Nasca society arose on the south coast of Peru two thousand years ago and evolved over the course of the next seven hundred years. Helaine Silverman's long-term, multistage work on the south coast of Peru has established her as one of the world's preeminent authorities on this brilliant and enigmatic civilization. Ancient Nasca Settlement and Society is the first extended treatment of the range of sites occupied by the people responsible for some of the most exquisite art, largest ground drawings, most intense hunting of human heads as trophies, and most ingenious hydraulic engineering of the pre-Columbian world.
Ancient Nasca Settlement and Society is based on Silverman's comprehensive survey of the Ingenio Valley, a water-rich tributary of the Río Grande de Nazca drainage; it also includes a critical synthesis of the settlement pattern data from the other river valleys of the system maps and tables, Silverman allows comparisons among the various phases of change in Nasca society. A companion CD-ROM provides a great deal of graphic material and allows users to manipulate the data in alternative scenarios.
Silverman situates the various classes of Nasca material culture within the spatial, social, economic, political, and ideological realities that can be adduced from the archaeological record. A work of archaeo-logical ethnography focused on a once-living society, this convincing and highly original book illuminates the ancient Nasca people's social construction of space and cultural meaning through their manipulation of their natural setting and their creation of particular kinds of built environments.
“This pathbreaking book provides a much needed regional perspective on ancient Nasca society. It nicely complements existing site-specific studies and effectively applies concepts of agency, heterarchy, and landscape to a massive body of new archaeological data. Because Silverman challenges some now-traditional approaches, her work helps orient productive debate among scholars who seek to refine the interpretation of spatial patterning at the regional level.”—J. R. Parsons, professor of anthropology, University of Michigan