1986: Peru

Venner worked a short season in northern Peru, surveying and excavating a Chimu village site, dating from the 10th to 12th centuries A.D. The project's goal was to determine if the village had been planned and built all at one time--something typical for the Chimu, who operated under a highly centralized and organized political system. The research demonstrated that the village was built all at one time.

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Sand Dunes
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The site

The site is located in  Peru's  extremely dry Atacama Desert. Here, not far from a small river, the Chimu had dug a series of canals and turned the barren desert into a verdant area for growing maize. The Chimu harvested the maize and fermented beer, which was shipped to the Chimu capitol city, Chan Chan. Interestingly, the modern-day citizens of Casma still make this corn-beer.

The field team lived an an adobe-built compound without running water. Meals were prepared in an outdoor kitchen. The town of Casma was small, its main street having only an open-air market, a couple restaurants and bars, a government building, church, and a school house.

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