Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Marcela Poirier

Committee Chair

Kevin J. Vaugh

Committee Member 1

Kory H. Cooper

Committee Member 2

Ian Lindsay


The Goal of this MS thesis is to contribute to the understanding of compositional variability in ceramics of the Southern Nasca Region. A total of 99 ceramic sherds from two las Trancas Valley sites (Santa Luisa and Higosñoc) underwent INAA. This study brings temporal depth to previous compositional studies and adds new information that helps with the understanding of the political economy of this region. The hypothesis proposed is that there will be compositional variability before and after Early Nasca, during the Early Intermediate period (1-750 CE). The theoretical approaches used to inform my hypothesis include political economy and behavioral archaeology. These were used to understand political strategies used by elites to distribute symbolic objects and to understand the cultural factors that are involved in the production of ceramic vessels. The results confirm previous research that suggests centralized production during Early Nasca (1-450CE) and decentralized production prior and post the Early Intermediate Period. These assumptions are reached based on the compositional variability found within these time periods. Results also suggest continuation of homogeneity after Early Nasca, into Middle and Late Nasca, correlating with hypothesized centralized production in these time periods, and decentralized production prior to and after the Early Intermediate Period (1-750 CE) The results from this study added with previous studies reveal a technological tradition that began before Cahuachi reached its apogee and continued throughout the Late Horizon, almost a thousand years late.