Friday, November 16, 2018

Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part IV

Continued from the previous post, regarding the defensive settlements and fortresses that were anciently built by early Peruvians along the road from the La Raya Pass to Cuzco, a distance of about 110 miles.
    As mentioned earlier, beyond Huaro, Caninunca and Urcos heading south away from Cuzco were the two settlements just before the LaRaya Pass, where the biggest defensive areas are seen, which would have been the first encountered north of the Pass by an invading force.
Many of these fortresses were built with tall stone walls, especially on either side of an entrance or roadway through the settlement to guard against unwanted entry

These two strongholds, were Raqch’i at 11,418-feet, and Sicuani at 11,660-feet, along the east side of the road just north of the La Raya Pass. The former is well known today for its archaeological ruins of the temple Wiraocha, situated along the Vilcanota River, which further downstream, to the north, is called the Urubamba River. This river, by the way, is divided into Upper Urubamba and Lower Urubamba, the dividing feature being the Pongo de Mainique, an infamous whitewater narrow water-gap canyon less than 50-yards wide and two miles long beneath 3,280 to 9,842 feet high rocky cliffs where dozens of waterfalls descended surrounded above by six square miles of dense rainforest.
    Raqch’i is located on a prominent ridge overlooking the surrounding valley providing a natural defensive position, and was a primary control point on this road system that originated in Cuzco. Just beyond the wall was a large dry moat running along the edge of the ridge and steep cliffs all about provided the natural defense of steep slopes, which made the site extremely well protected.
    Archaeologists belief the site, which pre-dates the Inca, was built for possibly religious observances, but there is no question it was situated for defense and built with a 2½ mile long stone wall and a series of eight rectangular buildings around a large courtyard believed to have been barracks to house troops.
Views of the Raqch’i Temple of Wiracocha and the Storehouses

Nearby are 220 circular buildings, believed to have been storehouses, called qullqas. In addition, the terraces on the hillsides are irrigated and no doubt the produce from the fields were housed in the qullqas. Fresh water was available in nearby pools and the surrounding grounds were ideal for grazing llamas and alpacas. This seems to go along with the defensive fort idea, and barracks for troops, so the food storage was needed to both feed the troops during normal circumstances and especially when under attack, and to provide for the people round about, especially when gathering to this area when under attack. In fact, there was a huge building (archaeologists naturally callit a “temple”) that would have held large numbers of people.
The La Raya Pass looking north through it toward Cuzco; Right: One of the long aqueducts of the Tipón irrigation channels just north of the Pass

Beyond the settlements of Raqch’i and Sicuani the ancient road climbs to a height of 14,271 feet as it passes through the La Raya Pass, the highest point between Puno and Cuzco, which marks the only southern entrance into the Cuzco region. In fact, this Pass divides the districts of Cuzco to the north and Puno to the south. Anciently, there were only two ways to go north in this area of Southern Peru, and that was on this road past Lake Titicaca, to the LaRaya Pass, and then on into Cuzco; or the coastal route through the Atacama Desert, one of the driest areas on Earth, and up the coast into Lima. There was also a highlands road that branched off the coast through the Lurin Valley (Lima/Pachacamac) that went east through a pass in the high mountains toward Cuzco or branched off to the north in the middle of the land, toward Cajamarca.
    The Pass itself moving north and south between the 18,009-foot LaRaya Mountain Range, which runs from the southwest to the northeast at this point, is nothing unusual, other than the lofty mountains and altitude. There are no distinguishing landmarks, no unique blocks of rock or mountain outcroppings, no imposing overhangs, cliff faces, canyons or other interesting features. The slopes at this point are gradual and other than the very thin air, mark no area of difficulty to an ancient invading force other than the Pass could be defended with a small force. The road from the south to enter the Pass climbs gradually, as does the road on the north side, descend gradually, providing no undue effort in past ages to encounter.
    For an attacking force moving from the south, the road to Cuzco from the area of Lake Titicaca, gradually ascends 1,715 feet over 130 miles to the LaRaya Pass, then gradually descends 3,119 feet over 110 miles into Cuzco. Again, other than the altitude, this journey itself would not have been difficult for an ancient attacking force moving against Cuzco from the south, such as the Lamanites moving northward to attack the Nephite stronghold in the City of Nephi prior to the time Mosiah left.
    No doubt toward the end of that 400 years between Nephi settling the Land of Nephi an the time Mosiah left with those who would go with him, the Lamanites had conquered numerous cities and settlements to the south of the City of Nephi, cities and fortresses that for centuries had held the Lamanites at bay as the Nephites built, expanded, and populated the entire land as Jarom writes after 200 years of Nephite development following the settlement of the City of Nephi: “And now, behold, two hundred years had passed away, and the people of Nephi had waxed strong in the land…they were scattered upon much of the face of the land: (Jarom 1:5). In fact, though the Lamanites “were exceedingly more numerous than were the Nephites,” the Nephites swept the Lamanites out of their lands (Jarom 1:6-7).
    On the road southward from the LaRaya Pass, there are few ancient development sites until you reach the area of Lake Titicaca. One of the first sites encountered is Juliaca, a settlement on the Altiplano (“high Plains”) at 12,549-feet, where the Andes are the widest (west to east). This settlement is about 28 miles northwest of Lake Titicaca and 26½ miles north of Puno on an area of the Altiplano, called by the Quechua and Aymara the Collao Plateau. The Qullaw, meaning “place of the Qulla,” were an indigenous people of western Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, whose lands are part of the yungas, or high altitude forests, at the edge of the Amazon rainforest).
A Yungas road in Bolivia just east of Juliaca among the Yungas forests, which range from moist lowlands forest to evergreen montane forest and cloud forests. Note the road running alongside this steep cliff face—once an ancient trail

