Chiribaya population had declined by 80% or
more by 1400 A.D. (Owen 1991). Nevertheless, it was probably not
the lack of adequate labor to repair or to rebuild the agricultural
system which caused the abandonment of the terraces, but rather
the fact that there was not even a repairable, semi-functioning
irrigation system left, following the Miraflores Flood.
Climate change is the second of the standard theories used to
explain the abandonment of agricultural terraces. Currently, there
is much confusion concerning the character of the Andean
Paleoclimate. Based on glacial ice core data, the climate may have
changed to a drier regime with below average precipitation from
1200-1500 A.D. (Thompson et al. 1985), and a severe drought may
have occurred between 1245-1310 A.D. (Thompson et al 1983).

288
Ortloff and Kolata (1993) also posit that a shrinking water supply
characterized the years from 1100-1300 A.D., with a marked
decline beginning in 1350 A.D. or at least by 1400 A.D.
Were there a severe, prolonged drought earlier than 1300
A.D., the Miraflores Flood probably would have obliterated any
trace of its existence. The only archaeological evidence which was
found that could support the idea of a harsh drought after 1400
A.D. is the fact that there are substantial strata (90-120 cm) of
aeolian deposits, separating the two flood events at the Carrizal and
Chuza Quebradas, respectively. However, there are no such deep
aeolian deposits found anywhere at the Miraflores Quebrada. Thus,
proof is still lacking and the question remains open.
Contrary to these claims for the drier centuries from 1000-
1400 A.D., Conrad (1981) maintains that this time was a wet period,
with the drier conditions starting after 1400 A.D., which lead to the
loss of marginal agricultural land. Paulsen (1977) states that there
was a humid climate that endured from 100-1400 A.D., with drier
periods lasting from 600-1000 A.D., and again after 1400 A.D.
Based on the studies of calcite buildup in the, Lauricocha cave,
Cardich (1964) also states that the period from 1000-1400 A.D. was
wet and cold. Analysis of ice core data from the glacial fields of
Greenland indicates that the world climate from 1200 A.D. until the
mid 1850s A.D. was colder (and probably wetter) than it has been
since the last glaciation (Matthews 1987). Ice core data from the
Quelccaya Glacier record the period from 1500-1720 A.D. as the
wettest in the last thousand years (Thompson et al. 1986). While
yet another source reports that the climate has become increasingly

289
warmer since about 1500 A. D. (Richardson 1978). There is
probably no method to recover evidence, which could support the
idea that 1000-1400 A.D. was a wetter period, other than analysis
of micro-stratigraphy left by the undoubtedly thinner moist aeolian
strata. So, the controversy rages on concerning whether the climate
in these time periods was wet or dry--cold or warm.
If there truly were a paucity of moisture, it could have caused
some contraction of the total agricultural area for the Chiribaya
Culture before the occurrence of the massive El Niño inundation.
Unlike the Chimu on the north coast, who built a 74 km-long
Intervalley Canal that brought additional water to the Moche Valley
to offset the gradual decrease in their water supply (Ortloff 1994),
the Chiribaya apparently had no other available water supply to aid
them during such a drier period. Below average rainfall also could
have affected the spring flows such as has been demonstrated for
the last 400 years in the Carrizal Quebrada (Clement and Moseley
1991). Since there is conflicting evidence, and in some cases none
at all, concerning the exact nature of the Paleoclimate from 1000-
1400 A.D., only more intensive research concerning climatological
data may eventually be able to answer definitively the question of
whether this period was truly drier or wetter.
Still other less widely known possibilities for the
abandonment of terraces include the initial water loss of as much as
50% in earth-banked canals from seepage and evaporation, which
could possibly lead to the reduction of the total downslope irrigated
area. This idea has been posited for the upper Moquegua Drainage.
In spite of this claim, valley bottom canals are the most efficient

290
with regards to seepage loss and evaporation. Thus, they were used
as an agricultural strategy throughout the Late Horizon and into
modern times (Stanish 1987:357-360).
Tectonic uplift has also been mentioned as a possible cause of
terrace abandonment in some areas of Peru. Uplift of the landscape
changes the junction and slope of irrigation canals, causing an uphill
slope of canal beds (Kus 1972; Moseley et al. 1981; Moseley 1983a;
Moseley and Feldman 1984; Ortloff 1988; Stanish 1992), and can
eventually cause the downcutting of water sources and the
stranding of canal intakes (Clement and Moseley 1991). Some
authors maintain that uplift affecting canal slopes has yet to be
demonstrated anywhere in Peru since the canals should show
evidence of stretching and warping from uplift (Denevan 1987;
Farrington 1985). However, evidence of tectonic canal distortion is
documented by the Peruvian agencies which surveyed the disputed
canal system. The older sections of the canal system run uphill,
while the newer sections now have a zero slope. A Io to 2° slope
change in also recorded during the Chimu phase (900-1200 A.D.) at
Chotuna on the north coast (Donnan and Ortloff 1982). There is
little doubt that uplift is a continuous process along the Peruvian
coast, because plate convergence causes 1 to 2 cm vertical
movement per year in many areas of Peru (Ortloff et al. 1983:377),
and since the Chimu canals typically had a slope of less than one-
half a degree (Ortloff 1994), even a minute amount of vertical
displacement could adversely affect the water flow.
However, unlike the north and central coasts of Peru which
are plagued by major tectonic activity, which can contribute to the

291
abrupt uplift of land masses, the study area is not often affected by
large magnitude earthquakes. Although there have been a few
significant events in the past, which affected the study area,
(Silgado 1978), at present, there is little or no archaeological
evidence demonstrating canal slope alteration. Therefore, even this
possibility cannot be shown to have directly impacted the irrigation
systems around Ilo.
In light of these conflicting theories for the abandonment of
terraced agricultural systems and the contradictory evidence
concerning the climatological status of the period from 1000-1400
A.D., analysis of the recovered data cannot support any single
abandonment theory, but the substantial aeolian deposits included
in some of the geologic columns do lend credence to the possibility
of a drier period after the Miraflores Event, and thus, at least some
progress has been made in distinguishing the probable from the
improbable.

CHAPTER 7
PROFILE AND COLUMN DATA
Introduction
The purpose of this chapter is to describe in detail some of the
unit and canal profiles and the geologic columns containing deposits
from the Chuza and Miraflores Floods and to analyze these drawings
in an effort to answer the following research questions: 1) What do
the profiles indicate concerning the composition of the these two
floods?; 2) Is the flood record and the stratigraphy consistent from
quebrada to quebrada?; and 3) Were the same flood deposits found
uniformly at all quebradas and at the various locations at each
quebrada?
Carrizal Quebrada
Unit Profiles
Figure 7-1 shows the details of the profile of Unit #1 S.
Excavation revealed that there were two aeolian layers. The aeolian
deposits near the surface were composed of 6 cm of dark brown
(10YR 4/3) sand with some silt, which overlies a second layer of
grayish brown (10YR 5/2) aeolian sand and silt which extend to the
bottom of the colonial irrigation canal, that has a 1 cm sediment layer
in its bottom. It was observed that this canal is not stone-lined like
292

293
Aeolian Deposits
Colonial Canal
Bottom
Organic
Layer
Chuza
Deposits
Mixed
Aeolian Deposits
Miraflores
Deposits
Centimeters
• ••••• •
= Fine
= Silty
= Rocks
mra iTFiD
• s' •
Sand
Sand
firm imn
= Coarse
= Sandy
—
= Clay
Sand
Silt
—
Vegetal
Refuse
Figure 7-1: Unit #1S.—Carrizal Quebrada

294
those canals that are located ca. 220 m ESE along the base of the high
domestic terraces (Figure 7-2A). Beneath the outside edges of the
canal are what remains of a contiguous dark yellowish brown (10YR
4/4) organic layer which was excavated to make a canal bottom.
This organic layer is composed of many small seashell fragments, 1
mm pebbles, fine sand, silt, and vegetal fibers. Since the irrigation
canal lies adjacent to a prehistoric domestic terrace, it appears as if
the organic materials are from this abandoned terrace. The 15-20
cm depth of the dark grayish brown (10YR 4/2) Chuza flood deposits
contained small shell fragments, rock fragments, larger rocks up to 5
cm, sand, silt, and some vegetal fibers, which could have come from
the former prehistoric domestic terrace that subsequently had been
used as an historical agricultural surface.
Underlying the Chuza deposits is yet another yellowish brown
(10YR 5/4) slightly mixed aeolian layer composed of fine sands and
some 3 mm grit. This second aeolian layer overlies at least 25 cm of
reddish yellow (7.5YR 6/6) Miraflores deposits which contain large
rocks up to 20 cm, hundreds of smaller rocks, rock fragments, and
sand with a small amount of silt, which could have been carried
downslope from the upper agricultural terraces.
The depth of the flood deposits in U. #1 S. seems to indicate
that the impact from Chuza was less here than at U. #4 S. (Figure 7-
4), where the deposits from the Chuza Flood were 35 cm thick. The
reason for the difference in the depth of the flood deposits must be
that the Chuza Flood flow was split into two parts by the irregular
terrain. At the area just below the olive grove, part of the mudflow
overflowed the quebrada and rushed down between the domestic

