(HYDRAULIC PREHISPANIC SYSTEMS ON THE PERUVIAN COASTAL VALLEYS: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY)

Attention: This comments on references in this page refer to the entries in the BIBLIOGRAPHY ON PREHISPANIC HYDRAULIC SYSTEMS ON THE PERUVIAN COASTAL VALLEYS.

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Unit of analysis
It has been quite common -and natural- to establish each valley as geographical and ecological unit as its limits are easily defined by divisory mountain ranges and the arid deserts separating them; in fact, coastal valleys are constantly used as the unit of analysis for regional surveys (cf. Proulx 1968, Willey 1951, Wilson 1987). This division, however, does not correspond to single cultural units as in several periods multiple valleys are bound in different polities and cultural traditions. As Moseley notes (1982:26) it was Kosok, in his several works, who defined the basic unit of irrigation as the single coast valley bounded by desert and fed by stream carrying Andean runoff. By Kosok's work we know also the existence of supra-valley irrigational systems (e.g., the Lambayeque Complex).

I limit the analysis of irrigational systems to an altitude level of approximatly 800-1000 m. where the canal intakes that water the plains are usually located. The canals used to irrigate the alluvial level usually occur at a range of 60 to 80 km. inland. The perception of these networks will be different as the geomorphological traits of the valley change, in the terms described below.

Ecological data and natural phenomena in the coast

The Peruvian coast is conformed by approximately 50 river drainage valleys, and some more dry quebradas of seasonal activity. There is one exception to the most common pattern of narrow valleys limited by the cordillera arms watered by a single water flow with an elongated and independent "delta" plain. In the valleys of the Lambayeque "Complex" (Kosok 1959) the arms of the cordillera are not reaching the shore line, leaving then the rivers to conform a wide plain, a "unified delta", and the largest irrigational plain in the coast (as Moseley mentions, it has one-third of the coast irrigable land). The extension of this alluvial plain has also exceptions. Most of them have narrow plains on both north and south banks; the Chancay river in the Lambayeque complex, the Jequetepeque and the Moche river do not have or have very limited south banks and their diverted flows may water the northern plain of the southern valley as in the Chancay to Zaña case or intervalley deserts.

The environmental setting of the irrigational systems will not vary greatly since we are concerned here similar alluvial plains, although the surrounding features as deserts, spinous forests or other features will be mentioned when they are relevant to each valley in relation to the systems. This last aspect may be related also, and this is important in the issues of systems of irrigation and their development, to the volume of the flow, periodicity of the flow, etc. This topic is related to what is called "risk and management" in order to establish resource maximization productivity with minimal risk against natural oscillations. In the features that define this strategy are included social relations (i.e. reciprocity); unfortunately, this aspect is not mentioned in extension as more of the debate and literature on the systems lies on technical aspects more than social or cultural features; of course there are some exceptions.

In the data we will see how some systems were constructed to cope with a certain kinds of risk, due to natural phenomena as El Niño current, rains, floods, earthquakes or droughts. In a separate part I will review the data presented on these natural causes for disruption of the systems. This topics will be also mentioned in part when a specific valley system is discused in these terms.

Hydraulic devices decribed here are not only related to systems with agricultural irrrigation purposes. As we are dealing in general with artificial water flow systems it is pertinent to include, in the few cases where data is available, the evidence of intrasite drainage systems and see how these are related to the principal branches of the networks (e.g. the function of the sunken pits of the Initial and Formative structures).

Prehistoric and modern "traditional" systems

There are two ethnographic works, Gillen (1947) and Hatch (1987), that have provided information on agricultural methods (i.e. canal maintanance, maize crop schedule, manpower data) that have been taken as a source of analogies for hypothetical reconstruction of prehispanic productivity (see Wilson 1987). The analysis of these techniques (see Eling 1987) are important to assess the character of risk management taken by the population and respond also to the resource availabilty for the construction of the systems.

What information is available?

As we will see there are valleys for which there is none or very few data on irrigation systems. Much information may be usually taken from regional surveys (cf. Proulx 1968, Willey 1951, Wilson 1987) where these features are recorded as occupational elements, however its use in the analysis may have different directions. Farrington (1974) indicates that Willey's work indeed identified the irrigational features but did not take them as a functional network, nor correlated directly sites and irrigation features (i.e. fields and canals).

Farrington (1974) introduces one of his papers dividing in four groups the studies made that far on irrigation:

(a) valley by valley descriptive and bibliographical surveys (cf. Sherbondy 1969);
(b) the study of specific valley by interpolation of modern data to the past with little consideration of hidraulics and importance of ancient systems;
© irrigation as a prime causal factor of development and nebulous relationship irrigation-bureaucratic management;
(d) works on settlement patterns that do not study water management per se but use them to interpret the data.

A fifth group will be a result of the investigations done since the 70's were hidraulic analysis of the canal portions were the evidence to interpret the functionment of the canal, and environmental factors have great importance as causes of collapse or failure. It has also been useful to interpret the cultural history of the networks through time and correlate their variation them with environmental or cultural causes. This work will surely fall in the first group as does the paper of J. Sherbondy. However, as stated above, the purpose of ours is to establish conclusions beyond the mere data to evaluate the advances of the investigations. As will be commented, Sherbondy's paper is a very fine reference index to all citations of valley irrigation features from the chronicle informations in the sixteenth century to Kosok's published work in the 60's.