These forests of the Yungas regions, along the eastern slope of the Andes east and south of Lake Titicaca are formed in rugged valleys, fluvial mountain trails and streams. Northward is the Peruvian Yungas located entirely within Peru and stretches nearly the entire length of the country, separated here from the Bolivian Yungas by the Inambari River. Further south there are the Bolivian Yungas, a humid forest region between the drier Gran Chaco region to the east and the dry, high altitude Puna region to the west.
    Today, Juliaca is considered “the heart of a thriving smuggling business” of everything from cocaine and gold, to cars, kitchen appliances and clothing. It is considered by many as one of the “places not to go in Peru.”
    Just a few miles away along the Capachica Peninsula that juts out into Lake Titicaca, are several ancient pre-Columbian and pre-Inca sites where ancient Peruvians settled, no doubt because of the pleasant weather, beautiful scenery and leisurely life style. In this ancient area, the Tiwanaku dominated early Peruvian cultures. Aymara groups today known as the Collas, the Kallahuayos, the Lupacas and the Zapanas all inhabited the Collao Plateau at one time, living around the expansive Lake Titicaca. There is extensive gold and silver in this area, with mines of both precious ores active for the past nearly 200 years under the Spanish rule, and were long in production before the conquest by early Peruvians.
(See the next post, “Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part V, regarding the continuation of “Aqueducts, canals and defensive structures along the road from Lake Titicaca to Cuzco)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part III

Continued from the previous post, regarding the defensive settlements and fortresses that were anciently built by early Peruvians along the road from the La Raya Pass to Cuzco, a distance of about 110 miles.
The sprawling hill top fortress of Pikillacta high in the mountains 30 miles south of Cuzco. Note the high stone defensive walls are mostly gone now, only their bases can be seen

Concluding with the coverage of the fortress of Pikillacta (Piquillacta). However, before continuing on with the road southward to the La Raya Pass and beyond to Puno, it should be kept in mind that these areas so named today, were built, as most modern Andean cities, over the ruins and settlements of much older settlements and villages, that often date back into first half of the first century AD or the last half of the last century BC times for the simple reason that the original settlers of these areas found the most advisable and worthwhile areas to settle. Later cultures and peoples merely built where they had been—this was especially true of the Spanish, who built their subsequent villages and haciendas in areas that had previously been settled, if for no other reason than there were large quantities of already cut and dressed stone available. When they ran out, they robbed the stones of other earlier fortresses and structures to complete their buildings.
    It is estimated that during the colonial period the Crown of Castile and under royal authority a total of 1.9 million Spaniards settled in the Americas, and another 250,000 in the 16th century alone, immigration was encouraged by the new Bourbon Dynasty—leading to millions reaching the Americas, specifically in Mexico, Central and South America—lured there by the promise of gold and silver. These early immigrants needed building materials and facilities to start their buildings, cathedrals, plazas, and haciendas, of which they took liberally from the existing settlements and cities built by the earlier Andeans. As for the indigenous populations, an estimated 8 million deaths occurred during this initial conquest (David P. Forsythe, Encyclopedia of Human Rights, Vol.4, Oxford University Press.209, p. 297).
    By 1611, less than 80 years after the initial entrance of Pizarro in Peru, the mining town of Potosi in the Andes saw an influx of 42,000 Spaniards and 65,000 working Indians, mostly slaves. In the coastal area south of Santiago, Chile, 100,000 well-armed Spanish flooded the area, driving the indigenous Araucana out of their homelands.
    The dominant city on the Pacific and in Spanish South America was Lima, Peru, which was the home of Spain's viceroy to South America and a seat of the Inquisition. Lima was a center of trade, including the port of exit for the silver mined in the Potosi area. In 1680, Lima had about 10,000 inhabitants who considered themselves of pure Spanish descent and 60,000 others. There, wealthy Spaniards lived in luxury and considered themselves just as aristocratic as anyone in Spain. Elaborate balconies adorned their homes. Churches and monasteries were adorned with much silver and gold. And in the 1680s a wall was built around the city to protect it from pirates.
    And all of these new Spanish towns and cities were built up over previous indigenous settlements dating as far back as the last century BC.
From Cuzco to Tipón is about 15½ miles; to Pikillacta about 24 mliles; to Andahuaylillas about 30 miles; to Sicuani about 86 miles; to La Raya Pass about 110 miles

After Pikillacta and Huarcapay the road continues along this South Valley Corridor through long interconnecting narrow valleys thrugh which the Urubamba river flows, to pass between two additional fortress cities of Andahuaylillas and Huaro, about 30 miles south of Cuzco.
    Andahuaylillas, six miles south of Pikillacta, is another pre-Columbian, pre-Inca site that was built over by the Inca, and then after the conquest, built over by the Spanish as they constructed their famed San Pedro Apostol de Andahuaylillas (“Saint Peter the Apostle of Andahuaylillas”) Baroque church, where every square inch was covered with some type of painting or decoration, and now referred to as the “Sistine Chapel of America”—with its magnificent and dazzling Medejar-influenced display of colorful mural frescoes that adorn its walls, coffered  ceiling with sunken panels attached to a suspended dropped grid for depth and illustratively painted, and an ornate gold-leaf altar.
    Huaco (Hueracocha), about two miles south of Andahuaylillas, of which both towns are in the Vilcanota River Valley, is an ancient settlement in Peru at the foot of the 11,811-foot mount Wiraqucha. At the top of this mount, which the Urubamba River loops around to the east and north, is an area sitting atop a ledge on a high cliff face beneath an over covering of the cliff face to protect to help protect from the cold winds, where an outpost lookout, or fort of retreat, had a spectacular position overlooking the valley below. To the north is a break in the mountains, with mount Quri (Quiquijana) rising to 13,780-feet; to the west and a little north the Urubamba River flows around this plateau and between mount Wiraqucha and mount Quri heading west, and then bends northward along the ancient settlement of Andahuaylillas, now a major city in the region. In fact, the towns of Pikillaqta, Andahuaylillas and Huaro have a long history of settlement in the region, dating to before the Wari, and long before the Inca arrived.
    To the southwest of Wiraqucha, at 10,374-feet elevation and 62 miles south of Cuzco, lies Huaro (today the Huaro District), and to its east is Lake Qoyllur Urmana (Qoyllrumana) between Huaro and Urcos, where today the road splits, however, originally the road simply curved through the hills and headed south toward Puno. Further south the mountains are lower, flattening as they drop several hundred feet in elevation. To the north, Quri is the last of the mounts that stretch along an extensive range of mountains, including to the north, Pumacancha at 14,921 feet, and beyond Mount Tawqa at 15,170-feet, and Pachatusan at 15,885-feet, and at Cuzco, mount Pillku Urqu at 14,593-feet.
The main road from La Raya Pass northward into Cuzco takes a bend around the ancient settlement of Urcos and Huaro, then continues northward past the mounts of Wiraquha and Qrui to the east and the settlements of Huaro and Andahuaylillas on the west where it runs parallel to the Urubamaba River once again on its way northward to Pukara