295
Figure 7-2: Aerial View of Carrizal Quebrada

296
terraces (Figure 7-2B), which accounts for the deeper deposits found
in U. #4 S. The remainder of the flood surge continued down the
main quebrada channel indicated at Figure 7-2C, and it is possible
that the overbank deposits are the thinner sediments present in U.
#1 S.
Figure 7-3 is the profile of Trench #1 South, which is a 40 cm
wide probe cut into the canal in an attempt to find the canal bottom
and to determine the depth of the flood sediments that were
deposited closer to the quebrada channel. The 6 cm of dark brown
(10YR 4/3) aeolian sand and silt caps a 1-2 cm stratum of "puddled"
sand and some silt from the 1982-83 El Niño. Beneath the 1982-83
sediments are 16 cm of more dark brown (10YR 4/3) aeolian
deposits which cover a 4 cm layer of grayish brown (10YR 5/2) mud
and fine silt which rests in the bottom of the colonial canal. It is
highly improbable that these sediments were the result of additional
"puddling" from the 1982-83 event because of the thick 16 cm layer
of wind blown sand and silt separating the canal bottom and the
1982-83 sediments. Further evidence indicating that this canal
bottom is historic is the fact that dark grey (10YR 4/1) Chiribaya
cultural debris was found directly below the canal bottom.
Figure 7-4 shows the profile of Unit #4 S. which is situated
near the south edge of the domestic terrace. The 16 cm of brown
(10YR 4/3) aeolian sand with very little silt overlie the very thick 40
cm of dark grayish brown (10YR 4/2) Chuza deposits consisting of
hundreds of small rocks and rock fragments and fine sand with much

297
Centimeters
• • •*.* •
.a • • a
= Fine
- * * -
= Silty
© ©
= Mollusk
SSSS
* a •
• a* •• •
Sand
Sand
© ©
Shells
SSSS
= Coarse
= Sandy
*N •*
= Silt
firm ran
• •* * •
Sand
Silt
ran ran
= Shell
Frags
= Vegetal
Refuse
Figure 7-3: Trench #1S.—Carrizal Quebrada

298
Aeolian
Deposits
Olive
'Tree Roots
Chuza
Deposits
Miraflores
Deposits
Centimeters
• • •
... • • •
• •
= Fine
Sand
= Silty
Sand
—
= Clay
= Rocks
= Coarse
Sand
• • ••
:::::
= Sandy
Silt
= Rock
Frags
° °o°
°o o
= Pebbles
Figure 7-4: East Wall of Unit #4 S.—Carrizal Quebrada

299
more silt than found in Unit #1 S. The Chuza deposits are much
thicker here than these same flood deposits found at the Miraflores
Quebrada (20 cm). Partially separating the Chuza deposits and the
Miraflores deposits is an unusual yellowish brown (10YR 5/6)
aeolian root-laden, sand lens, which was somewhat consolidated
where it contacted the very wet, reddish yellow (7.5 YR 6/6)
Miraflores deposits. The 20+ cm thick Miraflores Flood sediments
consists of sand, silt, and rock fragments, with some rocks up to 12
cm in size. The Miraflores deposits here include more small gravels
in their lowest levels and are also a different color than the more
characteristic pink or pinkish grey (7.5YR 7/4;7/2) deposits found in
the Ilo Valley. However, in the river banks of the Ilo Valley, we
were usually analyzing flood deposits which were the direct result of
the outpouring of flood detritus from the neighboring quebradas.
Quebrada Geologic Columns
Figure 7-5 shows the rather interesting Geologic Column #1
located on the north side of the main quebrada channel. The
uppermost stratum is the dark brown (10YR 4/4) 1982-82 El Niño
deposits which included very sandy silt with some 2-3 mm pebbles.
Immediately below these deposits are found the 43 cm thick
yellowish brown (10YR 5/4) Chuza sediments with copious amounts
of silty sand, rock fragments, and rocks up to 20 cm. Directly below
Chuza is 1-2 cm of what appeared, at first inspection, to be salt-
impregnated carbon. However, I now wonder if this may be a layer
of Huayna Putina volcanic ash mixed with the carbon that is
sometimes found in association with this ash. Beneath this mixed

300
,1982-83
Deposits
, Chuza
Deposits
Mixed Layer of
â– Volcanic Ash
and Carbon (?)
_ Aeolian
’ Deposits
, Miradores
’ Deposits
Consolidated
' Sand & Silt
Volcanic
"Ash
, Aeolian
Deposits
Basal
Sequence
Centimeters
= Fine
Sand
- Silty
Sand
i:::
= Clay
= Rocks
vvv V
vvvv
= Coarse
Sand
:::::
= Sandy
Silt
7
= Rock
Frags
O O00
°OOo°
= Pebbles
= Volcanic
Ash (HP)
Figure 7-5 Geologic Column #1--Carrizal Quebrada

301
layer are the 70+ cm of brown (10YR 5/3) aeolian sand and silt
which rest upon the more characteristic 34 cm deep, compacted
pinkish grey (7.5YR 6/2) Miraflores deposits consisting of sand, silt,
mixed rock fragments and large rocks up to 13 cm in length.
Beneath the Miraflores sediments is what appears to be a thin 2 cm
pinkish white (10YR 8/2) layer of volcanic tephra from a heretofore
undiscovered volcanic eruption. If there were volcanic activity prior
to the Miraflores Event, the concomitant earthquakes and tremors
would have supplied more than ample materials for flood transport,
which would account for the deep Miraflores deposits found in many
locations. Beneath the volcanic ash are the 70-cm thick brown (10YR
5/3) sandy deposits of another aeolian layer. The rest of the 300 cm
geologic column is filled by the Basal Sequence, which is difficult to
analyze with the Munsell Color Chart because the Basal Sequence is
predominantly made up of marine gravels and many very large
rocks varying from 10-40 cm in diameter. The very bottom of the
quebrada channel has a thin 1 cm mud veneer from the 1982-83 El
Niño which encapsulates the Basal Sequence to a height of 1.5 m.
Miraflores Quebrada
Unit Profiles
Figure 7-6 shows Unit #1 N., which was located a few meters
North of sunken feature #2. The profile reveals 3 distinct strata at
this location. The uppermost stratum is composed of dark yellowish
brown (10YR 4/6) aeolian fine sands and some silt averaging about 8
cm in depth. Immediately beneath the aeolian layer are the 20 cm
strong brown (7.5YR 4/6) Chuza flood deposits consisting of

302
Aeolian
Deposits
Chuza
Deposits
Miraflores
Deposits
Centimeters
• •«••• •
•• • *!*
• •
= Fine
Sand
::::
= Silty
Sand
—
= Clay
= Rocks
= Coarse
Sand
:::::
= Sandy
Silt
= Rock
Frags
° °o°
°o?o°
= Pebbles
Figure 7-6: East Wall of Unit #1 N.-Miraflores Quebrada

303
consolidated coarse sand, some silt, grit, and hundreds of angular
granitic rock fragments. The 30+ cm deep, dark brown (7.5YR 4/4)
Miraflores sediments composed of very fine sand, silts, and large
rock up to 10 cm in size, lie directly underneath the Chuza deposits.
There is a variation in the color of both flood deposits at this location
because darker silts from the occupation and agricultural terraces
are incorporated into the flood residues.
Figure 7-7 is the profile drawing of Unit #3 N. Although Unit
#3 N. is located only 10 m from Unit #1, the 8-10 cm of strong brown
(7.5Y 5/6) aeolian sand and silt is a different color at this location. A
possible explanation for this difference may be the fact that Unit #1
is located near the off-road route sometimes used by motor vehicles,
and, consequently, the deeper deposits are mixed with the aeolian
deposits. Even the 20 cm of strong brown (7.5YR 4/6) Chuza deposits
show a different color than do these same deposits in the geological
column located upvalley (see below). The stratigraphy of Unit #3 N.
is identical to Unit #1 N. with the Chuza deposits located directly
above the Miraflores deposits, which are uncharacteristically brown
(7.5YR 5/4) sediments which are composed of sand, silt, small
pebbles, larger rocks up to 15 cm, and one 60+ cm by 40 cm boulder.
The boulder is at least 32 cm high, and it was buried by 38 cm of
compacted Miraflores deposits. Figure 7-8 is the floor plan of Unit
#3 N. showing the location of the large boulder, which was first
thought to be a cap stone for an undisturbed Chiribaya tomb, of
which there are several on the plain at the Miraflores Quebrada.

304
Aeolian
Deposits
Chuza
Deposits
Miraflores
Deposits
Centimeters
• • •
• •• •• •
= Fine
Sand
::::
= Silty
Sand
::::
= Sandy
Silt
••• •••%
• ••••
* * •*.* •
• ••••
= Coarse
Sand
- - - - -
= Clay
= Rock
Frags
= Rocks
= Pebbles
Figure 7-7: East Wall of Unit #3 N.--Miraflores Quebrada

305
Centimeters
• ••*•• •
= Fine
= Silty
/’////
Sand
Sand
= Rocks
•- ••»••! = Coarse
\\\& Sand
= Pebbles
Miraflores
Deposits
Figure 7-8: Floor Plan of Unit #3 at Miraflores Quebrada

306
Figure 7-9 shows the east wall of the Large Unit #1 excavated
into the northern sunken feature, Pit #1. The 8 cm dark yellowish
brown (10YR 4/6) aeolian layer, containing mostly silt, a little sand,
and a small amount of clay, is basically the same as the other aeolian
deposits thus far found at the Miraflores Quebrada. Since Pit #1 is
located only a couple meters from the main quebrada, some of the
1982-83 El Niño overbank deposits are present in the profile. Four
to five cm of its strong brown (7.5YR 4/6) sandy silt with a few small
pebbles (4 mm or less) and some small rocks (1 cm or less) lie
immediately beneath the aeolian stratum.
Capped by the recent El Niño mud are almost 40 cm of dark
brown (7.5YR 4/4) Chuza flood deposits which are much thicker here
than in any of the other 7 units excavated between here and the
southern sunken feature, Pit #2. The reason that the Chuza deposits
are more substantial here is because when the flood surge breached
the east wall of Pit #1, the two meter depth of the pit accommodated
more flood materials, independent of the speed of the torrent,
leaving deeper sediments than the 20 cm average depth. Lying
contiguously to the Chuza debris are the 50+ cm deep strong brown
(7.5YR 5/6) Miraflores sediments, the constituents of which are
sandy silt with a little clay, small rock fragments, and larger rocks up
to 30 cm in length. Based on the 1990 excavations of a 1 m trench
extending from the south wall of Pit #1 to the edge of the quebrada,
the Miraflores deposits extend to 120 cm below the Chuza deposits at
this location.

