Paleoenvironmental catastrophies on the Peruvian coast revealed in lagoon sediment cores from Pachacamac

Barbara M. Winsborough, Izumi Shimada, Lee Ann Newsom, John G. Jones, Rafael A. Segura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Paleoenvironmental reconstruction combining data from diatom, pollen, macrophytic, and archaeological analyses had not been attempted previously for coastal Peru. We analyzed two radiocarbon-dated sediment cores extracted from the " sacred" Urpi Kocha Lagoon at the pre-Hispanic religious center of Pachacamac (ca. AD 350-1533), near Lima, to characterize the paleoenvironment of the site. The data reveal an environmental history characterized by alternating periods of severe drought and catastrophic flood. Recurrent pulses with distinctive sediment, diatom, pollen, and macrophytic characteristics reflecting variations in water depth, substrate, turbidity and salinity, usually contain a thick basal sandy storm deposit overlain by thin organic accumulations of peat, gyttja, and snails. The most intense of these disturbance pulses, when correlated with pollen, plant macrofossils, radiocarbon dates, and regional proxy data, provide local evidence of four major floods associated with sustained, catastrophic El Niño events, tsunamis and/or severe storms in the Andean highlands over the last 2000 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-614
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Fingerprint

natural disaster
Peru
drought
reconstruction
water
event
history
evidence
Sediment
Coast
Pollen
Lagoon
Diatoms
Pulse
Radiocarbon
Archaeology
Peat
Highlands
Religion
Tsunami

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

Cite this

Winsborough, Barbara M. ; Shimada, Izumi ; Newsom, Lee Ann ; Jones, John G. ; Segura, Rafael A. / Paleoenvironmental catastrophies on the Peruvian coast revealed in lagoon sediment cores from Pachacamac. In: Journal of Archaeological Science. 2012 ; Vol. 39, No. 3. pp. 602-614.
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Paleoenvironmental catastrophies on the Peruvian coast revealed in lagoon sediment cores from Pachacamac. / Winsborough, Barbara M.; Shimada, Izumi; Newsom, Lee Ann; Jones, John G.; Segura, Rafael A.

In: Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 39, No. 3, 01.01.2012, p. 602-614.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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