Topics of debate

With Kus, Farrington and Moseley's research begins a period of technological analysis of the hidraulics of the systems and a thorough investigation of their feasability in prehistoric times. These investigators, and later the Pozorski's, will initiate a constant dialogue expressing their antagonistic opinions concerning the development of irrigation features of the Chicama and Moche valleys, and the development of the La Cumbre canal. American Antiquity is the vehicle for thuis debate. [the sequence of this debate is: Ortloff et al. 1982; Pozorski 1982; Farrington 1983; Ortloff et al. 1983 and Kus 1984]. The only other topic that suscitated different points of view and a debate, in the same journal, is the problem of the sunken fields (or mahamaes) in several valleys of the central coast, but mostly the Chilca Valley.

Commented references

Collier 1955. This is a presentation of a sociopolitical oriented sequence in which the evolution of irrigation occurs in the earlier periods. The Formative is a period of floodplain cultivation and later expansion of canal irrigation, lacking valley wide control. He mentions a population increase as consequence of intensive agriculture, and limitations (technological?) to agricultural expansion. During the Regional Florescence period, first existence of trans-valley systems (specifically for the Gallinazo period, although Moseley [....] believes this is too early) the use of guano as fertilizer and finally the construction of intervalley networks.
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Collier 1961. In this paper, Collier presents a general diachronic stage (Formative-Classic-Post Classic) oriented description of the growth of organizational complexity. The agriculture/irrigation systems reach their maturity in the Formative, as he doesn't mention it in later periods. Two important features: a comparison of the domestication/agriculture/pottery sequence of Mesoamerica and Peru, and an advise on the change of perception of maize as a key plant in early agriculture.
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Denevan 1970. These drainage systems, which funtion was to control the excess of water, were not built in the coast. It has been usually said that there is no excess of water in the coast, and that the systems were precisely looking for more flux of water through canal networks. Hoewver, in the same way that drained fields in the highlands were built in seasonal flood sensitive areas it may be thought that the same system could have been used in the coast. The answer is that those systems were located either in swamp area with variation of the level but constant presence of water located in areas with minimum run-off and down-slope movement.
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Denevan 1980. This paper provides a classification of methods of intensive cultivation and the geographical distribution of each based on the interrelated morphology and function variables; function is related to environmental, crop, population pressure and technological factors). The five groups are:
I. Slope modifications (i.e. terraces for water control and watering);
II. Deviation and conservation of water (irrigation) in which he considers overflow control (closed areas [Viru and Chilca valleys], water-table use, moisture conservation, irrigation canals (i.e galerias filtrantes of Nazca and reservoirs in Lomas);
III. Drainage (raised fields);
IV. Micromanagemment of soils (for water control, slope, etc.); and
V. Field limits.
   In its review it may be important to be aware of certain overlapping technical and functional types between the groups.
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Dellavaud 1984. The information presented in this book is more concerned with modern agricultural and climatic characteristics of the north coast valleys and is a good source for an analysis of variation in climatic features along the last decades.
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Donkin 1979. This important book only analyses highland irrigation systems as there is no terracing in the coastal valleys, according to the autor (see Lurin valley and surrounding areas for terracing structures).
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Farrington 1985. In this introduction, Farrington addresses the problem of agricultural intensification, that besides its increase in food productivity (or output effects) needs to grasp the diverse input causal mechanisms. He presents a table that proposes the factors and ways in which agricultural systems chage. Finally he mentions the difficulty to identify archaeologically intensive agriculture features; the factors behind changes are elusive and make the reconstruction of the cultural history of a valley a difficult task.
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Hunt and Hunt 1976. Although this work approaches the social organization (roles, hierarchies, etc.) of irrigation societies, and there is no case from Peru, it gives some ethnographic comparative data that is missing in some discusions on the relation of archaeological remains of canals and possible social organization (e.g. Moseley 1982). It suggests also the levels of analysis in the investigations of these systems in a discrete society.
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Kobori 1964. In this paper the author describes briefly irrigation systems from the coast, sierra and mountain. From the coast he describes one irrigation canal in Morrope and its several wells; he stresses the presence of salty waters well inland of which the dune vegetation is largely dependent. From Nasca he describes the puquio system a poses two questions, with no answers, on its functionment: how could they raise water temperature to irrigate fields an how did they avoid sand coverage of the system. In the comments its prehispanic invention or spanish introduction are discussed.
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Kelly 1983. This paper is an interesting overview of the range of intercation and use of the concept of irrigation in social, institutional and economic terms. This concept is then analyzed in terms of irrigation system, patterns of irrigation organization, centralization and cultural meaning of water and situations.
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Kosok 1965. This book constitued the travel report from his presence in Peru during the 40's. The core of the book is concerned with irrigation features (see Sherbondy 1969 for his referces) and the description of prehistoric landscape (i.e. architectonic features in their ecological context). In fact his observations were the hypothesis to be tested later by irrigation concerned projects, particularly irrigation-complex societies. He perceived the existence of valley systems called complexes: the Lambaqeyeque-Zaña-Jequetepeque, the Moche-Chicama, the Pativilca-Fortaleza-Supe, the Chillon-Rimac, and the Chincha-Pisco.