307
Centimeters
• ••••• •
• •• •
= Fine
Sand
= Silty
Sand
::::
= Clay
7777/
= Sandy
Silt
= Rock
Frags
* * * .#
• • • • •
= Coarse
Sand
'¿S*.-** (7
° °o°
°o °o°
Figure 7-9: East Wall of Large Unit #l-Miraflores
Aeolian
Deposits
1982-83
El Niño
Chuza
Deposits
Miraflores
Deposits
Rocks
Pebbles

308
Figure 7-10 is a drawing of the north view of the Large Unit
#1. Since this profile shows a more involved stratigraphy than did
the east view, the north profile provides an even better explanation
of the total picture of what has geoarchaeologically transpired in the
last five centuries since the Chiribaya Culture ceased to exist. The
yellowish brown (10YR 4/6) aeolian deposits were the same
thickness as in Figure 7-8, but they are not shown in Figure 7-9 since
they had been previously removed in order to examine the carbon
layer more closely (2 cm deep by 40 cm long by 9 cm wide), which
was included in the very top of the Chuza deposits. This carbon layer
was not caused by such high heat as the similar carbon layers found
in two of the seven excavated units. The residue was not the result
of burning agricultural debris, or the result of a cooking fire.
Therefore, the origin of this carbon layer will have to remain a
mystery until further excavations can be conducted at this site.
Figure 7-10 establishes that the dark brown (7.5YR 4/4) Chuza
deposits vary from 12 cm to 20 cm in thickness at this location.
There was a pronounced swag of about 20 cm in depth, located
equidistant between the southeast and northeast corners of Pit #1,
which accounts for the difference in the depth of the Chuza deposits
in this profile and those shown in Figure 7-8. The swag may have
originated from the 1990 field season when the trench was
excavated. An exciting find in this profile is the presence of 4 cm of
undisturbed Grayish white (10YR 8/2) Huayna Putina ash, which
covers the strong brown (7.5YR 5/6) Miraflores deposits. At the base
of the wall, in the southeast corner of this unit, some volcanic ash

o
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
110
120
130
140
150
Cm.
10 20 30 40 50 60
J I I I I L
70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200 210 220 230 240 150 260 270 280 290 300
J I I I I 1 I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I L_
T~ H 'â–  .
—Aeolian Deposits
— Chuza Deposits
— Huayna Putina Ash
— Miraflores Deposits
-â– ."A;
/ / / Unexcavated / /
• • • •
= Fine
Sand
“ * * ”
= Silty
Sand
•VJU*.
= Coarse
Sand
= Clay
o o O
°o°oc
Pebbles
Rocks
VV V V V
V V V V V
= Volcanic
Ash
7?^
Rock
Frags
Figure 7-10: North Wall of Large Unit #1—Miraflores Quebrada
309

310
was also found overlying the Miraflores deposits. At the left side of
the profile drawing, the Miraflores deposits are only 10 cm deep,
while those deposits on the right side are at least 50 cm thick. This
disparity in depth can be explained since the action of the Miraflores
flood surge would be analogous to an ocean wave as it "breaks over"
any obstacle. Much of the water is immediately dropped from the
main body of the wave, thus losing most of its volume, speed, and
depth, as the much shallower water continues it forward motion.
This is what probably happened when the Miraflores flood surge
flowed over the east wall of Pit #1. Some flood debris was deposited
nearer the wall, while more debris struck the center of the pit and
then quickly rushed over the west wall, continuing its flow to the
ocean.
Further excavations into the Miraflores deposits revealed a 12
cm thick clay floor. The floor on this side of the pit was spared
extensive damage by the Miraflores Flood, unlike the centers of the
pits shown in Figures 7-11 & -12. The force of the Miraflores flood is
evidenced by the fact that the clay floors at the center of both Pits
#1 & #2 have been severely damaged and abraded by the flood
debris. Even the edges of the floor on the east side of Pit #1 are a
little rough, perhaps, from flood scouring.
Beneath the Chuza deposits and sandwiched between the
Miraflores deposits was a section of what appears to be strong brown
(10YR 4/6) loose fill material for a 30 cm wide wall that perhaps was
once located on this side of the sunken feature. The fill material
consisted of silt with some sand and clay, small pebbles (3 cm or
less), and a few larger rocks up to 10 cm. This material had to have

Detail of Sunken Feature #1
Figure 7-11: East Profile of Sunken Feature #1—Miraflores Quebrada
311

o
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Cm.
Figure 7-12: East Profile of Sunken Feature #2--Miraflores Quebrada
312

313
been used as fill between the sides of the wall since it was totally
unconsolidated and could be easily removed with bare hands. There
were some large stones (10-20 cm) which could have come from an
exterior "wall" or from a seating bench, that could have sat about 15
cm above the floor and had a depth of 11 cm, based on the analysis
of the remains. This premise is based on the fact that at the east
edge of this sunken feature there were a number of rock imprints
(18 cm above the level of the floor) left in the well-preserved
worked clay, which were obviously not part of the 12 cm thick clay
floor. The presence of large chunks of clay and worked stones leaves
the impression that there might have been a "wall-fall" caused by
the Miraflores Flood.
Figure 7-13 is a profile of Unit #4 W., which is located very
near the southern rim of the quebrada about 10 m from the edge of
the marine terrace where it drops sharply to the beach. As
evidenced by the profile, this unit lies beyond the limits of the Chuza
Flood. The 6-10 cm of strong brown (7.5YR 4/6) aeolian deposits of
very silty sand with some clay particles directly cover the Miraflores
sediments. The brown (10YR 4/4) Miraflores debris consists of very
silty sand, some rock fragments, small rocks (3-5 cm) and a couple of
8 and 20 cm larger rocks suspended in a very hard, salt-impregnated
caliche matrix. The strength of the Miraflores Flood is manifested by
the inclusion in the flood deposits of several worked, facing rocks
from the terraces hundreds of meters upslope.

314
O
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Cm.
Aeolian
Deposits
Miraflores
Deposits
Facing
Stones
0
25 50 75 100
Centimeters
• ••••• •
... • • •
= Fine
Sand
= Silty
Sand
::::
= Clay
= Sandy
Silt
= Coarse
Sand
-----
= Rock
Frags
° °o°
°o?0°
= Rocks
= Pebbles
Figure 7-13: East Wall of Unit #4 W.-Miraflores Quebrada

315
Figure 7-14 is the profile of Unit #5 West, which is located in a
1.5 m deep swag south of Unit #4 W. The color of the aeolian layer
has shifted from the previously found brown color to a yellowish red
(5YR 5/6) 6 cm thick layer of silty sand with a high clay content.
Once again there are no Chuza deposits found in this unit's profile.
The dark brown (7.5YR 3/4) Miraflores deposits extend down to at
least 62 cm, where excavations stopped. The first 24 cm of the very
humid Miraflores deposits was much darker than the remaining 38
cm of this stratum, and it contained a greater amount of silt and clay.
This layer looks like true soil because some of these silts probably
came from the agricultural terraces. In addition to the commonly
included silt and sand, the Miraflores deposits also contained a
number of sizable rocks as large as 25 cm with the average being 15
cm. A very dark gray (7.5YR 3/0) feature is present in this unit.
This 40 cm by 12 cm feature was comprised of very little silt and
extremely fine black, sand-like particles, which were later identified
as manganese. There was also a small pocket of carbon present in
the upper portion of this same feature.
Figure 7-15 is the profile of 1 by 2 m Trench #1 W. located at
the very edge of the marine terrace (Figure 7-14). The yellowish red
(5YR 4/6) humid aeolian deposits consisted of silty sand with good
clay content and some 1-2 mm decomposed rock particles. The
wind-borne materials covered both the Miraflores sediments and
two 2-3 cm thick pockets of pinkish white (5YR 8/2) Huayna Putina
ash. The tephra was probably preserved because the Chuza Flood

316
Aeolian
Deposits
Feature
with
Magnesium
Miraflores
Deposits
Centimeters
• ••••• •
= Fine
= Silty
—
Sand
Sand
—
= Sandy
= Coarse
Sand
Silt
= Clay
= Rock
Frags
= Rocks
= Pebbles
Figure 7-14: East Wall of Unit #5--Miraflores Quebrada

317
Cm- o 25 50 75 100
Centimeters
Aeolian
Deposits
Miraflores
Deposits
• ••••• •
= Fine
= Silty
= Caliche
• •
Sand
Sand
77/7/.
= Coarse
= Sandy
•m
—
= Clay
V V V V
v. •*•.*>
Sand
Silt
—
V V V V
= Rocks
= Volcanic
Ash (HP)
Figure 7-15: East Wall of Trench #1—Miraflores Quebrada