Huaro was built in a peaceful area surrounded by mountains, and a perfect spot to help defend against an invading force from the south so it did not get beyond and up the road as far as Cuzco. While we do not know where any battles were fought between the Lamanites and Nephites during those first 400 years in the Land of Nephi, we do know that many “wars” were fought initially during Nephi’s time as he “wielded he sword of Laban in their defense” (Jacob 1:10), and the Lamanites “delighted in wars and bloodshed…and sought by the power of their arms to destroy us continually” (Jacob 7:24).
    In addition, Enos wrote about seeing “wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites” (Enos 1:24); Jarom spoke of making weapons of war, including the “arrow, quiver, dart, and javelin” (Jarom 1:8), and that after 250 years in the Land of Promise, there had been many wars (Jarom 1:8), and that the Nephites swept away the Lamanties out of their lands (Jarom 1:7); Omni wrote of “many seasons of serious war and bloodshed” (Omni 1:3); Abinadom said that “with my own sword, have taken the lives of many of the Lamanties in the defense of my brethren” (Omni 1:10). All of this before Mosiah was told to leave the Land of Nephi and take all those who would go with him (Omni 1:12-13).
    The point being, of course, that all those battles were fought in the lands of the Nephites, among their cities, towns, villages and settlements. We also know that they built many cities and that to guard against their enemy, the Lamanites, they “began fortifying their cities in the lands of their inheritance” (Jarom 1:7) about 200 years before they were told to leave their lands.
    Obviously, many of these ancient settlements we are here discussing were built as fortifications to defend themselves against an enemy’s approach from the south. Consequently, on this only road northward during this time before Mosiah, beyond Huaro, on the way to Urcos, is the small town of Cunincunca, were the Spanish built over an ancient Peruvian settlement along the early and only route through the mountains from Cuzco to Puno. The settlement was named after a narrow pass enroute through these hills past a small lake to where it crossed the Urubamba River before turning south again and running along the river for 83 miles to the La Raya Pass. Beyond that, the Urubamba weaves its way a little to the east and then southeast up into the mountains where it originates in Mount Khunurana (Cunurana) in the La Raya Mountain Range at 17, 781-feet.
    Beyond Huaro, Caninuna and Urcos were the two settlements just before the LaRaya Pass, where the biggest defensive areas are seen.
(See the next post, “Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part II,” for more on the additional sites built by the Nephites to the south, between Cuzco (City of Nephi) and the area of Puno, which at one time would have been along the Sea East in the Land of Nephi)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the various ancient settlements surrounding the area of Cuzco, or the City of Nephi.
    Another area, about 12 miles south of Cuzco along the road to La Raya Pass and Puno beyond, was the settlement of Oropesa at 10,223-feet, 4½-miles south of Tipón, beneath the tallest peak in the area at 15,886-feet. This elevated area overlooks the winding road that runs past the mountain between Oropesa and Tipón and into the Cuzco Valley.
Looking down on the settlement area of Oropesa from the Fortress of Tipón, high in the mountains overlooking the valley leading in to Cuzco from the south

Oropesa is famous for baking hand-made pan Chuta—the Quechua name for this bread—which is baked in big, round, relatively flat loaves made from quinoa, barley, wheat and honey, and tastes more like cake than bread. This village was famous for making these bread loafs that measure about 12” around but only 2” thick, all the way back in antiquity where it began as a standard gift when early Andeans went visiting in the rural communities around Cuzco. The gift symbolized the affection and respect one had for the people they visited, and as such became very important in a society and economy built around people helping and trusting each other. The gift was seen as a return for the love and respect implied in the visit itself, and about a dozen families in Oropesa still keep the ancient recipe alive today.
Chuta pan bread loaves freshly baked and ready for sales along the streets and open markets of Oropesa and even into Cuzco

It is interesting that this totally early Perruvin pan baked bread is similar in shape and size to the ancient Hebrew Pita, Kadeh, flatbread and even unleavened bread (though the latter was even thinner), and laffa, láfa, or Arab Taboon bread, as well as the Egyptian emmer bread—in fact, the ingredients of the emmer bread was almost identical, with emmer replacing the quinoa, but including the honey.
    Built in the mountains overlooking the only route into Cuzco from the south (where the Lamanites would have been), the Tipón and Oropesa areas would have made ideal warning posts to notify Cuzco, or the inhabitants of the city of Nephi and surrounding villagers of approaching Lamanites from the south.
    Continuing south toward the La Raya Pass, are the areas of Pikillacta (Pikillaqta), Huarcapay, Andahuaylillas and Huaro on the road to Lake Titicaca. This “sacred lake” was the cradle for Peru’s ancient civilizations. The Puraka culture settled in this fertile land around 200 BC and later the Tiwanaku Culture emerged and spread throughout the Altiplano and into Bolivia. Warlike tribes like the Aymaras and the Collas emerged only to be much later eventually absorbed by the Incas, who unified the many cultures in the 1400s AD and spread out to become the Inca Empire. The current local population is the Uros, who populate the numerous man-made islands in the lake, are people who have populated this territory for thousands of years, resulting from both the Aymara and the Quechua populations who now speak the ancient language of Aymara.
    As mentioned earlier, Tipón, along the east side of the road between the LaRaya Pass and Cuzco Valley, was high in the mountains, and could only be reached via an arduous trek up a steep incline.
Modern asphalted road from the main road from the Pass into Cuzco, up into the mountains and Tipón. Note the hairpin turns and cross-back—of which there are currently numerous such dangerous paths originally

In the early days of Peruvian development, this area was isolated, with a 180º view of the approach from the south, and difficult to attack, both because of the steepness of the inclines, and also the high walls of the surrounding fortress of Tipón high up on the side of the mountain, though these highlands may have been lower in BC times. If someone, say like the Nephites, wanted to be warned of any northerly approach of an enemy, such as the Lamanites, this fortress would be in the perfect spot, for there was no other way into the Cuzco Valley, except past this mountain along the road northward.
    Continuing south on the road from Cuzco toward La Raya Pass, which was the only means of reaching Cuzco from the south because of the mountain range in between, are these four settlements or fortresses (now at 11,000 feet) for the defense of the road northward and the main seat of the early Nephite kingdom. Today, these formidable areas are called: Pikillacta, Wiraqucha, Huarcapay, and Andahuaylillas, all in an area about an hour south of Cuzco and north of the Altiplano, about 215 miles from Puno.
From Cuzco to Tipón is about 15½ miles; to Wiraqucha about 25 miles; to Sicuani about 86 miles; to La Raya Pass about 110 miles

