Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Between Pachacamac and Lima

In a coastal area along the west coast of the Lurin Valley about 25 miles south of downtown Lima, Peru, lies the ancient site of Pachacamac (Pachakamaq, Pacha Kamaq), a name meaning “Creator of the World.” Anciently, there were numerous roads leading from this early Peruvian religious sacred city, and running past other, lesser villages and cities to the north and east in an area today almost completely covered with Lima city expansion and the modern roads and highways.
The creator god Pacha Kamaq was venerated at this temple by the Ichma, an early Peruvian culture

Within the Pachacamac site is what is called the Ichma Temple where the Ichma people honored their God, the creator of all things. The Aymara-speaking Ichma people were a pre-Inca indigenous culture that came to inhabit the coastal areas near Lima following the collapse of the Wari Empire. The Ichma who preceded the Inca, were themselves preceded by earlier cultures, beginning with the area initially the home of the Chavín cuilture, which archaeologists believe extended well back into BC times and were primarily a religious people or culture, that began in the Andes highlands, and then spread outward throughout the country.
    Their most important city was Chavín de Huantar with its stepped pyramids, using architecture both external and internal, such as passageways, galleries, rooms, staircases, ventilation shafts and draining canals. They also had very distinctive art styles, particularly in effigy pots, a number of which were in feline shapes, and also painting interior walls with vibrantly colorful murals containing complex iconography; however, the language of the Chavín is not known, though believed to now be extinct.
    Following the Chavín were the Moche (Mochica) Culture, an agricultural society, dating to about 100 AD or earlier. They are believed to have been a group of autonomous, separate cities or regions that were commonly united and shared a common culture and religion, and not a politically organized monolithic empire with a single leader.
    The Moche in turn were followed by the Wari civilization that flourished in the south-central Andes coastal area (different from the modern known Wari people), with their culture spanning almost the entire coastal and inner expanse of what is today known as Peru from the Lima area to near Chiclayo. Then with breakup of the Wari Empire, several small kingdoms and confederations were created. Over time, two cultures came to dominate the region, the Chancay culture north of Lima and the Ichma in the south, with the latter dominating the coastal areas near Lima. The area was later conquered by the Inca in the 1400s AD, absorbed by the Tawantinsuyu and reorganized as a Wanami—one of 86 such provinces in the Inca Empire.
Huaycán is located on the left bank of the middle valley of the Lurin River, a region known as Cieneguilla

Situated about 15 miles inland from the coast and Pachacamac, along the Lurin River is the site of Huaycán de Cieneguilla. Built on the of alluvial soil at the origin of a ravine, it crosses to the middle Lurin valley on the left margin occupying an approximate area of ​​44½ acres. Unlike the settlements of previous periods or cultures, where the center was a pyramid, Huaycán is horizontal, extending over the stony bottom and low slope of a narrow dry creek. The architectural components (courtyards, corridors and enclosures) are adapted to the unevenness of the terrain, giving a sprawling urbanic appearance.
    In the Cieneguilla district alone there are 27 individual archaeological sites, with the mud and stone Huaycán sitting at the foot of a ravine about 1475 feet above sea level. The buildings themselves were built upon retaining walls as a foundation, the first course being large stones on which raised thin walls with a mixture of medium-sized angular tones and a thick layer of mud as a mortar were built, with both sides plastered.
Top: Some of the walls dividing the settlement spaces into a maze of box-like residences in Huaycán; Bottom: The box-like construction of the city

The overall structures were a large a number of enclosures and enclosed spaces stuck together without apparent order, making it difficult to determine the limits between the various structures, though patios, corridors, domestic areas, administrative areas, workshops, warehouses, and religious areas have been identified. At least 15 residential complexes have been identified within Huaycán, with some patios and places decorated with symbols and signs in the form of friezes on the walls. The meaning of these symbols has not been deciphered but they seem to be related to the stars of the sky, like the moon in its various phases, the sun and animals, like the feline (Rosabella  Alvarez-Calderón Silvea-Santiseban, “The use of community spaces in a settlement of the Late Horizon, the case of Huaycan de Cieneguilla in the Lurin Valley, Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Pontifical Cathoic University of Peru, Lima, 2008)
    The site is along the Qhapaq Nan, or Main road of the ancient Peruvians, and according to Fernando Mackie, Director of the Huaycán de Cieneguilla Comprehensive Project, Huaycán “has special relevance because it has characteristics of the Ychsma culture and making it more important in relation to the route of the Qhapaq Ñan.” (Krzysztof Makowski et al., Pachacamac, Ychsma and the Caringas, Avqi Publishers, Lima, 2008pp267-316)
The numerous Ichma cities were located in the area of Lima, and were built long before. The inland main north south Andean road the Inca later called The Chapqa Nan, or Highway of the Sun, was east of the coast, up in the hills and mountains, while a coast road ran along the shoreline

This Ishmay Kingdom lasted until around 1440 when they were absorbed into the Incan Empire. They inhabited Pachacamac, though they did not build it, which original builders constructed at least 16 pyramids in Pachacamac, and built or remodeled more structures in the Lima area. Among these are the Huaca Huantille, Huaca Mateo Salado, Huaca San Borja, and the Huaca San Miguel. Additionally, archaeological sites in Puruchuco and Cajamaruilla have also been identified as  Ichma culture settlements.
    A number of cultural and human remains have been discovered in various Ichma sites. At the Huaca Huantille, at least 9 in three mummy bundles have been discovered, buried with ceramic items and jewelry crafted from copper, silver and gold. At Pachacamac, more than 80 mummies were found in a 66-foot long, previously unlooted and undisturbed oval-shaped burial chamber. With these were found numerous artifacts, including ceramic wares, jewelry, and animal remains (“Temple of Doom: Scientists Discover Peruvian Tomb Filled with Mummies, Infants,” Time, May 24, 2012).
The towering city of Huaycán east of Pachacamac and Lima

As the ancient home of one of South America’s largest Pre-Inca civilizations, the site has attracted copious attention from researchers over the years. Excavation on the site began in the late 1800s with the arrival of a German archaeologist, Max Uhle. In the past 20 years, archaeologists have made a number of remarkable discoveries in Pachacamac, including several pyramids and a cemetery.
    The point is, once again, we find strong evidence that the area between Pachacamac and Lima along the Peruvian coast was solidly occupied, with many, many buildings, including both public and private dwellings, as well as a myraid of roads connecting the area in every direction. As the claimed city of Zarahemla, this certainly fits the rise and development of the Nephite capital over the 600 years of its occupation.

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