I work at the site of Las Huacas, which is located in the heart of the Chincha Valley. The Chincha Valley is approximately 120 miles south of the city of Lima along Peru's Pacific coastline. In modern times, it is surrounded by agricultural fields and in the past it would have been the agricultural center of the region. Excavations at the site of Las Huacas have focused on the final prehispanic occupation when the region was part of the Inca Empire (AD 1400-1534), but the site was occupied since at least AD 200 and was occupied during the colonial period.
The Chincha polity held a powerful position in the Inca Empire and was known for its wealth and prestige. They were also known for their specialized economy which was composed of fisherman, farmers and merchants. In the historic records they are also described as talented silversmiths. The Inca incorporated the Chincha into their empire using diplomacy. At first the Inca gave gifts to the Chincha elites and asked for a small amount of land and labor to support the empire, but through time the Inca demands grew as they constructed imperial infrastructure, such as storehouses and roads. The excellent preservation at the site of Las Huacas and other Chincha Valley sites, such as the Chincha capital La Centinela, provide an opportunity to explore how Inca strategies changed overtime and understand the resiliency of local practices.
Due to the dry coastal environment, the site has excellent preservation and excavations have recovered a wide variety of material culture. Archaeological work at the site has provided opportunities for students from Peru and the United States to learn archaeology and advance their careers.
To understand the wide variety of material culture from the site I am collaborating with isotopic, aDNA, textile, metallurgical and ceramic specialist. The site of Las Huacas provides an opportunity to understand the history of the Chincha Valley and the Peruvian coast.