Data Literacy Revision

Learning Goals: Student will be able to:

  1. Define a numerical data category, concept, or idea, related to fresh water in history.
  2. Summarize the historical context necessary to understand the numerical category, concept, or idea.
  3. Explain the historical importance of the category, concept, or idea to another students using a medium of your choice.

Background: Last week you were introduced to different ways quantitative data can be used to study history. This week you have longer readings that offer a broad overview of events. For your revision, I ask you to chose a quantitative category, concept, or idea related to the the history of use, access, or making meaning with fresh water and explain it to a friend using a medium of your choice. Your category, concept, or idea should relate directly to a society covered in our readings this week.


  • Your selected category, concept, or idea should clearly relate to the history of fresh water.
  • Your selected category, concept, or idea should clearly relate to a society in our readings.
  • Your selected category, concept, or idea should be about quantitative data, that is something that can be counted.
  • Your presentation defines the term, explains its historical context, and suggests a historical significance.
  • Cite all your sources. Zot Bib You do NOT need to use sources outside this week’s reading, but you can.


Your explanation can be a drawing, podcast, video, slide presentation, paragraph. For length see below:

Drawing: Should take under 60 minutes to complete.
Podcast: Under 90 seconds
Video: Under 60 seconds
Slide presentation: four or fewer slides
Paragraph: Fewer than 200 words.
Other: email me with your idea

Suggestion: Use a medium with which you are already familiar. If you know how to make TikToks, great. If not, chose a format you know.


I write to explain the importance of water basins known as puquinos, used by the Nazca people of Peru. In Peru the Nazca people survived in profoundly dry areas along the coast during the period 100- 600 BCE. As the week’s chapter " Emerging Spheres of Influence (1000-1300)" makes clear, the Nazca needed to understand how water flowed, even if it went underground. The Nazca stored water in catch basins called puquinos and measuring the quantity of water that puquinos captured has helped archeologists understand both Nazca everyday life and the ritual life of the Nazca. The archeology article I found through Ebsco Host at the Normandale Library indicates that Nazca site at Cahuachi along the Andean coast witnessed "ceremonial activities carried out at Cahuachi were probably related to water, fertility, and agriculture. It is possible that during Nazca the drought was severe and therefore rituals were intensified at Cahuachi." By measuring water volume, which is quantitative data, archeologists have learned about how the Nazca engaged in rituals related to water. Much like studying Jewish and Muslims bathing houses in the Mediterranean or Christian baptismal fonts, studying puquinos, helps current scholars understand how a historical group used water and made meaning with it.

Valdez, Lidio M. 1994. “Cahuachi: New Evidence for an Early Nasca Ceremonial Role.” Current Anthropology 35 (5): 675. doi:10.1086/204330.