Date of Award

May 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Jean L. Hudson

Committee Members

Laura Villamil, Jason Sherman


Fishing, Gramalote, Initial Period, Moche Valley, Peru, Zooarchaeology


This faunal analysis focuses on vertebrate remains from the northern coastal site of Gramalote in the lower Moche Valley of Peru. Gramalote dates to the Initial Period (1800-900 BC), a time of great change due to a rise of inland agricultural and increasing sedentism. This intrasite analysis of fauna at Gramalote seeks to contextualize potential subsistence shifts through time. Subsistence specialization regarding fish exploitation of coastal fishers is explored through faunal analysis of vertebrates at this site. For an ecological perspective, this project examines the application of Moseley's Maritime Foundations of Andean Civilization and Optimal Foraging Theory models.

The sample analyzed comes from a stratified unit Unit 18A, resulting from the 2005 excavations at the site directed by Jesus Briceño Rosario (Briceño and Billman 2008). The total sample consisted of 22,940animal bones, of which 14,542 are the focus of this analysis. To understand possible chronological shifts in the importance of fish, three questions were examined. How does the vertebrate composition by class compare between the 2005 sample and the data previously reported by Pozorski? For Unit 18A, does the relative importance of fish steadily increase over time? How can we add the variable of depositional context to our evaluation of change over time?