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Callacpuma Prehistory Project

This project is investigating the long-term development of the Cajamarca culture at the site of Callacpuma, occupied through much of the Formative and Cajamarca periods (~1000 BC – AD 1532). Callacpuma is a multicomponent village located on the eastern edge of the Cajamarca Basin and overlooking the valley to the south and west. The project will study changes in community organization, leadership and economy through the analysis of domestic and public contexts, mortuary patterns, rock art, and possible craft production areas.

Fieldwork in 2015 began to address these issues through site survey and mapping as well as test excavation. Mapping and survey revealed that the site covers approximately 600 acres, with a number of distinct architectural zones, including a monumental architectural sector, domestic and agricultural terraces, at least 8 platform mounds, and an extensive cave complex. Small scale test excavations in several areas revealed pottery ranging over the entire Cajamarca Tradition.

In 2018, we will continue mapping, rock art recording, and excavating. Excavation will focus on two areas: illucidating the function of a large circular plaza on the site’s summit, and investigating the monumental sector.


Architecture of the monumental sector on the north slope of Callacpuma.

Rock art at Callacpuma.

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