Huaca Pucllana: Ancient Pyramid (Peru)

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Huaca Pucllana: Ancient Pyramid (Peru)

Mon, 05/23/2022 - 16:58
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Huaca Pucllana is an archaeological site in the form of an adobe, clay pyramid, and ceremonial center located in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru. It has become one of the main tourist attractions of Metropolitan Lima and the most investigated archaeological site in the city.

Huaca Pucllana

Huaca Pucllana is an archaeological site in the form of an adobe, clay pyramid, and ceremonial center located in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru. It has become one of the main tourist attractions of Metropolitan Lima and the most investigated archaeological site in the city.

Huaca Pucllana is located on the central coast of Peru, on the left bank of the lower valley of the Rímac River. It is fully integrated into the urban environment. In ancient times, this location gave it quick access to the coast, the ecosystem of hills and control of the intakes of the irrigation canals.

It has been investigated, preserved and restored since 1981 by a multidisciplinary team led by specialist Isabel Flores Espinoza with the support of the Peruvian Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Miraflores.

The current site is approximately 6 ha (15 acres); however, earlier in the 20th century, the area was triple the size of the current one; abandonment and lack of interest caused valuable evidence and smaller pyramids to be destroyed for the construction of houses, roads and parks.

Huaca Pucllana was built almost entirely with adobe bricks and was filled with pebbles and sand. It comprises a pyramid 25 m (82 ft) high, along with patios, plazas, and enclosures to the northeast.

The structure is surrounded by a central plaza or square in its outer limits, with a large structured wall dividing it into two separate sections. A section of the plaza has benches and deep pits. Inside this section is where ceremonies were performed, as well as sacrifices and offerings made.

Built from seven staggered platforms around 500 AD, the structure was an important ceremonial and administrative center for advancing the Lima Culture. This society developed on the Peruvian Central Coast between 200 AD and 700 AD.

The intact remains of "Señor de Los Unkus" (The Lord of the Unkus) have been uncovered here and are located in one of the tombs on the site.

The Great Pyramid

The great pyramid at Huaca Pucllana is stepped and has an elongated shape, oriented from southwest to northeast. Patios occupy its surface with stepped structures painted yellow; each upper level is accessed through zigzag ramps and passageways.

Due to the constant remodeling of the structure, the builders destroyed many walls and other architectural elements before commencing work on the new architecture, making it somewhat challenging to interpret space management.

The pyramid was most likely the site's main building, from where the property and the population could be controlled. However, its religious functionality was its primary purpose.

The public spaces were painted yellow. They brought together important people who probably participated in ceremonies to strengthen the bonds of cohesion and to worship the ancestors and the deities.

The Site

In the extreme south, burial areas of characters from the Lima elite, both adults and children, have been found. During the occupation of the Huari Culture, the highest parts of the pyramid were destroyed and converted into an elite cemetery.

The site has three clearly defined pre-Hispanic occupations:

  • An original occupation responsible for the monumental architecture of the Lima culture (approximately 400 - 700 AD).

  • A funerary occupation of the Huari culture (800 - 900 AD), which reuses the site after a period of abandonment.

  • A late occupation, post-Huari, associated with Ychsma-style ceramics (1000 - 1532) that used the site as a cemetery, repository of offerings and probably as a village.

During its original operation as a ceremonial center of the Lima culture, Huaca Pucllana was contemporary to other sites such as Maranga, Cajamarquilla, Pachacámac, Catalina Huanca, and Copacabana, among others.