Jason Nesbitt

Advisor: Richard Burger


The principle goal of this project will be to utilize ASTER to study the landscape around the site of Caballo Muerto. The Caballo Muerto is located on the north coast of Peru, near the modern day city of Trujillo. The site is composed of eight platform mounds and dates between approximately 1600 and 400 B.C. Caballo Muerto is situated in a dynamic geomorphologic setting, bordering on two large quebradas (or dry streams), which would represent a significant geologic hazard during El Niņo years as well as a potential contributor to the significant sedimentation that covers parts of the site. Furthermore, it has been argued that Caballo Muerto's location was at least in part determined by its proximity (and hence ability to control) an important irrigation canal intake.

The preliminary goals of this project are as follows:

  1. To create an accurate digital elevation model (DEM) of the landscape surrounding Caballo Muerto. The creation of a 15 m DEM will allow me to explore the relationship of the mounds at Caballo Muerto with surrounding geomorphological and geological features. Furthermore, I intend to use ENVI to generate 3-D images in order to experiment with alternative ways of visualizing archaeological landscapes.
  2. To assess the relationship between Caballo Muerto and available agricultural lands. ASTER images are useful for identifying soils, vegetation, and agricultural lands. From this perspective it will prove useful to conduct classification studies in order to determine the extent of agricultural land and other natural resources available to the people who built Caballo Muerto. In this regard, I will also examine irrigation systems and their respective canal intakes.