318
did not reach this location. The dark brown (7.5YR 3/4) Miraflores
deposits consisted of extremely humid, very silty sand with clay
particles. The deposits continued to 70 cm below the surface, with
the lowest 20 cm of deposits being very hard caliche. The fact that
these deposits are less than 50 cm shallower than those deposits
found at the sunken features again stresses the speed and magnitude
of the Miraflores Flood.
Figure 7-16 is the floor plan of Trench #1 West. The deposits
in the very bottom of the trench were even harder than those
previously encountered because of the very high salt content. The
reason for including this floor plan is to emphasis the fact that the
Miraflores Flood still contained large 40 cm rocks when its deposits
spilled into the Pacific Ocean. Had the settlement at the Miraflores
Quebrada been occupied at the time of this event, no one could have
survived the fury of the Miraflores Flood.
Miraflores Quebrada
Quebrada Profiles
Figure 7-17 shows the Geologic Column #1 which is located in a
small branch of the main quebrada channel east of the modern olive
grove. The surface of this column is a grayish brown (10YR 5/2) .5
cm layer of silty sand with 2 mm grit deposited by the 1982-83 El
Niño, which covered all other strata, including the Basal Sequence.
Located immediately below this layer are the dark yellowish brown
(10YR 4/4) aeolian deposits of sand with very little silt. The aeolian

319
o 25 50 75 100
Miraflores
Deposits
Centimeters
’m •••••
• • •
Fine
Sand
Coarse
Sand
- • • -
= Silty
Sand
\WX
= Sandy
—
Silt
—
Rocks
Clay
Figure 7-16: Floor Plan of Trench #1 W.--Miraflores Quebrada

320
1982-83
' Deposits
Aeolian
Deposits
Chuza
Deposits
Aeolian
Deposits
Miraflores
Deposits
Basal
Sequence
Centimeters
•• «•••.•
= Fine
= Silty
—
= Sandy
= Rock
Frags
Sand
....
Sand
- • - . -
Silt
•Vjtf.
â–  * *"t
= Coarse
Sand
::::
= Clay
° °o°
°OOo°
= Pebbles
tvV/z
= Rocks
Sandy
= Marine
Garvel
Figure 7-17: Geologic Column #l-Miraflores Quebrada

321
deposits overlie the 15-20 cm dark yellowish brown (10YR 3/4)
Chuza flood sediments consisting of much grit (less than 5 mm), some
3 cm or less rock fragments, and rocks up to 7 cm in length,
suspended in a very compacted matrix of silty sand. What appears
to be .25 cm of brown (10 YR 5/3) aeolian sand with very little silt
separates the Chuza and the Miraflores deposits. Since there are no
agricultural terraces upslope that could have provided silts and
refuse which could have altered the coloration, once again, there are
one meter thick, classic pinkish gray (7.5YR 6/2), extremely
compacted Miraflores deposits consisting of silty sand with many
rocks, but none of them larger than 8 cm. The reason that the larger
rocks are conspicuously missing from the Miraflores deposits, which
often include immense rocks and boulders, is because there were
none available for flood transport in this small quebrada. Directly
below the Miraflores deposits is another thin (1 cm) layer of aeolian
materials consisting of brown (10YR 5/3) sand with a little silt. This
third aeolian layer overlies the brownish yellow (10YR 6/8) Basal
Sequence which consists mainly of coarse sand, very little silt,
gravels, and rocks from 6 to 80 cm in length. The Basal Sequence
continues uninterrupted down to the bedrock of the quebrada
channel bottom.
Figure 7-18 is the Geologic Column #2 located in the main
quebrada channel one kilometer upvalley from the olive grove. The
surface of this column is covered by the reddish yellow (5YR 6/8)
very silty sand of the deposits from the 1982-83 El Niño.
Undoubtedly, the 25° slopes at this location helped to contribute to

322
Centimeters
v. •
= Fine
Sand
I I I I
= Silty
Sand
=Sandy
Silt
7
= Rock
Frags
• •• • •
= Coarse
Sand
I I I I
= Clay
O O00
00 O = Pebbles
'M.
= Rocks
1982-83
Deposits
Aeolian Deposits
Mixed with Rich
Agrarian Refuse
Chuza
Deposits
Miraflores
Deposits
Basal
Sequence
Sandy
= Marine
Garvel
Figure 7-18: Geologic Column #2 at Miraflores Quebrada

323
the 20 cm deep sheet wash, which is the thickest deposits from this
event yet seen by this author. The 10 cm thick aeolian layer, capped
by the 1982-83 sediments, is composed of dark yellowish brown
(10YR 4/6) deposits which include very fine silty sand and some clay
mixed with fine organic remains from the agricultural surfaces
located upslope from the column. The 40 cm of slightly compacted
dark yellowish brown (10YR 3/6) Chuza deposits are also composed
of silty sand, but they also include small pebbles (5 mm or less) and
hundreds of rock fragments measuring 2 cm or less. As always, the
Miraflores sediments are situated immediately below the Chuza
deposits. The 40 cm thick, very compacted, dark reddish grey (7.5YR
4/2) Miraflores sediments consist of silty sand with a few rocks up to
8 cm in diameter. The 80 cm of dark brown (7/5YR 3/4) materials
of the Basal Sequence include sandy marine gravels with large rocks
up to 25 cm in diameter. The 13 cm of yellowish red (5YR 5/6)
1991-92 El Niño deposits are composed of sandy silt with some fine
grit (1-2 mm), which are clearly plastered over the Basal Sequence
and the bottom of the Miraflores Flood deposits.
Pocoma Quebrada
Unit Profiles
Figure 7-19 is the profile drawing of a one meter section of the
Terrace Wall #1 supporting a domestic/agricultural terrace. As
previously stated, this location provided one of the few examples of
rebuilding by the survivors of the Miraflores Flood. The 4-14 cm
thick brown (10YR 5/3) aeolian deposits, consisting of very fine silty
sand with some organic matter, included a 4 cm by 30 cm pocket of

324
O
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Cm.
Aeolian
Deposits
Fill
Material
Miraflores
Deposits
0 25 50 75 100
Centimeters
• ••••• •
• • • • • •
• •* •
= Fine
Sand
::::
= Silty
Sand
° °o°
°o o §
= Pebbles
V////
= Sandy
Silt
• • • ••
= Coarse
Sand
ziziz
v£± 7
= Rock
Frags
V V V
vv vv
= Rocks
= Volcanic
Ash
Figure 7-19: Profile of Terrace Wall #1 at Pocoma Quebrada

325
light gray (10YR 7/1) Huayna Putina volcanic ash, which was
shielded by the terrace wall. Immediately beneath the aeolian layer
are the terrace wall support stones, which are as large as 35 cm by
50 cm. The very large stone on the left of the profile drawing has a
number of smaller stones neatly coursed against it. In between
these smaller stones is the dark brown (10YR 4/3) fill material,
which is composed of very fine silty sand and clay with some small
seashell fragments, roots, and other organic matter, which continues
downward until it meets the Miraflores deposits. The constituents of
the reddish brown (5YR 5/4) Miraflores deposits at this location are
the same as those deposits found at other locations. The deposits are
composed of a high sand content with very little silt, many small
rocks, some rock fragments, and a number of large rocks, including
one large boulder measuring almost 60 cm in diameter.
At the left side of the profile, between 44-47 cm, are some of
the Miraflores deposits which were not excavated as deeply as the
other flood deposits shown in the remainder of the profile. The
craftsmanship of the Chiribaya builders is vividly shown in the
construction of the terrace wall, since some of the deposits were
obviously removed so a stone "shim" could be used to level the very
large, flat polygonal facing stone.
Figure 7-20 shows the floor plan of Unit #2 located about 15 m
from the Terrace Wall profile. The floor plan shows a cane (and
probably daub) wall sunk into the Miraflores deposits, running
diagonally across the 1 m unit. Horizontal support canes, varying 1-2
cm in diameter, were also found in situ and are represented by the

326
Miraflores
Deposits at
35 cm. below
surface
Cane
Wall
Miraflores
Deposits at
60 cm. below
surface
Centimeters
• ••••• •
= Fine
Sand
1 1 1
1 1 1
= Silty
Sand
= Coarse
Sand
= Sandy
Silt
•«
• • 1*
1 1 1
1 1 1
1 1 1
1 1 1
1 1 1
1 1 1
1 1 1
= Rocks
= Clay
Figure 7-20: Floor Plan of Unit #2--Pocoma Quebrada

121
shaded irregular lines above and below the 1-3 cm vertical canes,
represented by the very dark, filled circular shapes. Adjacent to the
cane wall is a 9 cm wide post, presumably made of Molle wood,
possibly used to support the roof for this structure. Analysis of the
artifactual remains (see Chapter 6) leads to the conclusion that this
structure was a domestic dwelling. The Miraflores deposits at the
top of drawing, above the cane wall, are located 35 cm below the
surface, while the deeper deposits below the cane wall lie 60 cm
below the surface.
Figure 7-21, a cross section drawing of Unit #2, graphically
shows the involved stratigraphy of this unit. The upper Miraflores
deposits are located on the left of this figure, while the lower flood
sediments, which were beneath the house floor and occupation
debris, are shown at the right side of the figure. The 25 cm thick
stratum of occupation midden overlying the flood deposits clearly
evinces that the flood deposits had to have been dug out to allow the
installation of this wall, whose canes rest in a small trench cut into
the sediments.
Canal Profiles
Figure 7-22 is the profile of the #2 High North Canal exposed
by a trench dug into this intake canal located near the spring source
for the irrigated agricultural system. The uppermost deposits are the
yellowish brown (10YR 5/6) wind transported very fine silt with
some sand and 1-2 mm pebbles. Beneath the aeolian deposits is the
strong brown (7.5YR 4/6) 1982-83 El Niño sheet wash (8 cm at its

328
Centimeters
Figure 7-21: Cross-Section of Unit #2 at Pocoma Quebrada

329
Aeolian
Deposits
1982-83
Deposits
Historic
Canal
^Chuza
Deposits
v\Miraflores
Deposits
Centimeters
,* • • ••
= Fine
Sand
= Coarse
Sand
= Silty
°°o°0
Sand
°OOoU
= Sandy
Silt
ZlZlZ
:t^áá
Pebbles
Rock
Frags
= Rocks
Figure 7-22: #2 High Canal-North Side of Pocoma Quebrada

