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Implications of the fluvial history of the Wacheqsa River for hydrologic engineering and water use at Chavín de Húntar, Peru

Geoarchaeology

By:
and
DOI: 10.1002/gea.20279

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Abstract

Channeling of water through a variety of architectural features represents a significant engineering investment at the first millennium B.C. ceremonial center of Chavín de Huántar in the Peruvian Central Andes. The site contains extensive evidence of the manipulation of water, apparently for diverse purposes. The present configuration of the two local rivers, however, keeps available water approximately 9m below the highest level of water-bearing infrastructure in the site. Geomorphic and archaeological investigation of the fluvial history of the Wacheqsa River has revealed evidence that the Chavín-era configuration of the Wacheqsa River was different. A substantially higher water level, likely the result of a local impoundment of river water caused by a landslide dam, made the provision of water for the hydrologic system within the site a more readily practical possibility. We review what is known of that system and argue that the fluvial history of the Wacheqsa River is critical to understanding this aspect of hydrologic engineering and ritual practice at Chavín. This study demonstrates the relative rapidity and archaeological relevance of landscape change in a dynamic environment.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Implications of the fluvial history of the Wacheqsa River for hydrologic engineering and water use at Chavín de Húntar, Peru
Series title:
Geoarchaeology
DOI:
10.1002/gea.20279
Volume
24
Issue:
5
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Publisher:
Wiley
Description:
30 p.
First page:
589
Last page:
618
Country:
Peru
Other Geospatial:
Chavin de Huantar
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
N