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Meigs 1968. There is a brief and concise description of the 'Northwest Peruvian Lowlands and Lomas', its geographical, climatic and botanical situation. The mention to the Lomas is important as a particular ecosystem with a different biosystem that permitted also a wide range of agricultural exploitation in very dry quebradas or slopes (see Sherbondy 1969 for chronicler's descriptions of Lomas).
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Ortloff 1989. A regression model is constructed for societies that maximize agricultural production on the following variables: for the X axis, temporal dimension, including climatic or geological events, canals in use; and for the Y axis, land under cultivation, spring flow rate, technical sophistication index, labor input. The direction of the curves may help to identify those adaptive 'strategies' (labor resources) that will meet the environmental challenges. The main point of the model is to explain the equation population rate of change = variables of hidraulic societies, where population dynamics are affected by parameters that affected agricultural production, and these are defined by the tempo of success of the technical innovations to cope with negative periods of water supply. Water is the driving force for population stability.
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Price 1971. This work id not related to technical aspects of the systems but rather their importance in the process of social complexity. The expalanatory framework presented here interrelates agricultural productivity, demography, internal dynamics, and assumes there is no single cause but degrees of each one of them. She states that while irrigation agriculture is inefficient without cooperation efforts, such cooperation may be stimulated, in certain geographic and demographic contexts, by other factors.
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Rostworowski 1981. The most important coastal productive areas are described here (ecological contexts as lomas, swamps, forests, salt mines; and activities as fishing) but there is no mention to desert ecology and its transformation to productive areas through irrigation works.
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Smith 1985. In a general review of the sunken field (mahamaes, puquios or hoyas) systems he mentions these exist in the Chicama, Moche, Santa, Lacramarca, Nepeña, Chilca, Asia, Pisco and Pescadores valleys, that 2000 out of 3500 Ha are currently cultivated, they are surrounded by midden debris and are of late ocurrence in time. They are located along the shore line but this depends on the water table, that needs to be relatively high ... to offset salinization. "Presuposing they are water seeking basins the exposure of water table in the coast to tropical sun would appear unrealistic in relation to salinization, but frequent fogs reduce evapotranspiration". The controversy stands in relation to the origin of the water from tables or floods (see Knapp 1983).
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Sherbondy 1969. This bibliographical account for references to irrigation systems in the coastal valleys was published before a great amount of work on the theme was being planned in the 70's. It is the most important source for references to chronicler's descriptions of andean canal features, to the traveler's observations and the multiple references from observers as Kosok and Horkheimer. Our work complements it as we analyze later publications, and it makes references to data that we do not cite as we concentrate on monographic analysis of irrigation.
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Zegarra 1978. This paper is an old fashioned description of several canal ocurrences with no specific data to analyze either technical or cultural aspects of irrigation.
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Browman 1987. A major point in this introduction is the perception of andean agricultural systems as coherent adaptations to natural oscillations. Those adaptations are understood as part of the risk management strategies that include (1) enhancing carrying capacity, (2) diversification of productive activities, (3) settlement patterns and spatial distribution, (4) social networks; and (5) special productive techniques.
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Druss 1987. This paper makes: (1) a review of the environmental uncertainties in the Andes [classifying them in short term: El Niño events; long term: holocene climatic fluctuations, including archaeological evidence of beach oscillations; and geomorphic uncertainties: vulcanism and earthquakes]; and, (2) a very brief review of andean land use patterns to confront those uncertainities (seasonal transhumance, herding, trade), that is what Browman calls risk management. There is no deep insights in the description of what he calls "planning in the face of uncertainty".
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Moseley 1983. This paper follows the same objective that in Moseley (1983) to describe the irrigation evolution in the Moche valley. This paper takes time to explain more clearly the Hypothesis of Agrarian Collapse (HAC) as a gradual tectonic movements affecting the irrigation systems. THe HAC premise says that social causality can never be proven until all potential sources of natural causality to endanger cultural achievements are first disproven. He considers social variability as the alternative premise. While he has not specific empirical data to prove the HAC, it is relevant that he only considers it in the La Cumbre canal and another unused canal and not in the other canals of the valley network.
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Moseley et al. 1981. This paper describes all the environmental phenomena that could affect the irrigation systems in the north coast (tectonics, surface composition, glaciation, eustatic changes, tsunami, Niño climate and current, water table and river etc.). and presents archaeological flooding for the site of Galindo.
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Prohaska 1973. This is a result from a periodic series of climatic observations that gave information about the vertical structure of the atmosphere over the coast, previously obscured in average climatic records. The shallowness of trade winds over Lima and the seasonal change in the intensity of winds circulation at different altitudes and their inversion type may complicate the explanations about aridity; they may be the main control of Peruvian Coastal climate and its atypical characteristics.
