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Paleoclimate, Water Use and Environmental Phenomena in Ancient Peru and Their Contemporary Impacts

First International Workshop

Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, Peru

28 Jan - 1 Feb 2019

Support by The British Council and Newton Fund (Researcher Links programme) enabled the 'First International Workshop on Paleoclimate, Water Use and Environmental Phenomena in Ancient Peru and Their Contemporary Impacts'. Peru's CONCYTEC and Universidad Nacional de Trujillo and the UK's Sainsbury Research Unit (University of East Anglia, Norwich) provided additional support. 

Organised by Dr George Lau (SRU/UEA) and Dr Gabriel Prieto (Universidad Nacional de Trujillo), the five day event was held in Trujillo, Peru, and hosted 32 scholars (38 overall) to examine the crucial role of water in the Andean past and present, especially in northern Peru. The Peruvian and UK group supported by the grant, including those in DEV and SRU, were joined by scholars from EU, and North and South American countries.

The schedule included brief presentations, discussions, workgroups and guided excursions to local archaeological sites. Sessions centred on ancient-traditional practices of the coast vs. highlands; proxy data in paleoclimate and environmental sciences; water in urban settings, governance and development. Additional themes included: erosion; heritage conservation; fishing; and development projects monitoring. Coverage explored past hydraulic technologies (e.g. raised field agriculture, water/silt dams, irrigation and filtration systems, terracing) and their potential in ensuring resources and livelihoods in the futures.

By emphasizing new scholarship and networking between Early Career Researcher delegates, the event also laid the foundations for developing collaborative projects and formal institutional links between UEA and UNT and other institutions in Peru.

See the original call for papers below or read more on the conference here

Workshop group at the archaeological site of Huaca de la Luna, Moche Valley, Peru

Call for workshop participants

(Trujillo, Peru - 28 -31 January 2019)

Organised by Dr George Lau (SRU/UEA) and Dr Gabriel Prieto (Universidad Nacional de Trujillo)

In spite of its unforgiving landscape and climatic and environmental challenges, ancient Peru was a heartland of Pre-Columbian civilisation. Its people flourished due to technologies and organisational systems which ensured access to vital resources, especially water. This workshop highlights this record of past cultural solutions and their relevance for contemporary practices in northern Peru. The workshop will: 1) survey evidence of severe climatic activity, resource stress and adaptations through time; and 2) begin interdisciplinary dialogues to see if, and how, the past can help inform the future. 

The workshop is especially timely, given recent extreme climatic events, and the need to reflect on current studies to examine their wider joined-up relevance today. The workshop is a unique opportunity to share knowledge between disciplines that do not customarily interact, particularly in Peru. Diverse experts (archaeology, history, development, environmental sciences) and government representatives are to detail and discuss past technologies (material and social), emphasising water use and management. We are now invititing Early Career Researchers from the UK or Peru to apply to attend this workshop. Travel and accommodation expenses are to be covered by the Newton Paulet Fund Researcher Links programme.