Frontier Life in Ancient Peru
The Archaeology of Cerro la Cruz

Melissa A. Vogel

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"Thorough studies such as this are relatively rare in the northern Peruvian coast archaeological literature. This pioneering work is the first English-language excavation monograph detailing the material culture of the Casma polity."--Jonathan D. Kent, Metropolitan State College, Denver

Melissa Vogel's Frontier Life in Ancient Peru offers a new perspective on ancient Peruvian life and geopolitics during a pivotal period of Andean cultural transformation between AD 900 and AD 1300. Focusing on the frontier site of Cerro la Cruz in the Chao Valley (located on the northern border of the Casma polity), this volume richly details the role of cross-cutting social networks and the dynamics of shifting political boundaries in prehistoric north coast Peru.

The rise of the Chimu Empire caused the Chao Valley to become a border zone between the Casma and their encroaching neighbors. The artifacts recovered from sites in this area paint an illuminating picture of the everyday lives of ancient Andean people in this unique yet--until recently--under-studied culture.

Vogel's systematic and comprehensive volume synthesizes information about the societies in this region while also expanding and clarifying the definition of Casma-style ceramics and architecture for comparison with other sites. As the first English-language work on the Casma polity, this is a powerful new resource for understanding an important pre-Inca culture as well as a fascinating investigation of the forces at work in the development and collapse of complex societies.

Melissa A. Vogel is assistant professor of anthropology at Clemson University.
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"The volume will be a key source for students working in this geographic zone, and of interest to all Peruvianist archaeologists."

"Sheds welcome light on shifting boundaries and cultural influences, but also tells a very human story, never losing sight of the 'little frontier town from the Peruvian past' at its heart."
--Current World Archaeology

"Makes a salient case for the study of frontier populations in their own right and not simply for their relationship to a more politically dominant core. Consequently, its value extends well beyond regional studies in Andean prehistory."
--Journal of Anthropological Research

“Vogel’s clear and concise prose makes this volume a delightful read, whilst interweaving theory and data to bring the Casma polity to life, with Cerro la Cruz emerging as an important frontier town along the northern boundary with Chimu… a first and important building block in our knowledge of late Prehispanic political entities.”

"[A] new and pivotal contribution to Andean Archaeology… offers significant new insights into Andean prehistory, especially because of its fresh emphasis on the past life of the periphery, virtually untold stories of common people living on the boundaries of ancient polities. The data provided by this kind of approach complements not only the history of a civilization, but also offers key information about contact, trade, influence, conflict, and interchange."

“Instrumental in understanding the sociopolitical landscape of a major transitional period along the central and northern coasts of Peru.”
--Journal of Field Archaeology

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