Putting the Tree Back into the Landscape

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

Putting the Tree Back into the Landscape

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This book began with the archaeology of the Ullujaya and Samaca basins of the lower Ica Valley on the south coast of Peru. The archaeological investigations described here were undertaken to answer the following questions. Were these basins ever significantly more productive and vegetated landscapes? If so, when and how did change take place, and why? And how did these ecological and landscape changes correlate with cultural ones? The second part of the book conducted a thorough review of the botanical and agroforestry literature, together with the researchers' own observations, on the ecological keystone species of the region, the huarango — a tree of the genus Prosopis — to show how important a role this genus plays in the desert ecosystem of the south coast of Peru. This concluding chapter seeks to achieve a synthesis between these two parts to offer answers to those aforementioned questions posed by today's austere landscape of the lower Ica Valley. In so doing, it proposes a model for geomorphological, ecological, and land-use changes through time for the basins of the lower Ica Valley. It also aims to relate this model to cultural trajectories.

Keywords: archaeology; Ullujaya; Samaca; Ica Valley; Prosopis; ecology

Chapter.  14185 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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