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Shimada el al. 1991. This paper analyzes the correlation of political events of the 6th century DC in the Andes and climatic features recorded on ice cores (i.e. the period of Moche capital change and the expansion of highland polity of Huari). In the introduction the authors mention previous archaeological correlations to climatic changes (Cardich, Paulsen [for the same period in south Ecuador], MacNeish et al., Menzel for Nazca and Schreiber [see Nasca drainage]). The stratified ice provides good evidence to postulate a succesion of pluvial and drought periods in that century. The droght from 563 to 594 AD is correlated to changes in the settlement locations from the valley plains to the valley necks in close contact with canal intakes; this change occurs also in south coast valleys. This ice data provides good evidence for climatic reconstruction for other periods too.
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Taltasse 1973. This paper describes briefly the unique phenomenon in these wide elevations along the coast, how they cannot have irrigation by gravity, but have a great potential to have wells to water their fertile lands.
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Brüning 1989. This facsimil edition of the four monographs published in the early 20's (Olmos; Jayanca; History of Lambayeque; Water reglamentation of the Taymi canal) describe the social and political organization of this area. There are few references to agricultural features (norias) in the Jayanca chapter and the reconstruction of the Taymi canal after the rains of 1578 and the contribution of the 'lords' of the area.
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Craig and Shimada 1986. This paper analizes the deep stratigraphy that is found in the middle La Leche valley alluvial plain close to the ceremonial complex area of the Middle Sicán period. They identify sucessive flooding events that may correspond to Niño events and that ocurred around 1000-1100 AD. This event, etnohistorically correlated to the arrival of god Naymlap, corresponds to the abandonment of the complex and the beginning of a new cultural period.
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Hatch 1986. This monograph and in particular chapter IV on irrigation and related tasks provides information on labor input for the cultivation of corn and the schedule of the process.
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Kosok 1959. This contribution makes a description of the features conforming the Lambayeque Complex and the irrigation network they help to structure. A main point in his observation is what Moseley (1984) will call "elevation increase", emphasizing the higher elevation of the Chancay river in the southern edge of the valley and its role as main feeder of canals running nortward and comparing the position of the Taymi canal in prehispanic, colonial and modern periods; the prehistoric one is located well above on the slopes of the elevations having then a farther reach and greater area coverage than the two others at the plain level. It is the best description of the whole network north of the Chancay; the network to the south, the Zaña valley, is less well tretaed.
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Nolan 1980. The survey of sites and the seven irrigation systems in this study was executed in the area of the Chancay and Reque rivers, located at the southern edge of the Lambayeque "complex", the Zaña river and their intervalley connections. Aside of a proper identification of the irrigation networks in and between these valleys there is an interest to correlate diachronically the settlements within the irrigation zones, an analysis of environmental and technological factors affecting (and favoring must be said) the systems, and not take these as ancillary features as he comments (p.119) for Willey (1953). The systems were defined on the assumption of the single offtake, they are widely described but badly represented in the maps.
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Trimborn 1979. The focus of the work is focused in three main sites in the valley: Apurlec, adjacent to the Motupe river to the north, and Túcume and Chotuna in the middle of the valley. Only the site of Apurlec is crossed diagonally by irrigation canals originated in the intakes of the Motupe; the site has been defined by many as an agricultural site. Along with this network, the site has clusters of squared walled courts of different sizes and at different height levels; those in the slope of the central hill are said to be irrigated by the water table. Finally there is a large rectangular wachaque (walk in well) in the site.
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Eling 1978. In this article Eling describes the route of the canal of Talambo, on the north bank of the valley, and its associations with several settlements. The main point is to question Farrington's (1974) opinion that the dominant settlement pattern is one of sites located out but close agricultural lands, and in this cases sites are located in potentially arable areas, interpreting a more strategic location with regard to the irrigation network.
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Eling 1986a. This work is concerned with the irrigation network located in the south bank, in the Pampa de Mojucape, an area affected by the alluvial fan of the Jequetepeque, the Quebrada de Cupisnique to the south and the presence of migrating sand dunes (6 m deposition); these phenomena affected the hydraulic evidence of agricultural activity, therefore having fragments of the network. It consists of a main aqueduct, most clearly feeding form the Jequetepeque, diverging in several minor canals. An interesting cultural feature is the "yardangs" are artificial platforms built for cultivation. (Correction by the author: "Yardangs" are football shaped remnants of an ancient field system that was created by flooding, from the Jequetepeque River through a canal system. Highly silt charged waters, eroded from the surrounding dunes, deposited about 1 cm per year of soil on the fields. I dated the remnants and the dates around 1100 AD (to be published). They area not artificial platforms; "Yardang" are a geomorphological term coined by the geologist Davis. The process began with the formation of sand dunes turning to sand drifts, then with irrigation using the sand drifts as a base; snad drifts became artificial in a geomorphological sense. Then they were abandoned, at which time they reverted to geomorphological processes. Yardangs are remnant structures left from previously irrigated fields. Since the sand from below the then irrigated field was removed by aeolian action (the support for the field) the blocks of previous fieldS broke off and were eroded by the saltating sand leaving an inverted stratigraphy.)
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Eling 1987a. In this paper Eling compares the efficiency, viability and long term technical future of the 'traditional' intake (boca toma) system and modern concrete intakes against cyclical floods of different magnitude generated by the El Niño phenomenon each summer. Although both are destroyed by floods, the 'traditional' boca tomas made on the spot are much more flexible to restore the flow of waters.