The first settlement of the four was that of Pikillacta, a sprawling pre-Columbian heavy-walled city with terraced agriculture, located at 10,660-feet in the Lucre Basin on low grassy, rock and sandy ridges in the eastern Valley of Cuzco, with few rivers but several nearby lakes. The settlement sat on the fork in the road, with the main road continuing to the northwest into Cuzco, and the other branching off to the north to the Urubamba River and on into Pisac at the beginning of the Sacred Valley—making Pikillacta a perfect location for defense of the two most important routes in the region.
    Extensive research in the area and at the site has not been accomplished, but archaeologists claim it was a Wari sight before the Inca, but had been settled long before the War. The entire Lucre Basin is well watered with canals, reservoirs, aqueducts along with terraces and cultivated fields including a hydraulic network fed by rainfall that led through canals and agriculture fields to help the people. These canals were built of stone and connected to the Lucre River and Chelke stream, with over 57,000-feet of canal in the system, one of which was used for irrigation of four terraces and connected to the aqueducts. All these devices aided in crop production and provided the people with water. In the large-scale sight, an overall conjoint structure contained over 500 small rooms, with small fire hearths, which archeologists claim must have been for ritual purposes but just as likely were areas of abode, as other archaeologists claim the site was a large trading center. The site was abandoned hundreds of years before the Inca came to power.
    While Pikillacta was on the north of the road into Cuzco, the ancient site of Huacarpay along with Huarcapay Lake was situated on the south side of the road, and together controlled the road northward into Cuzco. In peaceful times, these areas were trade centers for goods going north or those going south toward Lake Titicaca and the Tiwanaku. It should be noted that the climate in this area is cold and dry, with a wet season commencing in November, creating a milder clime until April, with an average temperature high in the 60s and the average temperature low in the 30s and 40s year round in the Valley of Cusco. However, the climate is quite wet compared to the U.S., where the average rainfall per year is 2.5” per month, but 7.2” in this area in and around Cuzco Valley. Which should suggest that at 11.5” per month in the wet season and 4.2” in the dry season, that attacks were no doubt commenced around the beginning of the dry season (November) and ended around 6 to 7 months later (April-May) at the commencement of the wet season.
    Therefore, the dry season in Cuzco is equivalent to say Baltimore, Maryland, Boston, Massachusetts, or Indianapolis, Indiana; whereas the wet season in Cuzco is equivalent to Miami, Florida, Detroit, Michigan, or Seattle, Washington. It seems safe to assume that, like Napoleon attacking Moscow in the winter, the Lamanites realized their best chances of winning battles far from home would be during the dry season when movement across dry land was easier and the temperatures were not so cold in the mountain passes.
    Even so, attacking Nephi cities proved difficult for the Lamanties, for they were well fortified. The area of Pikillacta is uniquely defended by a series of rock or stone walls surrounding the city and guarding the entrances within the city along its main corridors.
The unique walls that blanket Pikillacta and any entrance into the terraces and eventually into the walled city itself, just south of the LaRaya Pass
Continuing on the road southward, are Wiraqucha and Andahuaylillas, and the two further cities today called Raqchi and Sicuajni.
(See the next post, “Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part II,” for more on the additional sites built by the Nephites to the south, between Cuzco (City of Nephi) and the area of Puno, which at one time would have been along the Sea East in the Land of Nephi)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part I

When the Lord told Mosiah to leave the city of Nephi and take those who would go with him, we often think of this event surrounding only the immediate area of the city of Nephi; however, after 400 years in the Land of Promise, among a people who had been taught by Nephi to build great buildings, as evidenced by a temple like unto Solomon’s, and to work with all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores (2 Nephi 5:15), and also to construct a temple after the manner of the temple of Solomon (2 Nephi 5:16), one might conclude that the Nephites were not only capable of building, but would have done so.
    Obviously, it is only prudent to conclude that several other sites had been built during the four centuries the Nephites were in the Land of Nephi. This would have included the cities of Shemlon and Shilom (Mosiah 10:8; 11:12), but obviously many others, since two hundred years after arriving in the land, “the people of Nephi had waxed strong in the land” and “they were scattered upon much of the face of the land” and they “multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land“ (Jarom 1:5-6,8).
    Whatever cities and settlements, villages and towns, the Nephites had built during that 400 years in the Land of Nephi, all would have been vacated and left behind when Mosiah, “being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness” (Omni 1:12).
    Now, since Nephi, when fleeing from his brothers and the sons of Ishmael first settled the land and built the City of Nephi, there would have been both ability and experience in such city and development building. It would only be a foregone conclusion that they built other cities. And since the Nephites were well aware of the nature of the Lamanites and their inherent interest in gaining control over the posterity of Lehi through the rights of Laman under the principle of the first born, or primogeniture, we can also conclude that these cities and settlements would have been defensible by the Nephites.
Map of the Urubamba Valley and the area of Cuzco and ancient road from there to Puno, now on the northwest shore of Lake Titicaca

To the north of the Valley of Cuzco, is the beautiful Urubamba Valley, known as El Valle Sagrado (the Sacred Valley), reached over a narrow road of hairpin turns to the ancient settlements of Pisac, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, and beyond, the famed Machu Picchu. How far in that direction the early Nephites would have built is unknown, for this was the land of Mormon’s Narrow Strip of Wilderness, running from east to west, eventually separating the Land of Nephi form the yet-to-be-discovered Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27).
    To the south of the area of Cuzco, the site of the city of Nephi as has previously been established via the scriptural record and the findings at Sacsayhuaman, overlooking Cuzco Valley, are numerous ancient settlement areas. One of which, twelve miles south and a little east of Cuzco, is the city of Tipón, which is a 500-acre complex located near Oropesa in the Community of Choquepeda, southeast of Cusco and along the Cuzco-Puno road. The ruins at an altitude of 11,318-feet are made up of gardens and temples, dating back to the 2nd century BC. The excellently preserved, wide terraces are made of red rock, with exactly twelve terraces that archaeologists believe may symbolize the twelve months of the year.
    Although in many Peruvian ruins there is evidence of irrigation channels and constructions, Tipón is one of the only places where the irrigation system is still fully functional, with water flowing all year round, even in the dry season. In fact, Tipón has been touted as a masterpiece of water management, and the American Society of Civil Engineers has put it on its list of International Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.
    The complex contains enclosures, terraces and an intact canal. The upper area is crossed by the Inca Trail with an irrigation canal, and is considered an engineering marvel. No doubt the area was an ancient “laboratory” of agricultural products because of the various micro-climates found within the complex. Today, Tipón is considered one of the 16 most important archaeological tours for tourists who visit the area, since it is not only an archaeological complex, the site is home to one of the largest irrigation works in the terraces and the decorative waterfalls connecting them, with a great distribution of outdoor water channels
The ancient terraced lands of the settlement of Tipón, about 12 miles southwest of Cuzco along the road from Puno to Cuzco, about 100 miles north of the La Raya Pass, and about 230 miles north of Puno at Lake Titicaca 

