Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

Landscapes, Politics and Environmental Change in Early Modern Peru

Parker VanValkenburgh

Archaeologist Parker VanValkenburgh's research focuses on landscapes, politics, and environmental change in Peru in the Early Modern World.


The Proyecto Arqueológico Zaña Colonial (PAZC) has investigated the impacts and legacies of Spanish colonial forced resettlement on indigenous people in Peru's North Coast region and the entanglement of polities, populations, and environments between the 12th and 20th centuries CE. VanValkenburgh and colleagues employ a spectrum of tools and perspectives drawn from archaeology and the earth sciences, including pedestrian archaeological survey, satellite remote sensing, geophysical survey, excavations, archival research, zooarchaeology, paleoethnobotany, and stable isotope analysis. The project been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Geographic Society, and the Wenner-Gren foundation, among other sources.

The Paisajes Arqueológicos de Chachapoyas (PACha) project began in 2017 with the goal of understanding long-term processes of urbanzation, agricultural intensification, and landscape change in the upper Amazon Basin of Peru. In particular, the team is interested in modeling how major political and population transitions in the 15th through 18th centuries impacted land cover and in understanding the legacies of prehispanic landesque capital (particularly terracing and soil enrichment) for modern farming regimes. The project has been supported by the National Geographic Society, the Digital Globe Foundation, the Tandem-X science foundation, and Brown's Social Science Research Institute.

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