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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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The South Coast Desert

The South Coast Desert

(p.8) (p.9) 2. The South Coast Desert
The Lost Woodlands of Ancient Nasca

David Beresford-Jones

British Academy

This chapter describes the area of interest — the basins of the lower Ica Valley on the Peruvian south coast — which lies within one of the world's oldest and driest deserts. It starts by examining the causes of that desert's age and extreme aridity. It distinguishes the climate, geology, geomorphology, and hydrology of the south coast from the rest of the Peruvian coast. It goes on to explore those peculiarities of the south coast since they underlie the particular sensitivity of its human ecology. It also shows how our archaeological impressions of the south coast's ‘limitations’ are coloured by the effects of long human impact. In fact — thanks to those factors of climate and geomorphology explored here — its riparian valleys are among the most potentially productive in the world.

Keywords:   Ica Valley, Peru, deserts, human ecology, human impact, riparian valleys

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