Today, the Tipón ruins cover an area of 591 acres of wide agricultural terraces irrigated by a network of water channels fed by a natural spring. Much has been excavated, however, far more has not with much visible beneath the soil. are located in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. This archeological complex, where water runs by carved stone canals, is located at a height of 3.560m (11,684ft) above the sea level.
    Along an ancient ten-foot wide road built of stones where it passed through Cuzco, or the City of Nephi, and walled on both sides as it traversed the slopes of a steep hill, it ran southward to Tipón. This ancient settlement, high in the mountain tops of the Valley, overlooking the Cuzco-Puno road thirty minutes from Cuzco, this citadel dates back thousands of years and is well hidden in the mountains. The beautiful sight of the well-preserved terracing, fountains and finely designed water channels of Tipón date back thousands of years and was constructed for agricultural purposes, with military structures and high, defensive walls about the city. The water channels feed the whole site with fresh water, harnessed from a natural spring near the top of the site, with some of the ancient aqueducts still in use today. Near the top is a small stone-built reservoir and though the ruins are not as extensive as other sites, they are beautifully designed architecturally—consisting of thirteen terraces flanked by polished stonewalls, enormous agricultural terraces, canals, and decorative waterfalls. 
    Every archaeological complex features well-built canals which channeled and distributed water throughout the settlement.  There are various baths and irrigation channels that still function today, providing the archaeological site with an endless stream of running water.  The outer wall at Tipón, measures 15 to 20 feet high and nearly four miles long, encircling the entire community.  This wall also provides evidence that a large labor force was once used, representing a major construction achievement in and of itself by a culture that long pre-dated the Inca. 
The terraces at Tipón, that contained remarkable fountains, walls, and structures

There is an extensive complex of ancient settlements built along the road from Puno at Lake Titicaca through the La Raya mountain range and through the pass called LaRaya, located about halfway from Puno to Cuzco. This complex includes the Pre-Inca, ancient Peruvian surprisingly well-preserved ruins of the early villages of Tipón, with its numerous irrigation terraces, Pikillacta, Huarcapay and the Wari ruins of Andahuaylillas, which is located on a nearby hill, not far from the ruins of Wiraqucha, all to the south of the Pass.
The Fortress of Tipon which overlooked and guarded the agricultural site and defensive walled city

To the north of the Tipón terraces there is a plant on a hill, which has its own water pipe, which brought the water from about ¾ of a mile away. The line is in operation, although not in the whole length from the source. It is interesting that visitors to the agricultural site have completely ignored the "Pucara de Tipón,” or “Fortress of Tipón,” a second site which is again almost as large as the plant of Tipón and a mile to the north of the mentioned water pipe, along with 24 more terraces.
(See the next post, “Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part II,” for more on the additional sites built by the Nephites to the south, between Cuzco (City of Nephi) and the area of Puno, which at one time would have been along the Sea East in the Land of Nephi)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Peruvian Canals Most Ancient in New World – Part III

Continued from the previous post regarding the once undiscovered canals of ancient Peru, but that now have been locate, we find that the cultures of northern Peru, including the great circuit from Piura to La Libertad passing through Amazonas and Cajamarca, are the location of the famous canals which archaeologists have long sought.
    In fact, scholars have hailed the discovery as adding a new dimension to understanding the origins of civilization in the Andes. The canals are seen as the long-sought proof that irrigation technology was critical to the development of the earliest Peruvian civilization, one of the few major cultures in the ancient world to rise independent of outside influence.
    Archaeologists always assumed that by 4,000 years ago, perhaps 1,000 years earlier, large-scale irrigation farming was well under way in Peru, as suggested by the indirect evidence of urban ruins of increasing size and architectural distinction. Their growth presumably depended on irrigation in the arid valleys and hills descending to coastal Peru. But the telling evidence of the canals had been missing.
Zaña Valley, about 35 miles inland from the Pacific and the area of Chiclayo in northwest Peru

Then Tom D. Dillehay, an archaeologist at Vanderbilt University, started nosing around the Zaña Valley, about 35 miles from the ocean and more than 300 miles north of Lima,in the Chiclayo area. Along the south side of the Valley is the Nanchoc River, which flows east to west into the Pacific, and on the south side of the river, Dillehay and his team uncovered traces of the four canals, narrow and shallow, lined with stones and pebbles, extending from less than a mile to more than two miles in length. The canals ran near remains of houses, buried agricultural furrows, stone hoes and charred plants, including cotton, wild plums, beans and squash.
    The initial discovery was made in 1989, but it took years of further excavations, radiocarbon dating and other analysis before Dr. Dillehay felt ready to announce the find. "We wanted to make sure that the dates were correct and to find more early canals," he stated, adding, "There are now four sites with canals and probably more.” Following his lengthy examination of the area, the canals, and the surrounding early settlements and their artifacts, Dillehay firmly stated that “The Zaña Valley canals are the earliest known in South America, and the earliest in the Americas." The authors of the journal article, Dillehay along with Herbert Eling of the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico and Jack Rossen of Ithaca College, wrote that the system appeared to be a small-scale example of organized irrigation technology that "accompanied a mixed economy of incipient agriculturalists, plant collectors and hunters."
    He also suggested that these Peruvian canals compared to the early canals in the Old World that were simple gravitational contour canals, and did not run long distances and were built in areas where there was an easily managed water course.
Four levels of irrigation canals, one on top of the other, as uncovered by archaeologists in northwest Peru in the area of Zaña