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Eling 1987b. Comment of the author: On the north bank almost nothing is left of what I described, the system is now arrozales.
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Ravines 1983. The data presented here is result of a emergency archaeological project before the construction of a dam in the valley. The final part of the report is concerned with the description of the Chimu period mid-valley irrigation network.
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Deeds et al. 1978. This paper presents the methodology used in the survey of the agricultural area north of Chan Chan and the factors for estimation of relative chronology. Also there is a brief and clear review of the historical process from Moche in the composition of canal network.
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Farrington 1974. In the introduction we cited the division of hidraulic works that Farrington proposes. The main point that Farrington tries to establish here is that there is no correlation between irrigation and social organization, but rather an association exists between irrigation and settlement patterns at least in its spatial dimension, totally independent of social organization. The settlement pattern is then a possible indication of social organization. The data presented here are related to political and organizational aspects and not technological data of the irrigational system.
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Farrington 1978. This paper follows basically the same line of the 1974 paper, however stating more clearly the main point is to challenge the hypothesis if coastal societies can be named 'hydraulic' in terms of Wittfogel definition. Finally, he concludes that there are no solid arguments for applying that label, since there are no evidences, or direct testimonies, of tight state control and apparently the land property and power over population by local lords was very diffuse.
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Farrington 1980a. This paper includes: (1) a description of the relations irrigation-social organization and irrigation-intensive agriculture; (2) presents a strategy for the open excavation of channels in a way to expose lining, bank in order to calculate velocity, roughness coefficient and critical flow; (3) a statement on the acute awarness of velocity and discharge relationship and importance of materials during prehistoric times. The cases treated are the Moche valley and the Cusichaca valley in the highlands.
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Farrington 1980b. This paper is introduced by a technical description of the hidraulics of open channels (and how to assess archaeologicaly the variables to calculate velocity, discharge etc.) and the hidrology of an irrigation system (balance between water transported and requirements of a certain agricultural area, including facts about the construction of the canal). He presents the calculations of water discharge made from excavations in the Vinchasao and Intervalle (or La Cumbre) canals. These excavations (his pown and others by Kus 1972) gave information also on the sequence of construction and the problems confronted by the systems as floods, erosion etc. The analysis confirms the B empirical knowledge of hidrology managed by the prehistoric population.
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Farrington 1983. The author does not agree with Ortloff et al. hydrological assumptions (i.e. considering harmful nonpermissible velocities and a permanent critical state) and the discharge estimations with no consideration of field requirements (this order of analysis may indeed be curious; see Farrington and Park 1978) and disagrees with the idea of tectonic uplift for its abandonment. In this paper Farrington proposes that the canal had a stable course with geometric variation according to the material they were constructed, designed according to the water flow needs of the state fields, with enough velocity to not permit excessive silting or allow plant growth. Its abandonment is consequence of "a large discharge flowing down a steep slope", meaning the problems with channel construction at its distal end.
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Farrington 1985. In his second paper of the volume he develops the relationship between prehistoric canal discharge and crop irrigation requirements established in the introduction. He develops the strategies of expansion and intensification in response to economic, socio-political and environment pressure in the Moche valley and illustrates it. In his assessment of the agricultural decision making processes he takes etnographic data from Gillin (Moche) and Hatch (Motupe) [as did Wilson 1988]. Following Kirkby (Oaxaca) he establishes a correlation between maize cob lenght and yield per hectare. Finally he presents the alternative strategies to the ideal state of water availability, sufficient yield and stable population.
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Farrington and Park 1978. Calculations of hydraulic properties (velocity and discharge) of the Vinchasao and La Cumbre canals are made on basis of cross sections and excavations, and on the calculation of the fields requirements in the Moche valley. They find that channel size is of the same magnitude as predicted from those requirements. Their analysis considers then the hydraulic properties, the existence of erosion and the how they managed to contro large discharges at steep gradients. For the Vinchasao case the wide canals resolved problems of erosion and mantained velocity below maximum; however in the Cumbre case they couldn't manage to make the last segement available for use.
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Keatinge 1974. This is not a paper related to irrigation infrastructure but rather with the architectonic associations to the canals conformed by the rural centers (Quebrada del Oso, Milagro San Jose, Cerro La Virgen and Quebrada Katuay) apparently in charge of the agricultural fields and the manutention of the irrigation systems. These sites are contemporary with the occupation of the site of Chan Chan.
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Kus 1972. This is certainly one of the first archaeological studies of irrigation features with the object to assess diachronicaly the development of the systems, specifically the Intervalley La Cumbre canal (Chicama to Moche valley). He located through the stratigraphic cuts evidence to assess the nature of the canal maintenance as draining the canal, dredging the accumulated silt and burning weeds along its borders. He found evidence of three modification phases, including changes in constructive techniques between the periods. He made also an important remark on the difficulty to establish the slope measurements form the cuts, basically due to recent uplifts events (see Farrington 1980 for these measurements). He also identified two large agricultural fields at a side and alimented by the canal in the Chicama valley area.
