The archaeological identification of an ancient Peruvian pilgrimage center

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Nasca society of the south coast of Peru has been interpreted as a small militaristic empire led from an urban capital called Cahuachi. Recent investigations, however, yielded no data in support of that reconstruction. Rather, excavations at Cahuachi revealed the site to be an empty ceremonial center with little evidence of a dense, permanent, domestic occupation. Yet, in the construction fills of the site’s many mounds, there is a quantity of refuse, including the remains of ritual paraphernalia and quotidian artifacts. The lack of permanent domestic settlement, but evidence of intensive site use, is explained by postulating episodic pilgrimage activities. This model is supported by comparison of Cahuachi’s spatial patterns and material remains to those found at other Central Andean pilgrimage centers, ancient and modern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalWorld Archaeology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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