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Proyecto Cerro La Cruz




Above: A large portion of Sector A, notice the standing walls.

Thanks to National Science Foundation support, Dr. Melissa Vogel, her Peruvian
Co-Directors and their team are studying the changing
face of Andean urbanism on the north coast of Peru. This project is
investigating the sociopolitical changes that accompany the development of
cities and the effects of these changes on the urban populace, through an
examination of the built environment at a prehistoric Andean city that
offers unique insights into the dynamics of urbanization on the north
coast of Peru during a critical period of the region’s prehistory.
Research focuses on the site of El Purgatorio, a large urban center and
the proposed capital city of the Casma polity. The site appears to have
had a long occupation, from at least the Middle Horizon (AD600-1000)
through most of the Late Intermediate Period (AD1000-1350).

Project El Purgatorio has a dual emphasis on archaeology and physical
anthropology. The architectural aspect of the study focuses on the
functions and meanings of the extensive walled compounds and their
internal elements. Excavations will also be conducted in a selected sample
of non-compound structures that have been identified as possible commoner
residences and workshop areas.  The results of the architectural component
are expected to contribute new insights into the processes that shaped
Andean cities and their changing forms over time, as well as identify
those elements specific to the Casma polity. The bioarchaeological
component of the study focuses on human skeletal remains, and will seek
evidence for the effects of urbanism on the local populace. Biodistance
analysis will be utilized to determine the population’s geographic origins
and kinship relations, while additional analyses will examine their
health, nutrition, and disease patterns.

  • Director:
    Dr. Melissa Vogel
    Department of Anthropology and Sociology
    Clemson University, South Carolina USA
  • Peruvian Co-Director(s):
    Victor Falcon Huayta
    Percy Vilcherrez Mendoza
    Sofia Linares Alvarado
"Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation."
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