Dillehay and his team reported the results obtained from several field seasons in the upper middle Zaña Valley for four super-imposed buried canals, garden plots, cultigens, and dating of canals and nearby residential sites. The upper canal is visible on the ground and radiocarbon dates this upper canal to about 1190 years before the present, or about 810 BC; however, the two lower canals that were buried by sediment layering were likely associated with nearby sites with architectural structures that are dated between 7,600 and 4,500 years before the present, or about 5,600 to 4,500 BC.
    These canals lie along the south side of the Ñanchoc River, which is an upper branch of the middle Zaña River, located about 35 miles east of the Pacific coast. The canals were built along the edge of an upper terrace above the lower bench, or terrace, of the stream, within 1½  miles to 2½ miles of the domestic dwellings, all sharing the same or similar stone tools, human burial patterns, house structures, dietary remains, and Carbon-14 dates.
    However, Dillehay reported finding no evidence of a centralized bureaucracy to manage the canals or mechanical devices to control flow rates. But the people of the valley understood elementary hydrology. They laid out the canals to use gravity to deliver river water down gentle slopes to the cultivated fields.
Above-ground gravity-flow irrigation channels are found all over the Andean areas of Peru and Ecuador with many still in use today

Craig Morris, a specialist in Peru archaeology at the American Museum of Natural History, who did not take part in the research, said, "Their use of slope and management of water flow shows again that ancient people were a lot smarter and more observant than we often give them credit for." Jonathan Haas, an archaeologist at the Field Museum in Chicago who has excavated urban sites elsewhere in Peru's coastal valleys, called the canal discovery "a difficult and brilliant piece of work."
    In their own excavations, Dr. Haas and Winifred Creamer of Northern Illinois University have uncovered remains of urban centers of a complex agricultural society that flourished 5,000 years ago in valleys in a region known as Norte Chico, or Little North. Such an arid region would have had to have irrigation to have agriculture, especially on an apparently large and prosperous scale.
    Dr. Haas said the new discovery appeared to show the early irrigation technology that the people of Norte Chico then adopted and expanded to "bring about a cultural transformation" 400 years later. It is not just that a single group or culture developed such irrigation techniques, but that they were scattered all over the Peruvian landscape, and varied in design according to the needs of a particular local.
The five-mile long ancient aqueduct at Cumbemayo about 12 miles southwest of Cajamarca at 11,000-feet elevation in north central Peru

As an example, the ancient people of Peru built water-moving and preserving technologies like the above-ground aqueducts at Cumbe Mayo (Cumbemayo) in the midst of a number of petroglyphs carved into rocks, and the stone mountain region called the “stone forest,” and the Moche, or the underground water system like those found of the Nazca, which were called Puquios, or the terraced gardens of the Huari.
The ingenious underground puquios irrigation system of the Nazca culture in southwest Peru

In fact, the Cumbemayo aqueducts at one time were thought to be the oldest in the Americas, dating to some time around 1500 BC, however, they have never been dated and may be older.
Left: layered aqueduct for a large amount of water being moved; Right: zig-zag flows carved into the bed rock to slow the flow of water so sediment will drop to the bottom and clean the water

In addition, Andean irrigation techniques included terracing of the hill and mountain sides to take advantage of additional planting space. Some of these terraces were quite steep and required workers to haul up stone to construct the retaining walls for each level, then haul up the soil to fill in the terraces, and finally haul up the seed and water for planting.
However, in doing so, the ancient Peruvians were able to adapt the steep land of the Andes Mountains for farming, including the Chavin, the Moche, and the Chachapoyas as well as numerous other groups who built terraces, or andenes, into the sides of hills. The andenes reduced soil erosion that would normally be high on a steep hill, and many of these terraces are still used today, which waters fields with a system of reservoirs and cisterns to collect water, which was then distributed by canals and ditches.
Terraced planting along the mountain side near Machu Picchu

The one thing that has always marked the Lord’s people is their extensive effort in the irrigation of lands, fostering the Biblical phrase of “Turning the desert into a rose,” in regard to making the Judean desert blossom, as well as so labeling that of the Saint’s work in the desert of Salt Lake Valley. Once again, in the Andean coastal deserts and the hills and Mountains with terraced irrigation both in the highlands and the lowlands, in remarkable ancient canals and channels, bringing water from the mountains to the water-starved lands below, especially along the coastal shelf.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Peruvian Canals Most Ancient in New World – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the makeup of the early Peruvian northwest coastal area and the north central highlands and western slope of the Andes. In this area scientists have lately uncovered the oldest canals in the Americas.
    Anciently, the Lambayeque or Sicán, Moshica or Moche, and Chimú, flourished in Chiclayo, and during the later colonization period, it was the only indigenous Indian village on the road that connected Lambayeque and Zaña. Monesfu is a nearby settlement of Cliclayo where artisian artifacts have been located. The importance of this area is found in the fact that here were uncovered the oldest irrigation canals in the Americas.
    A team of researchers working in the Andean foothills of Peru have unearthed solid evidence of canals confirmed to be at least 5,400 years old. The find is the oldest of its kind anywhere in South America as well as the entire Americas. The canals range in size from half to 2½-miles in length and were designed to slope downwards, relying on gravity to send water from an upper stream to the crop fields below. The layout essentially created artificial garden plots with fertile earth suitable for intensive agriculture.
The Zaña Valley and the site of (yellow arrows) one of the underground canals built there and first unearthed by the archaeologists in 1989

Settled for millennia by indigenous inhabitants of ancient Peruvians, the Zaña Valley became a powerhouse for Spain’s conquistador’s thanks to the vast gold and silver deposits hidden in its surrounding hills “in such vast amounts beyond compare” that it drew pirates and treasure seekers for generations in the early days of the Spanish conquest. Over time, the city of Zaña would not only rise in economic import, but its political heads would establish it as the most important city on the northern coast, surpassing even Trujillo.
    In fact, Zaña was so popular in the 16th and 17th centuries that the Spanish were even considering making it the political capital of Peru, providing a possible alternative to the rich port city of Lima (La Cuidad de los Reyes: “the City of Kings”). By the late 1680s, a little over one hundred years after the founding of the city, it was on the cusp of becoming one of the most important cities in the New World, and it wasn’t just the Spanish that started to become interested in Zaña’s wealth. In 1686, the infamous buccaneer, Edward Davis (Davies), the English pirate who led successful raids against Leon and Panama as well several coastal cities along Peru and Chile, with his attack on Panama in 1685, considered one of the last major buccaneer raids against a Spanish stronghold.
    The following year Davis led a raid on Zaña taking the inhabitants unaware and sacking the opulent city, making off with all possible forms of wealth and trade goods. Recovering, Zaña was in the process of rebuilding from multiple pirate attacks in the early 1700s when disaster struck again in the form of mother nature, with torrential rains beginning in the early part of 1720 that finally led to the rising of the Zaña River and the eventual flooding and destruction of the entire city on the 15th of March of that year.
Zaña River and Valley where the underground irrigation canals have been located