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Kus 1974. In this brief work, Kus tries to explain what were the factors available for the human settlement in Chan Chan: (1) large agricultural resource base; (2) transportation system [i.e. location of the site]; (3) domestic water supply; and (4) potential for irrigation and possibilities to mantain political strenght. He cites Price (see above) stressing the sociocultural effects of irrigation when geography and productive technology permit it.
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Kus 1978. This is a description of the main objective pursued by the analysis of the La Cumbre Intervalley canal: factors for its construction, spatial effects of its construction, its use for Chan Chan and positive relation to the water table.
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Kus 1980. The main point of this paper is stating the presence of state planification and bureaucracy (elite management) liying behind the planification, construction, maintenance and control of the irrigation networks during the Chimú period (see Farrington 1974 for contrasting opinion) based on a redistributive system based on obligatory labor. Four lines of evidence: orientation and limits of the fields are correlated with the extension of ceremonial centers (since the Formative period); absence of limiting walls in states owned fields and walled fields in non-state; design standarization of the furrows; and finally the administartive centers near canals or fields. He presents some data for the first line of evidence and scanty data for the other ones.
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Kus 1984. This is the last paper in the debate serie and in it Kus says (1) the reason for the construction of the canal may have been the environmental stress due to drought in the Moche valley: the drought was the cause for initiating the project and the end of it resulted in his abandonment; (2) it seems to have worked in limited manner (reaching the Quebrada del Oso but not beyond); and (3) does not consider the tectonic uplift theory as a prime factor in its abandonment, although he mentions it as a substantial factor seen in the coast, critizing then Farrington for its dismissal in slope calculations. The canal is a result of social pressure to cope with the environmental phenomena as is considered as a success.
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Moseley 1978. The concern in this paper is the agrarian collapse and shrinkage of cultivable lands since prehistoric times. He presents the natural phenomena, canal strategies employed and historical events as the invasion of the valley by the Incas as factors in this collapse; but the prime movers to it were the geological uplift, dune formations, and flooding.
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Moseley and Deeds 1982. This paper introduces two empirical and one theoretical principles in the development of irrigation systems: elevational increase and extension of features on one hand, and the assumption that water limitation favors the formation of a single valley polity; the Moche valley north bank clustered irrigated lands exemplifies this principle vs. the Chicama valley where water (and land) is not a limiting factor, and therefore has, in some periods, autonomous polities. The development of irrigational features is explained diacronically and the sequence of them is built with close look to site-canal-alluvial deposition associations. There are two important premises that suggest further discussion: (1) the consequences and the cultural management of the agrarian collapse (i.e. abandonment of lands; reconstruction and non reutilization of channels); and, (2) the organization of polities in correlation with irrigational features and the presentation of archaeological evidence.
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Moseley et al. 1983. Two principles explain the collapse: uplift of the coast causing slope changes and the El Niño phenomenon and its erosional effects. There is a concise description of the hydrological regime, river banks, water table and canal strategy in the coastal valleys. There is then a reconstruction of the sequence of growth and reduction of agricultural fields related to the enhancement and remodelations of the canal network (see interesting fig. 6); a classification of three types of canals based on cross section shape and construction techniques. The final part consists of a limitations of the data statement, where they mention direct evidence of river downcutting and El Niño phenomena, but the evidence for tectonic uplift, besides macro-data on the coast line, and its material correlates are still not known and stay at a level of hypothesis to explain. Of special care is the notion of "ongoing gradual process... punctuated by radical environmental change".
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Netherly 1984. This paper is based on the analysis of documents related to the land property in the first decades of colonial rule. With the use of analogy and some archaeological data the author tries to reconstruct the Chimu and Inca polities, specially with respect to irrigation systems. She proposes that there was not a centralized state bureaucracy (the evidence is no control structures associated to canals) to oversee hydraulic affairs and rather different political groups (parcialidades) were organized at different levels to accomplish those works, and supervise the maintenance and repair of canals, the distribution of water. The three types of canals (single-polity; multi-polity and Intervalley) are associated with different bounded sociopolitical groups.
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Ortloff 1980. This paper consists of two parts: (1) the analysis of the Intervalley (Chicama to Moche) La Cumbre canal, and (2) the agricultural fiels of Pampa Huanchaco, northeast of Chan Chan. Its main points are (1) the advanced irrigation technological knowledge of the Chimu; and (2) the direct evidence of centralized administration for the management and irrigation of lands. There is a description of the features, explanation of the technical measurements (mainly the critical aspects of a canal: capacity vs. actual carriage according to slope [profundidad normal vs. critica]) and the agricultural possibilities that the Cumbre canal , augmenting the water available form the Vinchasao canal, would have brought to Pampa Huanchaco; there is also a discusion on why some areas of the Pampa have never been used and a very detailed analysis of the growth and use of the several channels through time, based on slope measures and superposition features.