330
thickest) which consists of coarse sand with very little silt and some
3-5 mm grit. This sheet wash fills a concave depression, which
appears to be an historic irrigation canal bottom which was dug
directly into the Chuza deposits, which consist of 10-15 cm of dark
grayish brown (10YR 4/2) sandy silts with small pebbles, rock
fragments, and a few rocks up to 8 cm wide. The Chuza deposits
overlie the strong brown (7.5YR 5/6) Miraflores deposits, which
extend to an unknown depth, are composed of silty sand, some
gravels, and many rocks up to 20 cm in length. It is surprising that
the sheet wash found in the canal is not even deeper because the
slopes of the quebrada average 30° +/- with some slopes increasing
to a 45° angle. This same sharp incline would have helped to
increase the speed of both the Chuza and Miraflores events, and, at
the same time, would have provided additional finer materials.
The construction design of the canal indicates that it was built
by the Chiribaya to irrigate the abandoned agricultural terraces
which are situated a few hundred meters downvalley from this
point. The canal originally started from the intake point and
followed the contour of the quebrada and terminated at the
agricultural terraces. The efforts by the Spanish to reactivate this
canal, after the Chuza Flood, must have been successful because there
are trunks of olive trees scattered along the length of this canal
remnant.
Figure 7-23 shows the profile of the #1 High South Canal. This
profile contains the most complicated canal stratigraphy encountered
during the course of my investigations. The 4-6 cm of yellowish

331
1982-83
, Sheet
^ Wash
Loose
Miraflores
Deposits
Aeolian
Deposits
Chuza
Deposits
Historic Canal
Bottom
Canal
Bottom
Loose
Miraflores
Deposits
Compacted
Miraflores
Deposits
Centimeters
• •*••• •
• • • • • •
• •
= Fine
Sand
::::
= Silty
Sand
—
= Clay
= Rocks
•m •••••
• • • ••
• • •
• ••••
= Coarse
Sand
= Sandy
Silt
= Rock
Frags
° °o°
°o o §
= Pebbles
Figure 7-23: Profile of #1 High South Canal-Pocoma Quebrada

332
brown (10YR 5/6) aeolian deposits of very fine silt with some sand
and grit (less than 2 mm) overlie 6 cm of brownish yellow (10YR
6/6) 1982-83 sheet wash comprised of sandy silt and some very
small grit, which fills what appears to be the depression of the
second historic canal which was dug into prior flood deposits. This
canal bottom contains 1 cm of very fine sands and silt. Immediately
below the canal bottom are the dark yellowish brown (10YR 4/6)
Chuza deposits consisting of silty sand with many small rock
fragments and pebbles. Directly beneath the Chuza deposits is the
outline of another historic canal bottom filled with both coarse and
fine sand and some very small pebbles apparently transported by
water. Beneath this canal bottom are reddish yellow (7.5YR 6/6)
loose materials composed of sandy silt with some rocks up to 8 cm in
size. These loose materials are apparently the result of the vain
attempt to excavate yet another canal depression into the Miraflores
sediments, which underlie the canal depression. The only difference
in the reddish yellow (7.5YR 6/6) sandy silt Miraflores deposits and
the loose materials above them is the fact that the undisturbed
Miraflores deposits are very compacted and contain some larger
rocks up to 15 cm in length.
Excavations revealed that the outside support wall, not shown
in Figure 7-23, was constructed with mortarless stonework,
consisting of some stones as large as 50 cm. Also not shown, is the
inside canal wall, which was cut into the Miraflores deposits, and
appears to be plastered smooth with fine silts and clay. This
appearance could have resulted from the smoothing action of flowing
irrigation water which inherently contains amounts of fine silts and

333
sands. There is loose fill in between the canal walls and canal
bottom.
Since the canal bottom was obviously the result of excavating
another irrigation channel directly in the Miraflores deposits, it poses
the question of whether the canal was re-activated by the Chiribaya
people or whether the new canal was created later by the Spanish
Colonialists. Today the canal course follows the contour of the
quebrada West and then turns South where it begins to slope
downhill. If the canal were all intact, it would terminate a short
distance from the modern olive grove.
It is plausible that since there was a remnant Chiribaya
population which survived the Miraflores Event here at Pocoma, they
may have been able to use some of the agricultural terraces which
were not too heavily damaged by the flood. However, unless the
extant olive grove or the abandoned olive grove within the confines
of the colonial stone wall cover prehistoric terraces, there are no
discernible prehistoric terraces which either the #1 Low South Canal
or the #2 High South Canal could have irrigated. Therefore, perhaps
additional future research in the area of the abandoned olive grove
and the visible agricultural terraces will be able to answer
definitively the question of who briefly used this canal after the
Miraflores Event.
Figure 7-24 is the profile of the #1 Low South Canal. Only 1-2
cm of yellowish brown (10YR 5/4) aeolian silty sand overlie the 8 cm
of dark brown (10YR 4/3) 1982-83 sheet wash. Once again there is
evidence of an irrigation canal depression, which is now filled by the

334
Aeolian
Centimeters
• ••••• •
••• • * •
• •
= Fine
Sand
= Silty
Sand
° °o°
°OOo°
= Sandy
Silt
•h •••••
,* • • ••
= Coarse
Sand
(7
= Pebbles
Rock
Frags
= Rocks
Figure 7-24: #1 Low Canal-South Side of Pocoma Quebrada

335
1982-83 sheet wash, having been excavated into the reddish yellow
(7.5YR 6/6) Miraflores deposits which consists of very compacted
silty sand with many small rocks and some larger rocks up to 20 cm
in length. The outside wall of this canal is the dark brown (10YR
5/4) Chuza deposits consisting of sandy silt with rock fragments and
a few larger rocks. Thus, this canal was probably dug by the Spanish
Colonialists some time after the Chuza Flood occurred.
Quebrada Geologic Column
Figure 7-25 is a drawing of the Geologic Column #1 located in a
deep cut made by excavating equipment. The top of the column is
capped by the yellowish brown (10YR 5/6) aeolian deposits
consisting of very fine silt with some sand and small 2 mm pebbles.
Beneath the aeolian debris are the dark yellowish brown (10YR 4/6)
loose sandy silt deposits of the 1982-83 El Niño sheet wash which
includes some small 2-3 cm rocks. Immediately below this stratum
are the 10-30 cm deep dark brown (10YR 4/3) Chuza deposits
composed of silty sand with many rock fragments and small rocks 5-
8 cm in diameter.
The most important feature of this column is the 60 cm thick
dark brown (10YR 4/2) occupation midden consisting of silt, sand,
clay, and grit. Also included in this midden are many seashells, rock
fragments, rocks varying from 6-10 cm, and many root hairs. This
midden, which is at least 30 meters wide based on the fact that it
was also found in the shovel tests, is testimony to the fact that some
Chiribaya people survived the ravages of the Miraflores Flood, and
that they occupied this site for quite awhile based on the depth of

336
® * O % r
C> ? s ## á
## â–  *
_ Aeolian
Deposits
-1982-83
Sheet Wash
_ Chuza
Deposits
.Occupation
Midden
. Miraflores
Deposits
100
Centimeters
® *
« m
= Mollusk
Shells
= Shell
Frags
####
# ###
= Carbon
In In In
Inin In
= Human
Bone
ssss
ssss
1,1 1,
11 1
1 1 1
1 1 1
= Silty
Sand
• • • *
= Fine
Sand
1**1
I III I
= Sandy
•r •••%
• • • «•
• •
• • • M
= Coarse
Sand
Silt
7
= Marine
Animal
Bones
= Land
Animal
Bones
= Silt
= Rock
Frags
oo
° °o°
°o?o°
= Potsherds
Rocks
= Pebbles
Figure 7-25: Geologic Column #l--Pocoma Quebrada

337
the cultural deposits. Immediately beneath the midden are the
strong brown (7.5YR 5/6) Miraflores deposits with both fine and
coarse sand, silt, some gravels, a few angular rocks, and large rocks
up to 40 cm in length.
The Ilo Valley
The Tomb Site
Stratigraphic Profile
Although the slope angles (25-30°) in the Ilo Valley are
basically the same as those found in the coastal quebradas, and in
some cases, even less steep, the Chuza and Miraflores flood deposits
in the valley are 4-5 times thicker, in certain places, than those flood
deposits found in the coastal quebradas. Figure 7-26 vividly shows
the differences in the flood stratigraphy at the Tomb Site located in
the upper Ilo Valley about a kilometer downvalley from the "choke
point" for the valley irrigation system and approximately the same
distance upvalley from Planting Surface #1 (Figure 7-27).
At the top left of Figure 7-27, 10-12 cm of talus debris, which
sloughed off the relatively steep granitic slopes, has covered much of
the Chuza debris which originated from the lateral quebrada.
Directly below the upper Chuza deposits are earlier talus deposits
which overlie about 50 cm of Miraflores deposits from the lateral
quebrada. More Chuza deposits have encapsulated the lower support
wall of the prehistoric Osmore canal with a meter plus of detritus.
Shown trapped immediately above the lower canal support wall is a
thin lens of Huayna Putina ash which can be seen continuing

