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.
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 various articles and chapters on ancient Nasca society.
Donald A. Proulx is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is the author of numerous publications on Nasca culture including Local Differences and Time Differences in Nasca Pottery (1968) and The Nasca Style (1983).