I am pleased to announce that I have begun the next phase of my research studying South American prehistory. With generous funding from National Geographic and the Curtiss T. & Mary G. Brennan Foundation I have launched the Caballete Archaeological Research Project (CARP).
CARP is envisioned as a multi-year scientific investigation dedicated to exploring the emergence of complex societies along the north central coast of Peru. During the Late Archaic Period (3000-1800 B.C.), the region witnessed dramatic cultural transformations including the construction of monumental ceremonial architecture. This research project is focused on the Late Archaic site of Caballete in the Fortaleza Valley.
Caballete is a located approximately 8 km from the Pacific coast. The site consists of six large platform mounds roughly oriented in a U-shape. Three of the mounds are associated with sunken circular courts.
Over the next few years, CARP and its team members will document the ancient architecture, reconstruct what occurred at the site, and interpret the role that religion and ceremonial performance may have served in the development of early Andean civilization. Our first field season (2015) is a joint effort with the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies to conduct a multi-sensory survey at Caballete. This research phase will involve kite aerial photogrammetry to map the site as well as ground-penetrating radar and magnetometry to identify 5,000-year-old buried architecture. These methodologies will help to pinpoint subsurface features (walls and floors) for more targeted excavations in the future.