338
Figure 7-26: Tomb Site at Planting Surface #1, Ilo Valley

339
Quebrada
Osmore
River
D.R.S. 1993
Figure 7-27: lio Valley-Lower Osmore Drainage

340
downslope where it overlies both the Miraflores debris from the
adjacent quebrada and the river. At the center of the profile,
directly beneath the earlier talus debris, are several stones probably
dislodged previously from the canal support walls.
According to this stratigraphy, the Miraflores flood debris first
surged down lateral quebrada and later more of the Miraflores
sediments were deposited by the river. This sequence is evidenced
by the fact that the river-deposited Miraflores sediments overlie the
earlier talus debris. Although these river deposits are found over 4
m above the river floodplain, they obviously did not reach the even
higher irrigation canal. Rather it was the inordinately large
Miraflores flood surge from the lateral quebrada which inundated
this "intake" section of the Osmore canal and rendered the irrigated
agricultural system totally useless. To further complicate the
archaeological problem, the Chuza flood debris later encapsulated the
Miraflores deposits and the canal support walls. There are also other
quebradas located on the north side of the Ilo Valley which
disgorged collateral flood debris that either covered or swept away
every section of the canal located along the quebrada walls.
Planting Surface #1
Canal Trench #1
Figure 7-28 is an overview of Planting Surface #1 showing the
location of the historic canal in which the trench was dug. Figure 7-
29 is a profile drawing of a trench cut into an historical canal at the
First Planting Surface about 12 km upvalley from the mouth of the

T = Terrace
• = Molle Stumps
30 meters
Historic Canal
1. *
oo
Figure 7-28: Planting Surface #1—Ilo Valley

342
Aeolian
Deposits
Miradores Deposits
Excavated to Shape
Colonial Canal
Agricultural
Refuse
Historic
Canal
Bottom
Miraflores
Deposits
Possible Wall
from a Chiribaya
Feeder Canal
0 25 50 75 100
Centimeters
• •••.• •
= Fine
= Silty
firm nfHi
= Vegetal
Sand
Sand
IWU fWH
Refuse
V7&/
= Coarse
= Sandy
â– h
= Silt
° °o°
• • •• • •
• ••••
Sand
Silt
°o o §
= Rocks
= Pebbles
Figure 7-29: Profile of Historic Canal at Planting Surface #1

343
Ilo River. This canal was rendered useless by the Chuza Flood
because five meters downvalley from the trench, the historical canal
was barely discernible when I excavated into the quaternary marine
terrace on which Planting Surface #1 is located. Only a part of the
inside wall of the canal is visible, yet there are two places that
Huayna Putina ash can be seen. This canal profile was the only one
that I was able to excavate in all of the valley because the entire
prehistoric canal and most of the historic canals were either
inundated by the Miraflores or the Chuza Flood or totally removed
by these floods.
Geologic Column #1
Figure 7-30 shows a profile of Planting Surface #1 and the
location of Geologic Column #1. Figure 7-31 shows the salient
features of this column. The uppermost deposits are composed of 12
cm of light yellowish brown (10YR 6/4) aeolian sand and silt which
overlie the almost 1.5 m thick pale brown (10YR 6/3) Chuza deposits
from the lateral quebrada consisting of coarse sand, numerous rock
fragments, and a number of rocks up to 20 cm in diameter. The
number of large rocks included in the Chuza deposits is not
consistent with these same flood deposits examined in the coastal
quebradas. The reason for this difference is that the deposits in G. C.
#1 are from a much shorter lateral quebrada which did not allow the
flood enough time to deposit the larger rocks farther upslope, like
the longer drainage systems did at the Carrizal and Miraflores
Quebradas.

Figure 7-30: Profile of Planting Surface #1
344

30 -
40 -
50 -
60 -
70 -
80
90 -
120 -
130 -
140
150 -
160 -
170 -
180
190
200
210
220
230
240
Cm.
. - * • • * * * * '
a V * 1. < * ^ ¿
■1 . ✓ V ,
V * A
1 - -
> *“ -A
v*'1
â–  ^ V .
*á'>vá»:yí@v:-r.;0.--
loo -T,'¿£\ • "'*< '-l. &
no-'7\/?'->; ; , i;>
' . ♦ * .« >
■■ó'.m-:.
£ j ¿ü > » •
¿2¡>
O * . *. '
4 " • . • . - • r\ -
- • ^7 , ‘ " ■*■ • 7 • •** ^ • ■ ■
■ • •- u
' \r. •
r * . * . 4 D.K.S. I â– )â– ).<
Second Surge
of Chu/a
— Deposits
from
Lateral
Quebrada
Aeolian
Deposits
Miradores
Deposits
from
llo River
Miradores
Deposits
— from
lateral
Quebrada
0
75
first Surge
of Chuza
— Deposits
from
- Fine
I f : I - Silty
1 - • • - 1 Sand
lateral
(¿pebrada
- Coarse
Sand
fi&S&l
I- * - • -1 “ Sandy
]-•••-] Silt
Aeolian
/ Deposits
V/A
= Rocks
|nira infill - vegetal
pro mm I R,»f,iv»
Huayna
✓ Putina
/ Ash
|::::|
- Clay
1^1-v"
“ Carbon
Figure 7-31: Geologic Column #1 at Planting Surface #1
345

346
Immediately beneath the Chuza debris is a 2-3 cm light gray (10YR
7/1) layer of Huayna Putina volcanic ash, which has a 3 cm dark
gray (10YR 4/1) layer of carbon in direct contact with the ash. The
heat from the tephra and possibly an accompanying fire caused the
upper few centimeters of the Miraflores deposits to turn to a pinkish
white (5YR 8/2) color. The remaining 20 cm of the river-deposited
Miraflores sediments are very pale brown (10YR 7/3) fine sands and
silts with no rocks. Beneath these fine pale brown sediments are
2.20 m more of other Miraflores light yellowish brown (10YR 6/4)
deposits, which contain sand, silt, some rock fragments, and rocks as
large as 25 cm in length. There are no massive rocks here because
the quebradas joining the river valley from the South are very short
drainages compared to those drainages found along the coast. Lying
4 m above the river channel are some of the light gray (10YR 7/2)
1982-83 El Niño sand and silt sediments which form a mud cap that
covers some of the upper Miraflores deposits. Contiguous to this
stratum is the 2+ m of the pale brown (10YR 6/3) Basal Sequence
deposits consisting mostly of sand, some rock fragments, marine
gravels, and rocks as large as 30 cm. Intruding into the Basal
Sequence are portions of two brown (10YR 5/3) sand lenses, which
probably resulted from the riverine slackwater phase of a previous
flood event.
Discussion
Analysis of the various profiles and geologic columns at
Carrizal, Miraflores, and Pocoma Quebradas and also in the Ilo Valley
yield similar conclusions concerning the composition of the ca. 1350

347
A.D. Miraflores Flood and the ca. 1607 A.D. Chuza Flood. Although
the color of the Miraflores Flood deposits varies from a dark brown
through and including the classic pink, the basic constituents of its
flood deposits rarely deviates. Regardless of the location in the Ilo
region, the highly compacted sand and silt matrix will usually include
some small gravels and rocks, a few rock fragments, and many rocks
as large as 50 cm. In addition to those rocks included directly in the
flood deposits, there are the gargantuan boulders, some of which are
as large as 3 m in diameter, which were also moved downslope and
sprinkled liberally across the landscape.
The Chuza deposits vary in color from a dark grayish brown to
a yellowish brown depending upon the location. However, once
again, despite any color variation there is no mistaking or confusing
the Chuza flood deposits with any other flood debris. The matrix will
contain less sand and silt than the Miraflores matrix and will vary
from the average slightly compacted state to a highly compacted
stratum, on very rare occasions. However, it is the inclusion of
multitudinous small (.5-2 cm) angular granitic fragments that is
Chuza's most identifiable characteristic. The presence of a plethora
of small rock fragments in the flood deposits tells the observer that
this debris belongs to the Chuza Flood and to no other event.
The profiles and columns at the various locations also contain
an equivalent flood record and consistent stratigraphy. The
geoarchaeological flood record found in the study area indicates
repeatedly that at least two very large flood events have impacted
the entire region in the last 700 or so years. The flood stratigraphy
demonstrates that the deposits of the Miraflores Flood are always

348
found underlying those deposits left by the Chuza Flood. Many times
volcanic tephra from the 1600 A.D. eruption of Huayna Putina will be
found separating the sediments from these two large flood episodes.
Generally, the depths of the flood deposits suggest that both the
strength and the volume of the Miraflores Flood were several times
greater than those of the Chuza Flood. Even though the depth of the
deposits from both events may fluctuate somewhat, the Miraflores
deposits are consistently 2-3 times deeper than those sediments of
its historic counterpart.
The flood deposits were almost always encountered uniformly
at all locations, but the depths of these deposits might vary
depending upon the topography of the quebrada or may even be
absent in certain cases. For example, the higher terraces, whether
cultural or agricultural, may not contain any evidence of a flood
because the elevation of these surfaces exceeds the maximum height
of the flood surge—such as was the case at both the Carrizal and
Pocoma Quebradas. Because of impeding obstacles, the main flow of
a flood may be forced to split into two parts or to deviate from the
original course. An example of a mudflow splitting is found at
Carrizal where part of both the Miraflores and the Chuza floods
flowed around the slightly higher domestic terraces. However, at the
Miraflores Quebrada there was nothing to hinder the flood, and, so, at
this location both the Miraflores and Chuza floods continued for
hundreds of meters farther downslope than they did at the other two
quebradas.

