The Muralla Pircada: an ancient Andean debris flow retention dam, Santa Rita B archaeological site, Chao Valley, Northern Peru
- William E. Brooks, Jason C. Willett, Jonathan D. Kent, Victor Vasquez, and Teresa Rosales
Debris flows caused by El Niño events, earthquakes, and glacial releases have affected northern Perú for centuries. The Muralla Pircada, a northeast-trending, 2.5 km long stone wall east of the Santa Rita B archaeological site (Moche-Chimú) in the Chao Valley, is field evidence that ancient Andeans recognized and, more importantly, attempted to mitigate the effects of debris flows. The Muralla is upstream from the site and is perpendicular to local drainages. It is 1–2 m high, up to 5 m wide, and is comprised of intentionally-placed, well-sorted, well-rounded, 20–30 cm cobbles and boulders from nearby streams. Long axes of the stones are gently inclined and parallel local drainage. Case-and-fill construction was used with smaller cobbles and pebbles used as fill. Pre-Muralla debris flows are indicated by meter-sized, angular boulders that were incorporated in-place into construction of the dam and are now exposed in breeches in the dam. Post-Muralla debris flows in the Chao Valley are indicated by meter-sized, angular boulders that now abut the retention dam.
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- The Muralla Pircada: an ancient Andean debris flow retention dam, Santa Rita B archaeological site, Chao Valley, Northern Peru
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- 7 p.
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