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Huaca Prieta

Identifier: Film Collection no. 194

Scope and Contents

Filmed during the Institute of Andean Research Viru Valley Project in Peru, 1946-1947. The Viru Valley Project was a series of archaeological excavations in the Andes sponsored by the Institute for Andean Research. The AMNH co-sponsored one such excavation with the Institute at Huaca Prieta, a site dating between 3,100 B.C. and 1,300 B.C. in the Chicama Valley on the northern coast of Peru. Junius Bouton Bird, AMNH archaeologist, excavated and filmed this site with the help of his family. The evidence they uncovered indicates that Huaca Prieta, a large preceramic mound, was inhabited by sedentary coastal peoples. The film examines both the excavation site and the laboratory work performed at the base camp. Workers sift sand through huge strains, dig with picks and shovels, photograph findings, record data, and measure spatial dimensions. Semisubterranean dwellings are unearthed, revealing walls of cylindrical and biscuit-shaped adobe bricks. A human skeleton in fetal position is discovered along with bits of fiber, implements and pottery. In the laboratory, Bird displays some of the finds, including a small pottery figurine and a pottery stamp, similar to an ink pad stamp. Small artifacts are cleaned with dental tools and are packed for preservation and storage.


  • 1946-1947

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (33 minutes) : silent, color ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (33 minutes)) : silent, color ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy


Original format: 16 mm. film; incomplete.



Junius Bouton Bird, photographer.

Huaca Prieta, 1946-1947
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
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