349
CHAPTER 8
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Calculating the Volume and Speed of the Miraflores Flood
at the Miraflores Quebrada
The devastation to the irrigated agricultural system visible in
the Ilo Valley and in the coastal quebradas could only have been
caused by a flood event of inordinate magnitude. Therefore, in
addition to the geoarchaeological and archaeological evidence
presented in this dissertation, it is also possible to use the standard
mathematical equations of fluid mechanics to prove the enormous
size of the Miraflores Flood.
The Chézy-Manning equation (Q=l/nx A x R2’x Sl/2) is used to
calculate the flow rate of liquid, or liquefied masses in our particular
case, according to the slope angle (Street and Wylie 1985). The
constant of the wall material of the liquid carrying device is
designated by "n" in this equation. Since the walls of the Miraflores
Quebrada are composed mostly of loose or consolidated sand, some
silt, and great quantities of stratified rock and scree, and the
Miraflores Quebrada channel consists of gravel, cobbles, large rocks,
and boulders, the Manning constant for "rubble" (0.030) was chosen
since rubble most closely characterizes the surface of the carrying
device of the liquid. It should also be noted that the trapezoid

350
formed by the quebrada channel and the 30° angled side walls is the
shape in which irrigation canals are built because the trapezoid is the
most efficient configuration for transporting water in open irrigation
canals (Ortloff et al. 1982). The additional possibility of a SCDE
(Synergistically Coupled Destructive Event—see below), in which
previous tectonic activity had further loosened this rubble,
dramatically increases its potential for destruction when coupled
with the massive flood surge that would roar down this channel.
The "A" of this formula represents the cross-section of the
carrying device in square meters, i.e., the length of the channel and
the side walls of the quebrada times the height of the flood flow.
Since the flood deposits in the upper quebrada are at least 5 m above
the bottom of the channel, we can safely assume that the flow of the
Miraflores Flood was a minimum of 5 meters in depth. The width of
the quebrada channel is 15 m, with the side walls sloping at 30°.
Therefore, the cross-section (A) of the trapezoidal carrying device is
89.45 m2 (5 m x 17.89 m).
"R" is the hydraulic radius, which is (A/P), with "P", the wetted
perimeter of the carrying device, being 26.54 m. Therefore, the
hydraulic radius (R) of the quebrada would be 3.370 m.
"S" is equal to the slope angle. Since the mudflow at the
Miraflores Quebrada is the most massive extant representation of the
Miraflores Flood, the slope angle (10°) of the upper quebrada will be
used. This is the angle of the quebrada before it disgorged the
Miraflores mudflow which covered the domestic terraces and
eradicated the Chiribaya village. The slope (S) of 10° is equal to

35 1
.1763. Therefore, the rate of flow (Q) for the Miraflores Flood in the
upper quebrada would have been 2,814 m3/sec.
The average velocity (v) of flowing liquid in an open channel is
equal to Q/A. Thus, a wall of water, mud, and boulders at least 5
meters tall would have swept across the Miraflores village with an
average velocity of 113 k.p.h. In light of this additional evidence,
and the new possibility that this Miraflores "Flood" was actually a far
more complex and destructive SCDE, it is worth reiterating that it
would have been almost impossible for anyone or anything to have
survived such a devastating onslaught—at least in the immediate
vicinity of the Miraflores Quebrada itself.
Dating the Miraflores Flood
Since written records concerning Peru are non-existent before
the arrival of the Spanish in 1532 A.D., archaeologists must rely on
other sources of information to corroborate archaeological data. In
the case of dating a prehistoric El Niño flood event, the most reliable
source for data regarding Paleo-climatological activities comes from
the Quelccaya Glacier in southern Peru. Various inclusions within the
ice serve as proxy records of past events. For example, microdust
particles trapped within the ice reflect dry seasons or periods of
drought, while the composition of heavy oxygen isotopes (180)
indicates wet periods. Furthermore, larger insoluble particles, such
as the volcanic ash from the eruption of Huayna Putina, are also
encapsulated in the glacier (Thompson et al. 1986), which can be
used as a chronological marker for PreHispanic weather anomalies.

352
Assurance that carbon for 14C dating does not come from a
later flood event is provided by a number of chronological
constraints. The 1600 A.D. volcanic tephra pre-dates the Chuza Event
and must underlie these flood deposits. The inclusion of olive wood
in flood sediments would date the flood to possibly no earlier than
ca. 1550 A.D. when olives were introduced by the Spanish. The
earliest constraints are provided by the Chiribaya cultural materials
and the morphologically distinct PreHispanic planting surfaces found
throughout the study area. Using these constraints helps prevent the
recovery of carbon which could possibly produce spurious dates.
For the late PreHispanic period, these proxy records from the
Quelccaya Glacier, with an accuracy of +/- 20 years, indicate that
there were strong ENSO perturbations between 1270-75 A.D. and
1350-70 A.D., with 1350 A.D. showing decidedly strong activity.
Thus far, we have only one processed 14C sample for the Miraflores
Flood which dates the event to around 1350 A.D. +/-45 Yrs. (PITT
0948), but it correlates well with the ice core data. As other possible
dates, Wells (1988) interprets two 14C dates of 1325 A.D., and 1380
A.D. as an approximate date of 1330 A.D. +/- 35 for a major north
coast El Niño, which probably was the Miraflores Flood. Wells (1990)
offers two additional 14C dates of 1330 A.D. +/- 60 and 1376 A.D. +/-
135, which probably refer to this same flood event. Pozorski (1987)
has 14C dates that suggest ca. 1300 A.D. for a major north coast flood
event. Regardless of the tolerances for these various 14C dates, they
all tend to corroborate the dates from the glacial ice cores. Thus, all
data to date strongly indicate that the Miraflores Flood occurred
around mid-14th century A.D., plus or minus a few decades.

353
Flood Impact on the Agricultural System
The coastal quebradas and the Ilo Valley are ideal settings
from which to recover archaeological evidence concerning the
devastation caused by the 14th century El Niño flood because the
flood deposits are found most everywhere. In addition, destruction
to the irrigation canals and terraces is quite apparent. The overall
flood impact to the Chiribaya agricultural infrastructure was swift
and pervasive. The agricultural systems in the quebradas and in the
Ilo Valley were rendered instantaneously useless by the Miraflores
Flood.
Even if there had been a sizable population which survived the
flood, the destruction was such that it would have been virtually
humanly impossible to make the once impressive irrigated
agricultural system operable, though there are some who might
disagree. For example, a modern study shows that two humans can
build al00mx3mx2m high terrace in 43 days (Guillet
1987b:41). This estimate may be accurate under optimum
conditions, but it still seems that, for the Chiribaya people, two
humans would be hard pressed to remove hundreds of tons of flood
debris from a buried irrigation canal, which is an integral part of any
agricultural system located along the Peruvian desert coast.
As previously stated, one of the possible reasons that the
Miraflores Flood was so devastating is that the severe El Niño which
produced it may have actually been a prolonged event. Ice core data
from the Quelccaya Glacier indicate a 20 year period of ENSO activity
from 1350-1370 A.D. (Thompson et al. 1986), which could mean that

354
the Miraflores Flood was the result of a multiple-year El Niño. In
contrast to other natural disasters, such as earthquakes, which are
often localized, very strong El Niños can be either regional or
PanAndean in extent. The interworkings of tectonism and El Niños,
as applied to the coastal quebradas and the Ilo Valley, could be
termed Synergistically Coupled Devastative Events (SCDE). The
combined destruction of a strong El Niño, preceded by tectonic
activity, can be far greater than the destruction from either
individual event alone. Thus, in the case of these SCDE occurrences,
the whole is much larger than the sum of its parts and actually
becomes an entirely new category of natural disaster, which has
been identified, defined, and measured for the first time in this
present study. Furthermore, the tectonic activity need not be of
major proportions, since minor tremors, within the range of 4-5 on
the Richter Scale, have sufficient force to dislodge the friable,
unstable materials that occupy the steep (25°-30+°) valley walls in
both the Ilo Valley and the coastal quebradas. Certainly this set of
SCDE conditions was the case for the Chuza Flood based on historical
records and, based on the abundant evidence, it was probably also
the case for the Miraflores Flood.
Declining Demographics
Owen (1991) suggests that the local population in the Ilo Valley
had declined as much as 80% by the mid-thirteenth century A.D. The
impact of the Miraflores Flood should have wreaked havoc on such a
small population. Disease and other pestilences would have
proliferated almost beyond belief, based on the data concerning the

355
aftereffects of a modern event as presented in Chapter 2. Since their
agricultural system was destroyed, the Chiribaya population would
have also been severely debilitated by hunger and vulnerable to
outside influences, which is probably the reason that the Estuquiña
people emigrated from the highlands into the Ilo area following the
Miraflores Flood.
Impact on the Chiribava Culture
The archaeological record found in the study area of the
three quebradas and in the Ilo Valley presents undeniable
evidence that an immense El Niño perturbation had swept down
upon this region around the mid-14th century A.D. The question
of whether the Carrizal Quebrada, or any other quebrada, was
occupied at the time the flood event took place is a moot point
because there is incontrovertible evidence at the Carrizal
quebrada and at the Pocoma Quebrada that there was at least a
remnant post-flood population still living in the area who could
excavate enough flood deposits to build a finely structured
domestic terrace wall. Granted we are currently unable to
ascertain the date that this terrace wall was built, but this is
only one reason that additional research is so badly needed in
these coastal quebradas.
The overall impact of the Miraflores Flood on the Chiribaya
Culture must have been nothing less than devastating. Although
flooding and mudslides caused by the 1982-83 El Niño killed
hundreds of people in Peru, and despite the fact that it was the
largest perturbation in the last one hundred years, the resultant

