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The Nasca

The Nasca

Paperback Peoples of America

By (author) Helaine Silverman, By (author) Prof Donald Proulx

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  • Publisher: BLACKWELL PUBLISHERS
  • Format: Paperback | 339 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 226mm x 26mm | 662g
  • Publication date: 8 March 2002
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0631232249
  • ISBN 13: 9780631232247
  • Illustrations note: b/w pls and figs
  • Sales rank: 680,226

Product description

Ancient Nasca culture of the south coast of Peru is famous for its magnificent polychrome ceramics, textiles, and other works of art, as well as the enigmatic ground markings on the desert plain at Nasca. In the past two decades much has become known about the people who produced these fascinating works. This scholarly yet accessible book provides a penetrating examination of this important civilization. It traces the history of archaeological research on the south coast and reveals the misconceptions that became canonized in the scholarly literature. Based on years of fieldwork by the authors in the region, it provides a comprehensive and readable analysis of ancient Nasca society, examining Nasca social and political organization, religion, and art. The highlight for many readers will be the chapter on the Nazca Lines which debunks Erich von D'niken's contention that the desert markings were made by extraterrestrials. This well-illustrated, concise text will serve as a benchmark study of the Nasca people and culture for years to come.

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Author information

Helaine Silverman is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Cahuachi in the Ancient Nasca World (1993) and Ancient Peruvian Art: An Annotated Bibliography (1996) Donald Proulx is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is the author of several research reports including Archaeological Investigations in the Nepena Valley, Peru (1973) and An Analysis of the Early Cultural Sequence in the Nepena Valley, Peru (1985).

Review quote

"An outstanding contribution to the field of Andean archaeology. This book is the most comprehensive treatment of the Nasca available and is a must read for any person interested in the origins of complex societies in South America and beyond." Charles Stanish, University of California, Los Angeles "Preposterous but popular arguments that the enigmatic Nazca Lines were created by extraterrestrials detract from appreciation of Native American culture, making an entertaining and scholarly archaeology of ancient Nasca civilization especially pertinent. Silverman and Proulx have written exactly the right book. A formidable pair of scholars, erudite while engaging, they present an almost encyclopaedic account of what is known about Nasca without ever failing to fascinate. This is an excellent book for scholars, students, and for educated general readers. It represents a real contribution to knowledge about Native American civilization." William H. Isbell, State University of New York at Binghamton "This is the first book to discuss, in depth, the culture of the Nasca, which not only produced monumental works, but whose society flourished in seven river valleysfrom Chincha to Chala. The 11 chapters, written by the two foremost scholars of Nasca archaeology, present an up-to-date synthesis of what is known of Nasca society between 150BCE and 800CE." Choice, Nov. 2002 "The Nasca can be recommended as the only comprehensive overview of its subject, and it is hoped that it will stimulate the programme of research badly needed to put to the test the plethora of ideas advanced in it." Journal of Latin American Studies "Andeanists should welcome this addition to the series devoted to single prehistoric societies ... much will be of considerable interest to both specialists and students, as well as the general public ... the book is a feast for all." Dwight T. Wallace, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute "This book consolidates some hundred years of scholarship, since Max Uhle first sought out these pre-Inca people in 1901." British Bulletin of Publications, October 2003

Back cover copy

Ancient Nasca culture of the south coast of Peru is famous for its magnificent polychrome ceramics, textiles, and other works of art, as well as the enigmatic ground markings on the desert plain at Nasca. In the past two decades much has become known about the people who produced these fascinating works. This scholarly yet accessible book provides a penetrating examination of this important civilization. It traces the history of archaeological research on the south coast and reveals the misconceptions that became canonized in the scholarly literature. Based on years of fieldwork by the authors in the region, it provides a comprehensive and readable analysis of ancient Nasca society, examining Nasca social and political organization, religion, and art. The highlight for many readers will be the chapter on the Nazca Lines which debunks Erich von D'niken's contention that the desert markings were made by extraterrestrials. This well-illustrated, concise text will serve as a benchmark study of the Nasca people and culture for years to come.

Table of contents

Preface. Acknowledgments. 1. From Pots to People. 2. Emergence and Evolution of the Nasca Ceramic Tradition. 3. Life in the Desert. 4. We, the Nasca. 5. The Inhibited Landscape. 6. Symbolic Expressions of the Natural and Supernatural World. 7. The Geoglyphs of the Rio Grande de Nazca Drainage. 8. Religion and Ritual. 9. Headhunting and Warfare. 10. Nasca Sociopolitical Organization. 11. After Nasca. Bibliography. Index.