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Ortloff, Moseley and Feldman 1982. In this paper other aspects of the canal are analyzed: (1) the tectonic subduction of the Chicama-Moche watershed; (2) the possible changes in the canal slopes due to seismic and tectonic activities. There is the same description and technical measurements of the paper above; in this case they underline some interesting features of the system as "dams". Despite the engineering skills of the Chimu (having an optimum channel design and mantaining a subcritical flow), they postulate that the distal end of the canal was never completed, and the channel abandoned around 1400 AD (no evidence of silt accumulation); it may have served to irrigate intervalley areas but not the Chan Chan area. They stress on both the organizational aspects and the technical aspects consisting in the flexibility of the canal (multiple use strategies according to factors as climate, agricultural strategies, etc. see fig. 7 of alternative canal paths).
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Ortloff, Moseley and Feldman 1983. This paper is a reply to Pozorski's (1982) and Farrington (1983) "static" landscape hypotheses and a critic on their slope measurements (see fig.3; note Ortloff's slope). Still supporting tectonic causes "we must admit we have no incontrovertible evidence of tectonic movement affecting directly the Cumbre canal", although they make a point with a clearer example with canals of the Moche south bank and cases of other valleys. They also reafirm their opinion that the distal end of the canal never functioned and that it was abandoned at a certain moment.
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Ortloff, Moseley and Feldman 1985. The concern of this paper are the hidraulic characteristics of the intravalley canals and their evolution through time. A major point in the process of change is the gradual retraction of the area of irrigation due to the abandonment of the most sophisticated canals (those in the whose intake are in the upper low valley and have greater capacity and reach larger areas). They repeat here the tectonic factor and the abandoment or reconstruction of some canals are a defensive tactic to rely more on near-river systems. They present abundant cross-cut canal graphs and plans of the system.
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Pozorski 1982. There is a brief mention to the possibility that the intake and initial section of the Moro and Vinchasao canals were associated with this complex, and citing Farrington (1984) mentions their location away from arable land at the time of their construction. Moseley (1984) describes the evidence why these canals are possibly associated to this period.
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Pozorski and Pozorski 1982. The position of the authors is in opposition to Ortloff et al.: (1) they disprove the engineering skills of the Chimu since the canal never worked due to uphill slope errors; (2) there is no evidence of tectonic uplift affecting the canal during its construction or after to create those uphill segments; they are engineering errors consequence of the difficult topography; (3) they refuse to accept the nature of Ortloff et al. hydrological calculations; and (4) the canal is indeed a reflection of organizational power but not of hydraulic skills (i.e. concept of critical flow). Ortloff et al. made measurements in the Quebrada del Oso portion, the authors made them all along the canal course. In relation to the use of the canal they propose that no part of it ever carried water as a functioning canal, despite the documented "corrections" made in several points (Ortloff et al. postulate the upper reaches did function) based on the lack of lamination or sedimentation in middle areas as Oso; if there are they are not of water flow origin and rather of Niño origin.
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Topic and Topic 1980. This article is a brief description of the four types or water-related devices present in the area insidean and around Chan Chan: (1) agricultural fields; (2) walk in wells (wachaques); (3) two sunken fields in the urban core, the 'gardens'; and (4) the walled fields. There is some brief thoughts on the relation of these features with the living population and the function of types 2 and 3.
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Watson 1979. This study was concerned with the irrigation features in the north bank of the Chicama dominated by the Ascope Acueduct. These features stand alone as there is no correlation of ecological setting and other occupational sites in the valley; and he stresses also the difficulty to date the systems. He presents an unconvincing hypothesis of the acueduct functioning as a reservoir.
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Conrad 1978. Based on Willey's Viru valley data this paper analyzes the spatial distribution of sites based on the assumption of maximization of resources or minimization of effort for obtainement of resources. The factors used to define these aspects are (in ranked order): maximization of arable land available; minimization of agricultural effort; and mantainance of sociopolitical control. Unfortunately irrigation features are not taken in account even if they are an important feature to define those factors.
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West 1979. In this paper two areas of sunken fields are identified near the shoreline and are affiliated to the Early Intermediate period. Ethnographic observations of this kind of system show a wide range of non canal techniques that can be deployed involving greater or lesser degrees of superficial modification and labor investment depending on the depth of the phreatic cap. These kind of fields do not receive floodwater as Parsons and Psuty (1975) suggested. The difference in human occupation associated with both fields suggests a division of labor groups amomg farmers and fishers, the firsts being near the more complex area of fields.
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West 1981. This is a study of the modern systems of irrigation in the valley and an analysis on how they (canal irrigation, floowater, bucket irrigation, watertable farming and drained fields (sangrías, narrow and deep trenches over the plain to canalize waters, also reported by Pulgar Vidal in Pachacamac and the Nasca drainage) are correlated with economic status of the population and the risk management they allow. A specific case is made on the use of tubular wells (pumping water) by upper class sectors and their posibiliuty to cope with risks as droughts. Some references are made to the cost-benefit of canal irrigation systems (the case of prehistoric Moche with disruption of canals) and the possible risks of pumping water with regard to the watertable.
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Willey 1953. The data presented on irrigation features is restricted to their presence as a type of occupation and not correlated with settlements and organization of the land. Willey suggests that in the maximum period of occupation or population pressure and irrigation maximization other systems may need to have been invented, then acting in suplemental way; the mahamaes may have been more secure means of farming as they are not so dependant on water scarcity but are generally labor intensive features.
