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The Lost Woodlands of Ancient NascaA Case-study in Ecological and Cultural Collapse$
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David Beresford-Jones

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264768

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264768.001.0001

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(p.1) 1. Introduction
The Lost Woodlands of Ancient Nasca

David Beresford-Jones

British Academy

This introductory chapter first sets out the book's purpose, which is to present a new archaeological case for prehistoric human impact on the environment: a study of ecological and cultural change from the arid south coast of Peru, beginning around 700 bc and culminating in a collapse by about ad 1000. Its focus is the lower Ica Valley, today largely depopulated and bereft of cultivation, but whose abundant archaeological remains attest to substantial prehistoric occupations and thereby present a prima facie case for changed environmental conditions. This is a place of extreme environmental juxtaposition: one of the world's oldest and driest deserts, crossed by lush riverine oases, and sporadically impacted by El Niño floods or long droughts. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords:   cultural change, human impact, Peru, Ica Valley

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