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The Yanaorco Archaeological Project       (2003-2013)

The Yanaorco Archaeological Project is a multi-year investigation involving American and Peruvian archaeologists and students at the fortified village of Yanaorco in the northern Peruvian highlands. Excavation and surface survey are contributing to our understanding of community development and organization, leadership strategies, and the role of militarism during the Late Intermediate Period (AD 1000 - AD 1465) and the Late Horizon (AD 1465 - AD 1532) of Andean prehistory.

Excavation was carried out in 2003/2004 and will continue in 2012 with an archaeological field school organized through the University of Wyoming and directed by Dr. Jason Toohey. This work continues to be one of collaboration between archaeologists, students, the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, and the local communities of Cajamarca and Tamiacocha.

The 2012 Field School

Investigations at the site of Yanaorco in 2012 were organized as a six week archaeological field school through the University of Wyoming. The course was attended by twelve undergraduate and graduate students from several North American universities and was a great success.

The Yanaorco Archaeological Field School was located in the northern highlands of Peru within the Cajamarca Region. The school focused on the excavation of the 14-hectare fortified prehispanic village of Yanaorco, located approximately 40 minutes southeast of the colonial and modern of Cajamarca.

Yanaorco is a large fortified village of the Cajamarca Culture and was occupied between AD 1000 and approximately AD 1450. The site is architecturally complex encompassing fortifications, domestic zones, elite spaces, specialized storage rooms, and llama/alpaca corrals.


Mapping of Yanaorco

If you have questions, please contact the project directors: Dr. Melissa Murphy ( or Dr. Jason Toohey (