Skip navigation

You are in:  Home » Staff and students

Alex Chepstow-Lusty

portrait of Alex Chepstow Lusty

Alex Chepstow-Lusty

Centre de Bio-Archéologie et d'Ecologie (UMR 5059—CNRS/UM2/EPHE)
Institut de Botanique

Université de Montpellier II
163, rue Broussonnet
F-34090 Montpellier

Phone: +33 467595586

Fax: +33 467543537



Department of Geography
University of Cambridge
Downing Street
Cambridge CB2 3EZ
England, UK

Phone +44 1223 766526
Fax +44 1223 333392

Freelance palynologist

Research Interests

  1. Integration of palaeoecological and archaeological records, particularly in Europe and South America.
  2. Using pollen and other paleoenvironmental indicators as tools for conservation and land restoration today.
  3. Origins of agriculture, domestication and cultural changes in relation to climatic variation.
  4. Comparison of Inca and Spanish impact on the Andean landscape.
  5. Developing an environmental and cultural chronology for the Cuzco area, Peru.
  6. Analyses of pollen from Inca mummies
Ongoing project:
The environmental and cultural history of the Cuzco area, with an emphasis on the last 5000 years.

We have a series of lake sediment cores collected in 1998 (Royal Society Grant) across the Cuzco region (Fig. 1) with Keith Bennett (Uppsala University). Multiproxy high resolution analyses has been carried out at the small lake basin of Marcacocha (Fig. 2) to the northwest of Cuzco and the large lake basin of Lucre (Fig. 3) to the southeast. Both sites are in major archaeological areas. Once this work is complete, the other lake sites indicated will be analysed to obtain a regional overview of environmental and cultural change.

site map Cuzco
Marcacocha view
Fig. 1 Sites near Cuzco
Fig. 2 View off Marcacocha

In particular, we want to understand:

  1. The scale of the drought that led to the collapse of the Huari c. AD 1000
  2. The environmental conditions that allowed the subsequent development of the Inca state and its meteoric expansion from the Colombian border to central Chile between AD 1400-1532.
  3. How the environment changed after the arrival of the Spanish in 1532, with domesticated animals from the Old World. Is the major demographic collapse of the indigenous population visible in the palaeoecological record?

This work has much relevance for the Cuzco region today, where many marginalized indigenous people live at high altitude. The aim is to show that during the Inca period, the environment was managed in a more sustainable manner to support a larger population and that many of these practices are still relevant today.

View of Lucre Basin
Team of young coworkers
Fig. 3 View of Lucre Basin
Fig. 4 Coworkers

Main collaborators

Some relevant publication