Fortified Chimu site in middle Moche Valley

Rapid Response Interns

MOCHE Rapid Response Crew (RRC) – Internship Program
June 25 – July 25, 2017


This program is designed for individuals who are interested in heritage preservation, community development, and archaeological excavation, mapping and survey. Previous experience with archaeological fieldwork is preferred but not required. MOCHE Rapid Response Crews work with a graduate student to record and research some of the most threatened sites in the Moche Valley before they are destroyed by local settlement or cultivation. In some cases, crews attempt to identify sites that make good candidates for the development of archaeological reserves, following the MOCHE model. In addition to the primary goals of site protection and preservation, interns also engage in archaeological survey and/or excavation-based research projects designed by Dr. Brian Billman and his graduate students. Finally, participation in local community development projects occurs on an ad hoc basis. Interns often work at sites that, to this point, have not been thoroughly investigated and are thus full of opportunities for independent research projects.

Work days often involve 4-5 hours of hiking in medium to tough terrain, hence good physical health and fitness is incredibly important for intern participation.

Program Setting

The Moche Valley is located on the north coast of Peru and home to some of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world. Archaeological research in the region has demonstrated that the Moche Valley was home to some of the earliest foraging populations living on the north coast, as well the earliest monumental architecture in the region, as well as the capital of some of the north coast’s most dominant polities the Moche State (400-800 AD) of the Early Intermediate Period and the capital of the Chimú Empire (900-1470) of the Late Intermediate Period.

Program Goals for 2017

1. MVASD Drone Mapping and Survey – As part of the Moche Valley Ancient Settlement Database (MVASD) initiative, students will be conducting archaeological survey and drone mapping at a variety of sites in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Moche Valley. The goal of the MVASD is to synthesize and modernize nearly 1000km2 of previous surveys that were conducted 20-40 years ago. Many previously recorded sites have already been destroyed or are currently under threat of destruction from modern settlement and/or cultivation. It will be the task of interns and their supervisors to re-survey and drone map many of these sites, with priority going to those sites under current threat.

2. Community Archaeological Reserve Mapping – The Jesus Maria/Menocucho Archaeological Reserve drone map will be completed and interns will begin planning possible hiking trails in addition to a 3-D Model of the reserve itself to be used in the tourist stall onsite.

3. CLV Ceramic Analysis – On off days from hiking, interns will be in the lab working on an attribute analysis of ceramics excavated at the coastal Chimu (AD1000-1470) town of Cerro la Virgen.

Archaeology Internship Program