Saturday, December 12, 2009

Trujillo, PE

Huaca de la luna

If you mention Peru and Archaeology in the same sentence, the first thing that comes to the minds of many is Machu Pichu or maybe Nazca. For us, one of the most interesting Peruvian archaeological sites was the Huaca de la luna, a Moche temple in Northern coastal Peru with vibrantly painted adobe walls

The Moche culture expanded the adobe walls of their temples directly overtop of the former wall each time there was a change of leadership and then painted elaborate murals on them. The dry desert climate of the region means that a fascinating history spanning roughly 800 years has been preserved behind the layers. The sad thing is that in order to expose an older mural another equally impressive one which overlays it must be destroyed.

It is difficult to appreciate the scale of these walls. To give you a rough idea, the metre stick on the small wall in the foreground is 3 metres tall.

Chan Chan

Chan Chan is considered the largest Pre-Columbian city in South America. It was built out of adobe by the Chimu culture which evolved from the remnants of the Moche culture. The Chimu culture ruled between ~850 CE until they were conquered by the Incas in 1470 CE. We had the opportunity to visit a citadel called the Tschudi Complex. An unexpected heavy rainstorm eroded many of the walls a couple of weeks before our arrival and as a result shelters and restoration efforts were being undertaken during our visit. After many years of dry climate, the recent change in global weather patterns has put the site at risk of eroding.

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