Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationIllinois, Chicago, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9411
Approve DateApril 18, 2017
Project TitleHicks, John J., U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Volcanism and Vulnerability in the Early Colonial Period Agricultural Landscape of the South-Central Andes,' supervised by Dr. Patrick R. Williams
JOHN HICKS, then a graduate student at University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in April 2017 to aid research on ‘Volcanism and Vulnerability in the Early Colonial Period Agricultural Landscape of the South-Central Andes,’ supervised by Dr. Patrick R. Williams. The project investigates changes in agricultural practices in Torata, Peru, following the catastrophic eruption of Huaynaputina in February 1600. Its purpose is to determine if any of the valley’s expansive agricultural systems were reactivated following the eruption, particularly those located near settlements occupied during the transitional period between Inca and Spanish-Colonial governance. Four complementary analytical methods were adopted for the investigation: archaeological survey, compositional analysis of soils, remote sensing analysis, and drone-based photographic survey. Research is ongoing, although some preliminary conclusions are possible. First, people attempted to reactivate agricultural systems near the transitional-period settlement of Torata Alta after the eruption. Fields lacked ash near Camata, a contemporary site, although it is unclear whether human activities or natural geomorphic processes like erosion removed it. The agricultural systems of the Mimilaque Valley, located 15 km north of Torata, remain buried under Huaynaputina ash, thus it provides a comparative dataset for examining landscape changes resulting from colonial reorganization. Finally, XRF analysis of soils and ash samples has shown that it may be possible to isolate a geochemical signature unique to Huaynaputina ash. The Huaynaputina fingerprint is being incorporated into a GIS database to examine if/where farmers attempted to remove it from agricultural fields.