356
flooding from this 20th century event was trifling when compared to
the 14th century Miraflores Event which literally buried many
locations throughout the Ilo area under tons of mud and massive
boulders. It would be more than 150 years in the future before
native Peruvians would witness a comparable rapid devastation,
only this time it would be caused by the introduction of New World
diseases.
The effect on the Chiribaya Culture, which gained its
autonomy during the Late Intermediate Period (Jessup 1991),
was especially profound because "phenomena that alter
subsistence systems and disrupt means of agricultural
production are likely candidates for triggering change ..."
Moseley 1987:7). Apparently claiming that a single flood event
could have caused a drastic change in the local culture near Ilo is
considered insignificant by some archaeologists when compared
to the impact of a religious movement (Barkun 1974; Conrad and
Demarast 1984) or military invasion (Pozorski and Pozorski
1987) as the underlying cause for radical cultural change. Yet,
what could be more "dramatic" than a gigantic wall of mud,
thundering down from the mountains, to sweep whole villages
literally off the surface of the earth into the Pacific ocean and to
bury others so completely that, Pompeii-like, they have lain
entombed for centuries awaiting our shovels? Surely such a
cataclysmic event must produce both instantaneous and long-
range changes in the culture of any surviving peoples.
To date no evidence has been found in the Ilo area to
support either of the other two theories. Since there are no new

357
religious icons found on the unadorned post-flood pottery, it
seems that no fresh religious fervor was felt during the
aftermath of the flood, and military invasion can also be
effectively ruled out since there is no evidence of battle trauma
present in any of the many intact "fardos" (mummies) recovered
from the Chiribaya tombs (Williams 1990). Therefore, based on
the evidence presented in this dissertation, the devastation
caused by the Miraflores Flood is still the most reasonable
explanation of why the Chiribaya Culture, which had held sway
over much of this region for almost 4 centuries, would abruptly
change.
Cultural Responses to the Miraflores Flood
Paulsen (1977) has claimed that any major climate shift should
affect cultures in such a way that archaeologists should find evidence
of changes in their subsistence base, settlement patterns, or artifact
assemblage. This idea certainly seems to be borne out by my
investigations of the Chiribaya Culture because, after the Miraflores
Flood, there were several noticeable changes in the archaeological
record. For example, at the San Gerónimo site, located on the Ilo
river about 100 meters from the Pacific Ocean, there is evidence
indicating that the local people had to revert to their earlier
maritime subsistence strategies after the Miraflores flood totally
destroyed their irrigated agricultural system in the Ilo Valley. Grave
accompaniments, recovered from the intact burials, included model
boats, fishing hooks, and nets (Jessup 1990, 1991). These types of
grave goods are commonly found in association with other fishing

358
society burials elsewhere in Peru (Bird 1941). There were a few
storage units which contained thousands of tiny dried fish which
were probably anchovy (Engraulis ringens), indicating "mass-
capture" by fishing nets. Further proof of a sudden cultural change
is the fact that this site had been abandon earlier by the Chiribaya
and was re-occupied some time after the Miraflores Flood (David
Jessup, personal communication 1991).
The presence of a maritime artifact assemblage at Burro Flaco
could also be interpreted to mean that the once agricultural-based
Chiribaya Culture had again become fisherfolk. There is ample
evidence that the occupants of this site relied heavily on maritime
activities because metal fishhooks and fishing weights for nets were
recovered from excavations at this site. It would be difficult to argue
for any subsistence base at this site other than maritime.
Emigration into the Ilo Area after the Miraflores Flood
The evidence of metal smelting at Burro Flaco raises the
question of whether another culture brought this technology into the
area. Could the art of metallurgy been introduced into the area by
intruders from the highlands, where metallurgy has been practiced
since at least 500 B.C., or by people from northern Chile, where metal
fishhooks were manufactured by much earlier fisherfolk?
DNA analysis of the many human remains excavated in this
area could help to identify people who are from the same or
different breeding populations, i.e. local Chiribaya people or a
highland population. For example, DNA studies should be able to
determine if there are any significant genetic differences between

359
the Chiribaya and the people who occupied the Burro Flaco Site after
the Miraflores Event.
Based on the evidence of these investigations, I propose that
the technology of metal smelting was introduced by the highlanders
who emigrated into the Ilo area after the Miraflores Flood. Further,
it was this same people who brought with them the rather plain
Estuquiña style of highland pottery, which continued to be used
during the Inca occupation. It would be no surprise if the proposed
DNA studies confirmed this opinion.
Cultural Change Resulting from Natural Disaster
A severe natural disaster can produce rapid, long-lasting
changes within a culture when its agricultural subsistence base is
destroyed. The 12th century A.D. Fempellac's Flood on the north
coast of Peru ruined the crops and caused widespread famine. As a
result of this flood, the local dignitaries revolted against their ruler
and threw him into the Pacific Ocean. "Central icons of the north
coast Sican Style were systematically purged after calamitous El Niño
flooding devastated the Lambayeque region around A.D.
1100"(Moseley et al. 1993:23). The Huayna Putina eruption
produced changes in both the Spanish and the native population
living in Arequipa. The Spanish viewed the eruption as a
punishment by God for their lascivious escapades during Carnival.
Whereas, the natives interpreted the explosion as a fulfillment of the
prophesy by Taqui Ongoy that the ancient gods would return to
destroy the Christian God and the Spanish. As a result, a great deal

360
of tension between the Spanish and the Peruvians ensued (Bouysse-
Cassagne and Bouysse 1984:53-56).
In the case of the Chiribaya Culture, the destruction of the
agricultural system by the 14th century flood weakened the culture
to such an extent that they were vulnerable to non-Chiribaya people.
Since the vibrant Chiribaya iconography was missing on the local
pottery and textiles after the Miraflores Flood, we can infer that
there was a change in ideology. The former belief system of the
Chiribaya had inspired the use of bright red and orange colors and
geometries including stars, circles, and various linear designs.
However, the new ideology of the highland immigrants obviously did
not embrace surface ornamentation because the Estuquiña pottery
and textiles are bereft of decorations.
Recommendations for Future Investigations
Because 1993 is the third consecutive year that an El Niño has
disrupted global climate patterns, it seems that much more research
into ENSO and SCDE phenomena is needed not just in Peru, but
elsewhere in this world. The Peruvian National Meteorological
Service theorizes that the contamination of the earth with
"greenhouse-effect" gasses is altering the ecological and atmospheric
balance (Newman 1993). Thus, by extension, might there not be a
correlation between global warming and the increased frequency of
strong El Niño perturbations? This correlation between global
warming and El Niño events could actually exist because unusual
relationships do occur in nature. For example, there is a definite

36 1
correlation between the low water level of Lake Titicaca and the 11
year solar sunspot cycle (Mayolo 1992).
Since we are now aware that there is some evidence of re¬
building in the study area after the Miraflores Flood, such as the cane
house built atop the Miraflores deposits, more archaeological
research is needed at the Pocoma Quebrada. Additional work is also
needed at the Carrizal Quebrada since there are middens buried by
the Miraflores Flood. As far as the Miraflores Quebrada which was so
totally obliterated by the mammoth flood, there are still interesting
questions to answer, such as the true purpose and function of the
mysterious large sunken rectangular features. There are also a
number of undisturbed collared tombs, encapsulated in the
Miraflores sediments, waiting to be examined by archaeologists.
Since my investigations have uncovered evidence of post-flood
rebuilding at the Pocoma Quebrada, it is obvious that additional work
in needed to determine, if possible, the extent of the settlement and
the subsistence activities at this location. Additional research and
14C are definitely required to ascertain exactly how the Burro Flaco
Complex fits into the Chiribaya cultural sequence. Other flood studies
should be conducted in the other coastal quebradas located North
and South of Ilo. Flood research in the Azapa Valley of northern
Chile might help to determine the farthest southern extent of the
Miraflores Flood and, if flood deposits are present, allow a
comparison of the cultural impact on the Chilean subsistence base to
that revealed by this investigation, which has added but one piece to
the wonderful puzzle that is southern Peru.

362
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
My interest in archaeology was piqued at a very early age
when I was introduced to the subject in a fourth grade ancient
history class taught in a rural, one-room schoolhouse in central
Illinois. A few years later I read a story about a sacred cenote
(well) in the wilds of the Yucatan Peninsula. From that day forward,
the only thing I ever wanted to become was an archaeologist. I
vowed that if I ever got to college, archaeology was what I would
study.
Unfortunately, an opportunity to attend college was not
immediately forthcoming. I was 40 years old before I took my first
college courses. After completing an A.A.S. degree in computer
programming, I continued my education at SIUE where I received a
B.A. in Anthropology and Classical Studies. Since attending the
University of Florida, I have concentrated on the archaeology of Latin
America, and in the last several years I have focused particularly on
Peru. In 1990, I spent three months doing research on paleoflood
events in southern Peru, and was awarded my M.A. based on this
research. I returned to Peru in 1991 to do preliminary dissertation
fieldwork.
I appreciate this opportunity to achieve my lifetime dream so
sincerely that I have applied myself to my studies with some
dilligence and, as a result, I have been the recipient of many honors
399

400
Research Award from The Explorers Club, 1991; and the Outstanding
Graduate Paper Award from the Florida Academy of Sciences, 1992.
I am eagerly awaiting my return to the field in Peru to
continue my research into the severity of prehistoric disasters and
their effects on indigenous cultures. These investigations should
prove most interesting and, hopefully, will help to unravel the
mystery of why some cultures, which have survived quite handily
for centuries, suddenly fall from power and fade into historical
oblivion.

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is
fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree
of Doctor of Philosophy.
Michael Moseley, Chairman
Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is
fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree
of Doctor of Philosophy.
cj^CincD.^-
Linda Wolfe
Associate Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is
fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree
of Doctor of Philosophy.
Smith
ísociate Profié^sor of Civil Engineering

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is
fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree
of Doctor of Philosophy.
Barbara Purdy
Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is
fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree
of Doctor of Philosophy.
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the
Department of Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and
Sciences and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy.
December, 1993
Dean, Graduate School





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