The important agricultural Zaña Valley in which the city sits, is an archaeological area in northern Peru, inland between the rich marine waters of the Pacific Ocean to its west and the highland Andes Mountains to its east. It is also situated between the fertile Jequetepeque and Lambayeque river valleys, making it a perfect intermediary for trade routes throughout northern Peru. It also sits in the rich, fertile Zaña River Valley, which was capable of producing high-yield crops of maize, fruit, and other important commodities that contains the earliest known canals in South America, which were constructed during or before the aceramic or preceramic period, when the early Peruvians were using bark, basketry, gourds or leather for containers. The valley is located southeast of the city of Chicalayo. The Zaña River is currently dry most of the year, but occasionally it has devastating torrential flows.
AMS dating for archaeology and geology involves accelerating the ions to extraordinarily high kinetic energies followed by mass analysis, which is more expensive than radiometric dating, but has higher precision and needs only a small sample sizes

Though the aceramic period ended in Peru sometime prior to 1800 BC according to archaeologists, these canals are believed to have been constructed around 4,500 years ago (2500 BC). In fact, Accelerator Mass Spectrometer dating of aggregate flecks of charcoal from the oldest canal have been dated to 6705 + 75 14C. In fact, a decade of intermittent archaeological research in the upper Zaña Valley has documented an intensive Middle Preceramic period (6000—4200 BC) occupation in the tropical-forest and thorn-forest ecotone on the western Andean slopes. This research has revealed one stratified nonresidential site (Cementerio de Nanchoc), characterized by dual earth mounds, and a complex of small, preceramic residential sites in the Nanchoc branch of the valley. 
    Evidence recovered from residential sites shows that non-specialized hunters and gathers lived in scattered households located along small streams in alluvial fans above the valley floor, with stone tool lithic technology and a diversified ground-stone technology attest to an economy primarily adapted to plant resources. The preceramic culture of the upper Zaña Valley is interpreted as a local manifestation of an early western-slope-forest cultural tradition associated with the development of a specialized public precinct and the adoption and intensification of agriculture (Tom D. Dillehay, Patricia J. Netherly and Jack Rossen, “Middle Preceramic Public and Residential Sites on the Forested Slope of the Western Andes, Northern Peru,” Cambridge Core, vol.54, Is.4, Cambridge University Press, October 1989, pp733-759).
    In addition, anthropology professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tom Dillehay, the Rebecca Webb Wilson University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Religion, and Culture, and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Latin American Studies in the Department of Anthropology, Professor Extraordinaire and Honorary Doctorate at the Universidad Austral de Chile, along with his colleagues found canals dating back over 5,400 years in Peru's upper middle Zaña Valley, about 35 miles east of the Pacific coast (Tom D. Dillehay, et al., “Preceramic Irrigation Canals in the Peruvian Andes,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, National Academy of Sciences, vol.102, no.47, 2005, pp17241–17244).
    According to John Noble Wilford of the New York Times (January 2006), “evidence found shows that these canals watered ancient Peru, and are the earliest known irrigated agriculture in the Americas.” An analysis of four derelict canals, filled with silt and buried deep under sediments, showed that they were used to water cultivated fields 5,400 years ago, in one case possibly as early as 6,700 years ago, archaeologists reported in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In fact, long before the Inca, the Wari and Tiwanaku cultures rule the Andes, and long before them were the Caral, or Norte Chico. In fact, the Caral are one of the oldest civilizations in ancient northern Peru who were known for their monumental architecture, including large earthwork platform mounds and sunken circular plazas, with an urban complex of more than 150 acres, and at its peak, approximately 3,000 people occupied the area. About 1000 years after the decline of the Caral, the Chavín rose in the late BC period, especially in the Mosna River Valley. It might be noted that around 500 BC, significant increases in population, the introduction of the llama, major building occurred, and an increase in cross-cultural trade took place. Between 400 and 200 BC, the Chavín population great substantially and more urban forms of settlement appeared. Specialized pottery showed up , indicating local production and probably an increase level of agricultural surplus.
    The unique geography of the Chavín site—near two rivers and also near high mountain valleys—allowed its residents to grow both maize, which thrived in the lowlands of the river valley, and potatoes, which grew best in the higher altitudes of the Andes Mountains. The settlement pattern of larger villages in the lowland regions surrounded by smaller satellite villages in the highlands might have been a way to take advantage of these diverse agricultural opportunities through specialized production.
    Along with maize and potatoes, the Chavín also grew the grain quinoa and built irrigation systems to water these crops. They used domesticated llamas as pack animals to transport goods and as a source of food. A common method of preserving llama meat was drying it into what later Andean people called ch’arki—the origin of the word jerky! In addition, the design of the Chavín de Huántar temple shows advanced building techniques that were adapted to the highland environment of Peru, and an understanding of astronomy, metallurgy, sculpture, pottery and a high level of art. To avoid flooding and the destruction of the temple during the rainy season, the Chavín created a drainage system with canals under the temple structure.
(See the next post, “Peruvian Canals Most Ancient in New World – Part III, regarding the famed canals of Ancient Peru that were once undiscovered, but now have been located)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Peruvian Canals Most Ancient in New World – Part I

