Fortified Chimu site in middle Moche Valley

Rapid Response Interns

MOCHE Rapid Response Crew (RRC) – Internship Program
Moche Valley, Peru
June 20 – July 25, 2018


This 5-week internship is designed for individuals who are interested in gaining practical experience in GIS, GPS, photogrammetric mapping with a drone, ceramic analysis, and community heritage preservation. Previous experience with archaeological fieldwork is preferred but not required.

The MOCHE Rapid Response Crew will be directed by Patrick Mullins (University of Pittsburgh, ABD).   The crew will record, map, and research some of the most threatened sites in the Moche Valley. Crews will work with local community members on preservation and tourist development plans for key threatened sites.

Interns also have the opportunity to conduct their own research on data collected during the summer or in previous summers. Interns often work at sites that have never been investigated by an archaeologist.  Consequently, opportunities for independent research and publication by interns are abundant.  Previous interns have presented their research at the SAA and other conferences.  

Work days often involve up to 8 hours of hiking in medium to tough terrain.  Interns must be in good physical health and fitness.

Program Setting

The Moche Valley is located on the north coast of Peru and is home to some of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world, such as Chan Chan, Huaca de la Luna, Galindo, Cerro Oreja, and Huaca de Los Reyes. Archaeological research in the region has demonstrated that the Moche Valley has some of the earliest monumental architecture on the north coast as well as the capitals of the Southern Moche State (400-800 AD) and the capital of the Chimú Empire (900-1470).

Program Goals for 2018

  1. MVASS Drone Mapping and Survey– As part of the Moche Valley Ancient Settlement Survey (MVASS), interns will conduct archaeological surveys and drone mapping of sites in the lower, middle, and upper Moche Valley. The goal of the MVASS is to collect and analyze data from over 1,100 known archaeological sites in the valley.  These sites were recorded during previous pedestrian survey of the Moche Valley, conducted over the last 50 years. These previous survey projects have covered more than 1,000 km2 of the valley from the coast to 4,000 m above sea level.  As a part of MVASS, we have created an Access database with information pn all known sites in the valley (Moche Valley Ancient Settlement Database or MVASD).  Our task is to re-survey and drone map all of these sites, with priority going to those sites under current threat of destruction.

  2. Mapping of the Community Archaeological Reserve.  Interns will use a drone to map two archaeological reserves: the Ciudad de Dios Community Archaeological Reserve and the Cerro Leon Community Archaeological Reserve.  Interns will produce maps of the reserves and will design hiking trails in the reserves for use by tourists.  In addition, we will work on 3-D models of the reserves and exhibits for display at a planned community museum.

  3. Ceramic Analysis.  On off days from hiking, interns work in the lab on an attribute analysis of a large collection of diagnostic sherds from previous surveys of the middle Moche Valley. Students will have the opportunity to learn the entire ceramic sequence of the valley.