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THE HUACAS OF METROPOLITANA LIMA

Huaca Huallamarca Huaca Pucllana o Juliana Huaca Mateo Salado

In the ancient Peru, a Huaca could either be a river, a tree or a mountain to whom magical powers were conferred in the belief that there dwelled some divinity or ancestor. In the area of the coast, that designation was specifically used to name some scaled pyramids.

The growing process of Lima, thanks to the efforts of scholars and neighbours, has spared numbers of Huacas, leaving them as archaeological vestiges that stand out in the middle of this large City.

In the heart of the district of San Isidro stands the archaeological complex of Huallamarca. Hualla in the quechua tongue means "uneven" and marca stands for "village", because in its first times this complex presented a structure sustained over spiralled ramps. In the year of 1999, several pieces of pottery were unearthed, possibly indicating a near-by burial of some important character. An aspect that is common to almost all the important Huacas of Lima is that there are many young archaeologists still working on them, along with some non professional people that voluntarily offer their time and efforts. That is the case of the Huaca Pucllana, nowadays a Historical and Cultural Park, located in the District of Miraflores. This complex was the ceremonial and administrative centre of the Lima culture (around 400 A.D.) which held the control of the valley. The evidences at hand point out that many activities of religious cult, rites and sacrifices to worship their gods took place here. It is also possible that the residences of the governing priests were located in this place. The Pucllana Historical Park includes a museum and areas of research, preservation, restoration and cultural promotion, the latter with the task of motivating the community, starting from childhood, to create a conscience of respect and pride for their natural and archaeological patrimony.

HUACA HUALLAMARCA


In the district of San Isidro we will find this important archaeological compound, only a little smaller than Pucllana: the Huaca Huallamarca or Pan de Azúcar (Sugar Bread), an adobe scaled pyramid with an impressive access ramp.

A pyramidal shaped Ceremonial Centre of pre-Inca times contains a museum that exhibits artefacts that were found in the site.

The tombs found in the Huaca Huallamarca embrace a very long period that goes from the 3rd century A.D. to the coming of the Incas during the 15th century. Apparently, Huallamarca was a ceremonial centre whose access was possibly restricted to a religious elite, in view of the fact that the uncovered floors show little wear from use. A long sequence of employment and abandonment of this Huaca reveals the different ways in which the funerary practices changed through time.

During the historical period called the Intermedio Temprano (Early Intermediate), the dead were buried laying on their back on mattresses of reeds Towards the 6th century A.D. the corpses were put in a flexed way, giving them a foetal position and wrapped in fine fabrics. And during the last stages of the Horizonte Medio (epochs 3 and 4), the dead were wrapped in fardos or bundles with a false head above, a sort of mask made of painted fabric or wood.

Adress: At the intersection of the Avenidas El Rosario and Nicolás de Rivera Avenues, San Isidro.
Phone: (511) 222-4124.
Visit schedule: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.


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HUACA PUCLLANA O JULIANA


The site of the pre-Inca temple with a pyramidal shape, built using small handmade adobe bricks contains a small museum. The Huaca Pucllana is situated in the midst of the modern district of Miraflores, with an area of five hectares.

This Huaca was an administrative and ceremonial centre to the inhabitants of the valley of Rímac, during the Intermedio Temprano and until the early Horizonte Medio (5th to 8th centuries A.D.)

The main building of this complex is 500 metres long, more than 100 metres wide and 22 metres high. It is a solid truncated pyramid, entirely built over a base of stuffed and compressed soil and small adobe bricks. Moreover, the complex is surrounded by a number of precincts of lesser size but altogether notable: rooms, galleries, patios and ramps, generally richly pasted in mud and, in some cases, with traces of yellow paint.

The sheer monumentality of this construction of adobe gets easily in evidence when the visitor climbs up to its summit. From there, it is possible to behold the city spreading below, with its modern buildings rising, and, beyond, the sea appears as a greenish carpet speckled by ochre islands. Relying on its architecture and on the objects unearthed all over this place, the only possible function that it served to was as an administrating centre of the cult and of the produce from the Valley. The archaeologists have so far retrieved textiles, ceramics with red, white and black, or grey and orange ornamentations, remains of some edibles like corn, beans, pallar (a big flat bean), chirimoya, pacae fruit, alpacas, guinea pigs, ducks, and also fish and molluscs.

This is an important archaeological and cultural complex composed by the archaeological ruins itself, a field museum and an area of workshops and seminars.
It was the centre of development of the Lima Culture. A building for both ceremonial and administrative purposes, built with adobe and ruled by a group of priests that politically ruled over the valleys of Chancay, Chillón, Rímac and Lurín. It contains two separate zones, one a pyramidal structure 23 metres high, aimed for the cult and sacrifices to their deities, and the urban zone, were there still can be seen squares, ramps, patios and rooms for storage.

This archaeological site has been related by scholars to other places alike in the Department of Lima, like Maranga (San Miguel), Cajamarquilla (Ate-Vitarte) and Pachacamac (Lurín). The museum and hall of expositions function since 1984, and contains an interesting collection of ceramics, textiles, tools and artifacts made of wood and stone. There are also some actual representations of economical activities and funerary rites. In a close-by hall there is an exhibition of plants and animals that existed in those times on the area. The Cultural Promotional area has developed conferences and workshops like the Arqueología para niños, or Archaeology for Kids, comprising activities like textile handcrafts and the elaboration of pottery among others. There also exists a good restaurant that allows tasting some typical Peruvian dishes with a view of the ruins.

Address: Block 8 of General Borgoño Street (between blocks 5 and 6 of Angamos Oeste avenue), Miraflores. Five kilometres away from the Centre of Lima (some 45 minutes drive).
Phone: (511) 445-8695.
Schedule of visits: Wednesday to Monday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.


HUACA MATEO SALADO


Also known as Ruinas de Arcona and Cinco Cerritos, it is located facing the Plaza de la Bandera Square, in the boundaries of the Districts of Lima, Breña and Pueblo Libre. In the intersection of the avenues Tingo María and Mariano Cornejo and the streets Ernesto Malinowski, Enrique López Albújar, E. García Rosell and Belisario Sosa.

The archaeological complex of Mateo Salado is composed by five monumental pyramids, built over a base of tapiales (big blocks of mud assembled together). Its present extension is of about 20 hectares.

The first structure is located over a large rectangular platform that is itself surrounded by four thick walls leaving a space in between. This is repeated on every other superimposed platform, resulting in streets and corridors on each level.

The second structure is constituted by a number of big dimensioned halls and squares, which could possibly be the indicators of a mainly residential use.

The remaining three are lesser structures. The third one has an internal stairway that ends on a high terrace. The fourth, pretty separated from the rest, shows a square oriented towards the North, a large rectangular cancha or square field and many funerary chambers. The fifth and smaller, presents an almost square lay out.

In the past, this complex was connected to the archaeological complex of Maranga through a narrow walled road. It is dated in the Intermedio Tardío (1000 A.D. - 1470 A.D.) and the Horizonte Tardío (1470 A.D. - 1532 A.D.)

 
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