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Huaca Prieta-one the world's best-known, yet least understood, early maritime mound sites-and other Preceramic sites on the north coast of Peru bear witness to the beginnings of civilization in the Americas. Across more than fourteen millennia of human occupation, the coalescence of maritime, agricultural, and pastoral economies in the north coast settlements set in motion long-term biological and cultural transformations that led to increased social complexity and food production, and later the emergence of preindustrial states and urbanism. These developments make Huaca Prieta a site of global importance in world archaeology.This landmark volume presents the findings of a major archaeological investigation carried out at Huaca Prieta, the nearby mound Paredones, and several Preceramic domestic sites in the lower Chicama Valley between 2006 and 2013 by an interdisciplinary team of more than fifty international specialists. The book's contributors report on and analyze the extensive material records from the sites, including data on the architecture and spatial patterns; floral, faunal, and lithic remains; textiles; basketry; and more. Using this rich data, they build new models of the social, economic, and ontological practices of these early peoples, who appear to have favored cooperation and living in harmony with the environment over the accumulation of power and the development of ruling elites. This discovery adds a crucial new dimension to our understanding of emergent social complexity, cosmology, and religion in the Neolithic period.