The South Coast Desert

David Beresford-Jones

in The Lost Woodlands of Ancient Nasca

Published by British Academy

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264768
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754005 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs

The South Coast Desert

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  • Prehistoric Archaeology


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This chapter describes the area of interest — the basins of the lower Ica Valley on the Peruvian south coast — which lies within one of the world's oldest and driest deserts. It starts by examining the causes of that desert's age and extreme aridity. It distinguishes the climate, geology, geomorphology, and hydrology of the south coast from the rest of the Peruvian coast. It goes on to explore those peculiarities of the south coast since they underlie the particular sensitivity of its human ecology. It also shows how our archaeological impressions of the south coast's ‘limitations’ are coloured by the effects of long human impact. In fact — thanks to those factors of climate and geomorphology explored here — its riparian valleys are among the most potentially productive in the world.

Keywords: Ica Valley; Peru; deserts; human ecology; human impact; riparian valleys

Chapter.  6975 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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