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The Forgotten Landscapes of the Peruvian North Coast: Cupisnique, Moche, and Chimu Peripheral Occupation

Ari Caramanica, Harvard University, Tyler Fellow 2016–2018

I was fortunate to have two years to conduct research and carry out a digitization project related to my dissertation research. My research draws on both Pre-Columbian and landscape scholarship by reconstructing the human ecodynamics of an ancient agricultural landscape known as the Pampa de Mocan, just outside the Chicama Valley on the north coast of Peru. I relied heavily on the library resources at Dumbarton Oaks, but also spent profitable time in the Rare Book Reading Room. I drew on several key sources that inspired a chapter of my dissertation. These included ethnologies and colonial dictionaries, which recorded local place names and toponyms. Using these data, I planned a final stage of field research in colonial archives in Peru and partially reconstructed the ancient geography of my area of interest. Over the course of my fellowship, I published one peer-reviewed article and completed and defended my PhD dissertation. Finally, as part of my fellowship, I collaborated with ICFA staff to launch an online database of the Christopher B. Donnan and Donna McClelland Moche Archive.