It has always been understood in anthropology and archaeology that using irrigation to grow crops rather than harvesting plants in naturally moist areas was one of the signs of a civilized and complex society. However, according to Anthropologists who had always thought early Andean civilizations built canals, they had never been able to find concrete evidence of such canals because it was believed they were later destroyed through social development. Until now. Recent discoveries of canals in the Peruvian Andes shows early civilization there had irrigation technology for intensive agriculture.
In the Andean foothills of Peru, not far from the Pacific coast, and just inland and to the south of bustling Chiclayo lies the reputed “ghost town” of Zaña (La Villa de Santiago de Miraflores de Zaña). Tucked in a fertile agricultural valley, the tiny town teems with ruins from a bygone era that was full of power and intrigue, as well as tragedy and destruction, dating back to Peru’s colonial era—and to the astonishment of the few travelers drawn there for the ghostly ruined shells of convents and cloisters—a whole host of current residents whose roots trace back hundreds of years, to a generation of Zaña’s whose spirit couldn’t be dominated by marauding pirates, conquistadors, or raging floods.
    This region of northwest and north central Peru consists of the Lambayeque, La Libertad, and Ancash Districts, and stretches from the coast inland as far as the Chachapoyas District, the home of the Chachapoyas Culture, “the Warriors of the clouds,” or Cloud People. They lived as early as 200 BC in the cloud forests of the Amazonas along the eastern slopes of the Andes in a triangular region formed by the confluence of the Marañón and the Utcubamba rivers where the Gran Pajatén is located.
Valley of the Marañón River between Chachapoyas and Celendín, which was the center of the Chachapoyas Culture within the Utcubamba River basin and basically isolated from the coast and other areas of Peru

The latter being a 20,000 square-mile area around the Montecristo River valley and consisting of a series of at least 26 circular stone structures atop numerous terraces and stairways on a hilltop overlooking the river.
    One of the first cultures to occupy this northwestern coastal region of Peru was the Chavín, though their major settlement was at Chavín de Huantar, which was to the southeast of this northwestern coastal region, their influence (settlements) reached as far north as the northern Andes. The Chavín date to around 1000 BC, and while a fairly large population was based on an agricultural economy, the city's location at the headwaters of the Marañón River, between the coast and the jungle, made it an ideal location for the dissemination and collection of both ideas and material goods. According to Yale University anthropologist, Richard L. Burger, the Chavin center served as a gathering place for people of the region to come together and worship ("Chavin de Huantar and its Sphere of Influence,” Handbook of South American Archeology, ed. H. Silverman and W. Isbell. Springer, New York, pp681-706).
    The Chavín were followed by the Moche (Mochica), who occupied the area from about 100 AD, more than 1200-years before the Inca. Following the Moche were the Sicán (or Lambayeque) cultures—though numerous archaeologists believe the Sicán and the Moche were the continuation of the same culture).
Northwest and north central Peru and the various settlements and cities of the ancient Peruvians

The Moche civilization occupied a territory that spanned much of what is now the northern coast of Peru, encompassing what is today the coastal area of the departments of Ancash, Lambayeque and La Libertad. This civilization developed a broad knowledge of hydraulic engineering, with its people constructing canals to create an irrigation system to support agriculture. The Sican culture formed towards the end of the Moche civilization and assimilated much of the Moche knowledge and cultural traditions. At its peak, it extended over almost the entire Peruvian coast—inhabiting a territory near the La leche and Lambayeque Rivers, and span the Lambayeque region, including the Motupe, La Leche, Lambayeque, and Zaña valleys, near modern-day Chiclayo. The Sican excelled in architecture, alloy smelting and metallurgy, jewelry and navigation in a drought-and-flood cycled region as recorded over the past 1,500 years. The development and artifacts of the Sicán resemble that of the Cajamarca, Wari and Pachacamac cultures.
    The Northern Wari followed, settling throughout the central highlands of Peru and as far west at Chiclayo. While the Wari civilization was predominantly based in south central Peru and known for having constructed a network of roads, with a territory nearly as large as that of the later Inca, the Wari of northern Peru represent the first evidence of Wari influence found in that region and by their quality and extent of construction there stretching over a 3-mile-area, show this was an important site located 14 miles from Chiclayo.
    The Wari built an extensive network of roadways linking provincial cities, as well as the construction of complex, characteristic architecture in its major centers, some of which were quite extensive. Several ancient Wari sites have been uncovered, including the Cerro Pátapo ruins by archaeologist Cesar Soriano Rios, of the Archaeological Peruvian Andes Research Foundation, and remains of an entire prehistoric city relatively near Chiclayo dating to around 350 AD, covering an area along the coast and reaching to the highlands. These northern Wari ruins are considered separate from the Wari ruins in the Ayacucho Region to the south.
The Moche, Jequetepeque, Lambayeque Valleys and the Pampa Grande areas within the northwest and north central Peruvian coast and the Andes

In addition, the Chimú followed the Moche along the coast, in the Moche Valley as far north as Trujillo, and at its peak, The Chimú not only ruled in Chan Chan, as well as Farfán, but expanded to include a vast area and many different ethnic groups, advancing to the limits of the desert coast to the valley of the Jequetepeque River in the north, with the Pampa Grande in the Lambayeque Valley also being ruled by the Chimú.
    Chiclayo, is located 95-feet above sea level near the coast of northern Peru, in a productive valley of strong agriculture, where the people exported their produce and products via the port of Pimentel on the coast. The location is well known for its archaeological sites, such as Tucume, Batan Grande and Huaca Rajada (better known as Sipan). In 1987, in Huaca Rajada/Sipan, a Moche mausoleum was found of several Moche tombes at Huaca Rajada located near the town of Sipán. This town was located in the middle of the Lambayeque Valley, in the Zaña district in the northern part of Peru, close to the coast, about 20 miles east of the city of Chiclayo and about 30 miles away from Lambayaque.
    The most significant discovery at Sipan was the tomb of the El Señor de Sipan, the “Lord of Sipan,” who archaeologists have concluded was a royal ruler more than 1600 years ago. His clothes were embellished with jewels, gold, and silver, and the amount of treasure found in the tomb rivals that found in the tomb of King Tut, as noted by the National Geographic Magazine, in their feature article. he Huaca Rajada monument consists of two small adobe pyramids plus a low platform. The platform and one of the pyramids were built before 300 CE by the Moche; the second pyramid at Huaca Rajada was built by a later culture (“Tombs of the Lords of Sipan,” Current World Archeology, Issue35, Current Publishing, London, May 2009).
    This then, brings us to the canals and the important finds associated with them and the fact that they are the oldest irrigation canals built in the Americas.
(See the next post, “Peruvian Canals Most Ancient in New World – Part II, regarding the famed canals, which stood as a possibility in Peru for more than a hundred years as archaeologists searched high and low for them, have finally been located)