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HUACAS AT THE
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THE HUACAS IN THE SIERRA OF LIMA

The
"Dead City" of Cajamarquilla
El palacio de Puruchuco
Palace
Cemetery of Puchuruco Chiprakk Incawasi

THE DEAD CITY OF CAJAMARQUILLA


This is one of the most important archaeological complexes of the central pre-Hispanic coast.

Entirely built in adobe, it comprises a peculiar set of walled palaces. It is located 15 kilometres to the East of Lima by the Central Roadway, over the left margin and on the lower part of the Huaycoloro ravine. From the locality of Huachipa, an unpaved road winds in direction of the zinc refinery of Cajamarquilla, from there on, the valley gets narrowed by the imposing presence of the mountains, sources of many watering streams that irrigate the fields of the lower Valley.

This archaeological site was built during the Intermedio Temprano, around the years of 400 or 600 A.D. while the valley was under the influence of the Lima Culture, and stands out as the second biggest urban complex constructed with mud in the ancient Perú, with its 167 hectares of extension, surpassed only by the citadel of Chan Chan, in the Department of La Libertad to the North of Lima.

A centre of regional influence during a period from the 6th to 8th centuries A.D., the "dead city" of Cajamarquilla is assembled by pyramids, squares, streets, rooms and mazes clearly distinguishable in the midst of an arid landscape, harshly beaten by floods during the El Niño phenomenon appearances. Nevertheless, this place sustained a very complete and dynamic civilization, as asserted by the many human burials located in several sectors; the different decorations on objects, some typical of the valley itself, others from the rest of the Coast and others from the southern Sierra; also by the many underground cellars to keep food; and by the patios devoted to the production of chicha (an alcoholic beverage obtained from the maceration of corn) for the parties.
Towards the 8th century the place was deserted, but some time later a new cultural thrust seemingly re-born and new buildings were raised above or beside the old ones. Its importance as a urban and political centre kept growing until the year of 1100 A.D. (Intermedio Tardío), when the disorganised and uncanny look that prevails today was finally reached.

Location: Over the right margin of the Rímac River, in the lower part of the Jicamarca Ravine, at a distance of 15 kilometres from the City of Lima (25 Km. from the Pacific Ocean). It takes some 30 minutes car drive to access this site, all year round, and totally cost free.


EL PALACIO DE PURUCHUCO - PALACE

Over the road that climbs towards the highlands East of Lima, is located Puruchuco, the palace of a curaca or cacique that ruled over a portion of the left margin of the Rímac River, some little time before and during the establishment of the Incas over this Valley.

The building belongs to the Inca Period, constructed with rectangular adobes, the residential palace of Puruchuco shows a square lined deploy, encased by a thick wall 4 metres high and 60 centimetres thick. The interior is distributed in a series of halls, patios and corridors coherently articulated. It is assumed to have served as the residence of a functionary, as well as an administrative centre devoted to the surveillance of the productive endeavours of the zone.

At the foremost, we can access the Field Museum and appreciate some interesting pieces unearthed from the place, as vessels, keros (a kind of ceramic or wooden vase) and jars among other findings, and a spectacular exhibit of a funerary bundle (fardo funerario) arranged besides its original set of offerings.

There is also a re-make of the methods used in burials, with written explanations that will enlighten the visitor of the habits of these people.

There is a hall with Temporal Exhibits and a Hall of Metals filled with golden objects and the tools used on them. There is also a reproduction of the Palace of Puruchuco in a reduced scale that will become useful to comprehend the magnitude of the building.

Location: Archaeological Site, Carretera Central, kilometre 4.5.
Schedule of visits: Monday - Sunday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm


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CEMETERY OF PURUCHUCO

It is regarded as the second biggest cemetery and the one with the highest number of burials during a same period (1480 - 1535), known worldwide due to the unearthing in the last years of more than 2,200 mummies. This bundled mummies were found on a foetal position, along with diverse objects left as offerings for the personal use of the deceased, like keros filled with corn, potatoes or meat of llamas; combs, needles and other alike artefacts.

These mummies are now being studied in Lima and in Canada, revealing the presence of some peculiar characters as the one already known as "el Rey del Algodón" or "the King of Cotton", a seemingly noble man in the company of a youngster, bundled together with layer upon layer of unprocessed cotton, containing also some ceramics, animal hides and corn. There is also a huge funerary bundle known as "Falsas Cabezas" or "False Heads" that contains in its interior several bodies huddled together in a foetal position. Its name comes from the fact that a false head made from cotton was sewn to its upper external part, resembling a real head.

Location: Asentamiento Humano Tupac Amaru, nearby the Palace of Puruchuco.


CHIPRAKK

An impressive urban centre that rises from the heights, constructed by the legendary people known as the Atavillos (900 - 1460 A.D.). There can be mentioned the superb Palacio del Curaca or the Palace of the Curaca, located over a hilltop, in a careful surveillance of its domains. A careful look will reveal that the stone walls are surrounded by terraces and funerary chullpas.

Location: Archaeological Complex at a distance of 65 kilometres (4 hours) from the town of Huaral, that is located itself at 80 kilometres at the North of Lima.


INCAWASI

Tells the story that this enormous construction was built to serve as quarters to the troops of Inca Tupac Yupanqui, during his conquering campaign against the Señorío or Lordship of the Guarco (1450 A.D.)

This Complex is divided in three well defined areas: the Barrio Incaico or Incaic Neighbourhood, strewn with streets, rooms and dwellings where the troops of the Inca stayed. The Barrio Religioso (Religious Neighbourhood) or of the Colcas. And finally the Palace of the Inca, erected over the highest part of the Complex and conveniently protected by a mountain.

Location: Archaeological Site at 60 kilometres (45 minutes) from San Vicente de Cañete, itself located at 120 kilometres by the Autopista Panamericana Sur (South Pan-American Highway).

 
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