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Fortified settlements and the origins of conflict in the Acari Valley, Peru

Faculty Advisor




south coast, fortifications, violent conflict, Acari, Early Intermediate Period

Abstract (summary)

Archaeological research carried out in the Acari Valley of the Peruvian south coast region reveals that the first half of the Early Intermediate Period (ca. 50 BCE – 350 CE) marked the emergence of the first fortified settlements in the valley. Archaeological excavations carried out at one such site resulted in the unprecedented finding of several dozen human remains that exhibited multiple signs of trauma. Such evidence, in conjunction with data on settlement patterns and site configuration, indicate that the first half of the Early Intermediate Period was a time of widespread conflict in the Acari Valley. The magnitude of the violence in which the inhabitants of the various fortified settlements of Acari were involved is manifested not only in the effort invested in building defensive barriers to protect the settlements, but also in capturing prisoners who eventually were decapitated.

Publication Information



Presented on May 19, 2012 at the South American Archaeology Seminar held at University College London in London, UK.

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