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Wilson 1988. The agricultural aspects of the Santa valley are of prime importance as Carneiro's environmental circumscription is esential in the thesis Wilson tries to challenge. Altogether with the description of the 11 main canals in the valley, he presents data on the modern canal network, modern crops and an estimation of prehispanic cultivation (10,489 vs. 11,307 Ha., respectively), although he make remarks on these calculations (as Moseley 1982:33). The irrigation networks, as reflections of the agricultural carrying capacity of the area, are used to define the boundaries of settlements. This aspect was confronted to the inter-cluster conflict hypothesis; finally, these clustered agricultural settlements were determined to not have been in warfare conflict (p.324).
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Proulx 1973. In the survey for identifications of sites of all the periods, only "the most obvious" irrigation features, that is canals, are recorde basically for the Middle Horizon period. There is then a brief description of the most impotannt canals, with no association with the occupation sites.
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Moseley 1974. The cultural features of the Late Preceramic and Initial period sites in the Ancon-Chillon Valley are the basis for this paper. He stresses the change in settlement location of the monumental constructions from coastal areas to mid-valley locations where flood water agriculture could be practiced. He proposes that canal irrigation begins in 1750 BC and that principles of cultivation along with knowledge of suitable cultigens pre-existed the systems. He sees also that the demographic growth precipitated commitement to a more casual farming in certain maritime settlements.
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Burger 1987. In the excavation of architectural features in the U-shaped monument of Cardal, the sunken pits were a topic of interest. Williams interpreted this feature in Cardal as water reservoirs interconnected. The excavations showed no trace of water disturbance.
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Benfer, Weir, and Ojeda 1987. The fields mentioned here are apparently of the preceramic period near the site of Paloma and the lomas slopes. These correspond to a new identified type called huertas that capture the fog condensation. There is a description of the previously identified systems: hoyadas or sunken fields, melgas or runoff fields, maceteros or stone-lined pits, andenes or terraces. The huertas area small rectangular plots with raised borders (very similar to melgas). There is no large evidence of pollen remains in its interior and the drainage evidence is not clear. Similar devices have been found in the northern area of Lomas de Malanche and Masuda (1985, Andean Ecology and Civilization ...) describes them for Moquegua for drying purposes. The evidence is still unclear for the function of these structures. Interestingly enough, they consider Knapp, and Parsons and Psuty papers (see below) but not those of Smith (see below).
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Moseley 1969. This paper is a reply to the propositions presented by Parsons (1968; see below). Rather he mentions there is no evidence to suggest they used are before irrigation systems; there is no association of preceramic-early Formative sites with mahamaes; some of these sites are not located in relation to arable land; their location of mahamaes.
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Mujica 1987. This work in the Quebrada de Malanche south of the Lurin Valley had two interests: identifying and mapping settlements in this seasonally desertic environment (Mujica) and analyzing irrigational features as furrow fields watered through stone channels with fog water condensation (Farrington). This paper is a presentation of the former part of the project.
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Ojeda 1987. These hoyas, densely located parallel to the shoreline, are identified as prehispanic considering the chronicle evidence of their use before the conquest. There is a desciption of their building process and their stratigraphy in relation to important features as the water table. There is no such conclusive argument but most of the hoyas appear to be irrigated by what he mentions is 'hydrostatic pressure'.
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Parsons 1968. Using evidence from Chan Chan and Chilca to propose that mahamaes would have been: (1) capable of supporting large populations; (2) important in early stages of the agricultural proccess (even preceramic) and be secondary to marine resources; (3) supplement to primary dependence on canal irrigation. Moseley (969) replies to two of these assumptions.
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Rowe 1969. This article stresses technical characteristics of the system and its occurrence, chronicle references to them and the ethimology of its different names. He denies generally high water table ocurrences in the coast (nearness to the sea is not obligatory) and stresses the serious problems of salinization in the system. He mentions that highwater table occurs (1) along a natural drainage where supply of water cannot mantain a river (Chilca and Villacuri) anmd (2) when surplus irrigation water approaches surface at the lower end of a system of canal irrigation but does not reach it because of dunes or high laid (Chan Chan, Viru and Santa).
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Gonzalez Garcia 1978. This is an old fashioned and definitly engeneering point of view of archaeological remains. The main importance resides in the description of these very particular underground canals. These consist od five parts: a source point, an underground canal with "eyes" and a few chambers, then an open channel that finishes in a storage tank; from here smaller canals (acequias) went to irrigate the fields.
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Trimborn 1975. There is only one site in the Sama valley, Lluta, that presents irrigational features, although the site is located in the upper valley (1600 m.) The group consists of terraces located up-slope from the river to the site; between terraces and site there is the main canal that irrigates the fields; and interesting feature is the angle of the terraces thta would not easily prevent retention of water.
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Tiwanaku and Andean Archaeology
Copyright © 1998-01, Alvaro Higueras. Derechos Reservados/All rights reserved.
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URL of this document: http://www.tiwanakuarcheo.net/1_main/hydrauliccomm.html
Revised: 29 May 1999.
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