The present study on the Astos of Peru—a prehispanic chiefdom situated on the high slopes of the Department of Huancavelica—is interesting for many reasons. First, the authors have taken a broader view of archeological studies than we are accustomed to. Here the pre-historical, pre-hispanic, ethnohistorical as well as ethnological dimensions are taken into consideration. In addition various aspects are present if not emphasized all along the analysis: ecology, technology, demography, etc . . .

In the first chapter, the authors take up the task of reconstituting the history of the Astos. It deals, among other things with the importance of the Incas in the life of the chiefdom; and the impact of the Conquest on these populations (in particular the effects of the “reducciones”). This is done not only in archeological terms but also with the help of ethnology, history, etc.. . . In the second chapter, we are led into the archeological dimension proper. It considers the patterns of settlement and habitat of the Astos. It is important again to mention the methodology of the authors. Throughout they have departed from the old pre-historical analysis to make good and efficient use of ethnology and geography (space and settlement patterns). The third chapter considers the resources at the disposal of the Astos: the products at the disposal of the consumers (flora and fauna) according to the ecological niches; but also the technology or domestic equipment used to adapt to these resources: such as ceramic, lithic equipment, bones, etc.. . . In the fourth and final chapter, we are presented with an interpretation of the material and some hypotheses with respect to settlement patterns, demography, subsistance activities (pastoralism and agriculture), social structure (subsistance economy vs. state economy).

Finally half of the book (of 143 total), is taken up by photographs, and complementary studies such as James Schoenvetter’s “Archeological Pollen Analysis of Sediment Samples from Asto Village Sites,” or Thérèse Poulain’s “Etude de la faune de dix gisements asto” (a totally quantitative analysis). In the last paragraph the authors say that although their approach has been primarily archeological, they have relied upon historical and ethnological materials at time for the light they can throw on archeological findings. They add that “it woud be dangerous, however, to ask too much of this material.” Although I recognized and accept their reticence in this respect, I disagree nevertheless. Their present work is valuable precisely because it is based on such a multidimensional, multidisciplinary analysis. I hope they will not modify their methodology. One should also mention the excellent introduction written by the director of the research team, Henri Favre. Without his penetrating presentation—it is an analysis in itself—the book would lose much in comprehension. It is to be regretted that this work should have such a poor physical presentation.