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Nivín Archaeological Project Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológica Nivín (PIAN)

Location: Casma, Ancash, Peru

May 26, 2017 to July 24, 2017

Session dates: 
Session 1: May 26 – June 24 (4 weeks) Session 2: June 26 – July 24 (4 weeks)

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Deadline Type: 
Exact date

Flyer: PDF icon pian_2017.pdf

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified


Project Director:

Elizabeth K. Cruzado Carranza, Ph.D. Student, Louisiana State University Dr. Robert Connolly, co-PI, Louisiana State University

Project Description

The Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológica Nivín (PIAN) is an archaeological field project that aims to clarify the cultural affiliations of the groups that occupied the middle branch of the Casma Valley, from the Early Horizon (900 B.C.) to the Middle Horizon Periods (AD. 1000).  The project is located in coastal Ancash, 23km east of the city of Casma.


The Casma Valley is famous for its early ceremonial centers, mainly built during the Initial Period. Those centers attracted the attention of early archaeologists and explorers and have been the subject of sustained fieldwork primarily in the Sechín Branch of the valley. Meanwhile, the cultural sequence for the Early Horizon and Early Intermediate periods remain elusive, particularly for the Moche phase. Wilson designated Nivín as the name for the Moche phase in the Casma Valley. The southernmost monumental center with Moche style public art known today is located in the Nepeña Valley. The fieldwork and material analysis in Nivín will provide information to determine the continuous human occupation of past groups, subsistence, and consumption patterns.


PIAN explores the potential of the Casma Valley as a frontier for the Southern Moche state. Also, this project aims to examine the material expressions of cultural identity in the Nivín region and focuses on the ways local groups articulated their artistic practices with broader sociopolitical phenomena including the Moche.

Period(s) of Occupation: Early Horizon (500 B.C.) to Middle Horizon (A.D. 1400)

PIAN project aims to understand the cultural affiliation of the groups that occupied the middle branch of the Casma Valley from the Early Horizon to the Middle Horizon Periods. Field goals include to map the sites, conduct pedestrian survey, excavate test units, analyze artifacts, and obtain samples for radiocarbon dating, During weekends participants will have the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about the culture of the Casma Valley. Also, this project aims to work with the school museum of Nivín. We will work with the high school students in the renovation of some spaces of the museum, inventory of the artifacts, and share with the community the importance of the preservation of their cultural heritage.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 4 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
No experience required

Room and Board Arrangements

Room and board will be arranged for participants. Living accommodations will be basic in the city of Casma. We will have running water and electricity; internet access is not guaranteed, but there are many internet cafes in the city. The city of Casma is about 50 minute drive from the Nivín community. Participants must be willing to share quarters with others (including Peruvian archaeologists), and have a general attitude of cooperation.


Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Louisiana State University (by enrolling in an Independent Study Class)
Number of credits offered TBA
Tuition not included


Contact Information
Elizabeth Cruzado
Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Baton Rouge
United States
Recommended Bibliography: 

Bria, Rebecca; and Elizabeth Cruzado

2015    Making the Past Relevant: Co-Creative Approaches to Heritage Preservation and Community Development at Hualcayán, Ancash, Perú. Advances in Archaeological Practice, 3 (3), pp. 208 – 222. The Society for American Archaeology.


Ghezzi, Ivan; and Clive Ruggles

2007    Chankillo: A 2300-Year-Old Solar Observatory in Coastal Peru. Science 315(5816):1239-1243.


Koschmieder, Klaus

2011    Estrategias de subsistencia en la periferia sur del imperio Chimú: el caso de Puerto Pobre, valle de Casma. Arqueología de la Costa de Ancash, edited by M. Giersz and I. Ghezzi. ANDES Boletín del Centro de Estudios Precolombinos de la Universidad de Varsovia 8:331-372. Centro de Estudios Precolombinos de la Universidad de Varsovia, Warsaw.


Mackey, Carol; and Alexandra Klymyshyn

1990    The Southern Frontier of the Chimu Empire. The Northern Dynasties: Kingship and Statecraft in Chimor. A Symposium at Dumbarton Oaks, 12th and 13th October 1985, edited by Michael Moseley and Alana Cordy-Collins, pp. 195-206. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C.


Moseley, Michael

2001    The Inca and Their Ancestors: The Archaeology of Peru. Revised edition. Thames and Hudson, London.


Pozorski, Shelia; and Thomas Pozorski

1987    Early Settlement and Subsistence in the Casma Valley, Peru. University of Iowa Press, Iowa City.


2006    Discoveries of Moche Ceramics in the Casma Valley, Peru. Ñawpa Pacha 28(1):129-140.


Vogel, Melissa

2012    Frontier Life in Ancient Peru: The Archaeology of Cerro La Cruz. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.


2016    The Casma City of El Purgatorio. Ancient Urbanism in the Andes. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.


Wilson, David

1995    Prehispanic Settlement Patterns in the Casma Valley, North Coast of Peru: Preliminary Results to Date. Journal of Steward Anthropological Society 23(1/2):189-227.