Saturday, June 15, 2019

Earliest Cities in Andean Peru

The modern city of Lima was first begun with its foundation by Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535. Before that, it was an Incan city, which they absorbed from a previous culture called the Ichma (Yschma, Ychsma, Ishma, or Ishmay), also known as the Rimac. The Ichma were located south of Lima in the Lurin Valley, where Pachacamac is located, then later spread into the Rimac Valley. Prior to the Ichma, the area was controlled by the Wari Empire, which had 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, requiring leaders to plan projects and organize large amounts of labor to accomplish such projects.
The various cultures and cities of Pre-Columbian Peru associated with the initial development of the western coastal lands

At the same time as the Wari, to the southeast was the Tiwanaku culture, extending westward and northward from Lake Titicaca. While the Wari and Tiwanaku were initially considered the same people by archaeologists and anthropologists, lately they have separated the two peoples, even though they admit the origins of their political and artistic forms are unclear. Yet, they claim that emerging evidence suggests that rather than being the result of Tiwanaku traits diffusing north, the Wari and Tiwanaku ideological formations may be traceable to previous developments at Pukara, an early culture to the north of Lake Titicaca. In addition, the Wari were preceded by the Moche, who were preceded by the Virú culture, who date back to 200 BC. At the same time, what is called the Lima Culture occupied some of this area from about 100 Ad onward. Finally before the Virú were the Chavín culture which dates to about 900 BC.
    Whether these were actually a single people with varied building and ceramic skills, or entirely different people is unclear, and unknowable since there are no written records to make such claims.
    In the Valley of the Rimac River is the modern city of Lima sprawling over a vast area of 1,032 square miles. By comparison, Salt Lake City encompasses 110 square miles, Los Angeles is 469 square miles, and Mexico City 573 square miles. The problem is, the vast expansion of this area called Lima today began with the Spanish conquest in the 16th century and has increased over the years since until today it houses 9,751,717 people and is the 27th largest city in the world (New York City has 8.623 million and Los Angeles has 4 million). All this expansion has accounted for the destruction of numerous archaeological sites in what is now the Lima Metro area and mars the realization that this entire area was once antiquity’s largest developed area in the Americas.
    In fact, few visitors to Lima know that it was once a vast ancient city complex boasting at least 40 pyramid like structures, each made up of millions of clay adobe bricks. What is available today is only a small portion of those sites dotted on the landscape between Pachacamac thru Miraflores and to downtown Lima itself.
The mud brick settlement and cities that made up the vast complex area just south of Lima (LtoR) Pachacamac, San Marcos, and Pucllana

Lima was founded as a Spanish city in 1535, initially due its proximity to the ocean and thus an exit point for Inca gold and silver stolen by the Spanish and shipped back to Spain, as well as an arrival place for more European colonists. Today, it bears the inscription: “Peru’s modern capital, Lima, was designed as a garden city in 1535 by Spanish Conquistadors to replace its ancient past as a religious sanctuary with 37 pyramids.”
Additional mud brick monumental buildings in Lima; (LtoR) Huallamarca, Maseo Salado, and Juliana

These early peoples, considered to be overlapping, but separate, cultures by archaeologists and anthropologists, occupied the Chillon, Rimac and Lurin River valleys beginning in the mid to last half of the first century BC, even though these scientists admit it is very difficult to distinguish one culture from another. With 40 pyramids now identified in this area, though how many more might have once stood is unknown, it brings to mind a statement made by Mormon: “But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness, and their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings, and their plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be contained in this work” (Helaman 3:14).
    Obviously, with Pachacamac toward the south of this metro area as the City of Zarahemla, and the expansion that must have taken place after Mosiah discovered the people of Zarahemla, with the Nephites spreading across the land (Heleman 3:8). We also find that the Church grew in numbers with tens of thousands joining the Church (Helaman 3:24-26). Obviously, this would have caused the building of many temples, synagogues and sanctuaries.
In some cases the developments grew up around an ancient pyramid. Top: Huaca Pucllana now stands in the center of Miraflores on the southern precincts of Lima; Bottom: Huallamarca is in the center of San Isidro in Lima

Today, there is a massive effort to maintain and improve the ancient site of Huaca Pucllana in the center of Miraflores district of Lima, which grew up all around the pyramid. Thankfully Pucllana and Huallamarca, along with a few other sites still exist. Unfortunately, most of the other ancient pyramidal structures were literally bulldozed out of existence as the population of Lima expanded over time. While today, Pucllana has an adobe finish, anciently it had a right colored stucco finish.
    Another of the ancient works which has thankfully been preserved and in fact restored is Huaca Huallamarca, located in the fashionable San Isidro area of Lima. It is a towering edifice of millions of hand -made adobe bricks and since the Lima area receives only about 1 to 2 inches of rain per year, it has stood the test of natural, as well as man-made forces.
    The point is, the territory around what is now Lima, Peru, and the ancient city of Zarahemla, now called Pachacamac, match the scriptural record in the descriptions Mormon provides us. Obviously, after the Nephites reached Zarahemla, they multiplied and spread out over the land, requiring the building of numerous urban and suburban sites, and expanding the ones already in existence. After all, Zarahemla became the capital of the Nephite nation, and would have been quite large in size and function, as this region of Lima is and has been through its recorded history.

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