El Niño resilience farming on the north coast of Peru

Ari Caramanica, Luis Huaman Mesia, Claudia R. Morales, Gary Huckleberry, Luis Jaime Castillo B., Jeffrey Quilter

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículo de revista revisión exhaustiva

25 Citas (Scopus)


El Niño-Southern Oscillation has been treated as a disruptor of environmental and socioeconomic equilibrium both in ancient times and in modern-day Peru. Recent work in the coastal desert plain, known as the Pampa de Mocan, challenges this view by demonstrating that prehispanic irrigation systems were designed to incorporate floods and convert them into productive waters. Archaeological investigations in this landscape reveal a 2,000-y history of floodwater farming embedded in conventional canal systems. Together with a pollen record recovered from a prehispanic well, these data suggest that the Pampa de Mocan was a flexible landscape, capable of taking advantage of El Niño floodwaters as well as river water. In sharp contrast to modern-day flood mitigation efforts, ancient farmers used floodwaters to develop otherwise marginal landscapes, such as the Pampa de Mocan, which in turn mitigated risk during El Niño years. These archaeological data speak to contemporary policy debates in the face of increasingly intense and frequent natural disasters and question whether El Niño Southern Oscillation events should be approached as a form of temporary disorder or as a form of periodic abundance.
Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)24127-24137
Número de páginas11
PublicaciónProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
EstadoPublicada - 29 set. 2020

Nota bibliográfica

Funding Information:
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. We thank the many individuals and institutions that provided support for this research, including the National Science Foundation, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, and the Anthropology Department of Harvard University, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, the University of Arizona, the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and the Universidad del Pacífico. Special thanks to John Yellen and Anna Kerttula de Echave, Carlos Wester, Jorge Wester, Luis Alberto Sanchez Saavedra, Solsire Cusicanqui Marsano, Ana Tavera Carito Medina, Enrique Estrada Mariluz, Roxana Tornero, Fiorella Villanueva Rojas, Ger-aldine Borja, Gabriel Prieto, Noa Corcoran-Tadd, Michele Koons, Yadira Rivera, Marianne Fritz, and Linda Ordogh. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, Long Term Human Ecodynamics in Coastal Peru: A Case Study of Polar-Tropical Teleconnections, Award 1152156, 2011-2016; and the National Science Foundation (Archaeology Program), Characterizing El Niño Runoff and Sedimentation in Small Drainage Basins along the North Peruvian Coast: A Case Study in Geoarch-aeology, Award RAPID Grant, 1611881 ($18,333), 2015.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


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