Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Megatropolis of Ancient Andean Peru

In the ancient Latin Language, the word metropolis, which was borrowed from the Greek, meant “chief town or capital city of a province,” and was first used in English in the 13th century referencing “metropol” or “metropolitan” “pertaining to or belonging to a metropolis.” It was also found in 1530 referencing a “seat of a metropolitan bishop.”
    The word was used initially in the Greek for “Mother City,” and referenced a large city or conurbation which was a significant economic, political, and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections, and sent out settlers into the surrounding areas. This was later generalized to a city regarded as a center of a specified activity, or any large, important city in a nation.
    In ancient Peru, there is one area that exemplifies this definition more than any other and that is the area of today’s Lima and southward to Pachacamac, an overall area of more than a thousand square miles (by comparison New York City 468 square miles; Los Angeles is 503 square miles, and Mexico City is 573 square miles).
    The massive ancient buildings of Pachacamac and Lima, the Nephite Capital City and its Broad Urban Design is a true metropolitan conurbation that stretches along the central coast of Peru and into the Chillón, Rímac, and Lurín valleys where construction has developed and spread to link areas to create a single urban settlement.
    Lima is one of the most interesting and challenging cities in South America with a huge archaeological, historical and cultural past. Long before the Common Era until the arrival of the Spaniards numerous highly advanced cultures settled the area of today's Lima. Even today they amaze the viewer and historian with their complex skills in construction, agriculture and arts.
    There are to date about 250 discovered pyramidal and archaeological sites, many of which have only been uncovered in recent years. These huacas (sacred place) or archaeological complexes include sites that were at least partially spared from destruction and deterioration as the modern sprawl of this region swept over the entire Lima to Pachacamac complex. Some of these ruins stand out right in the middle of the huge metropolis as a permanent reminder of the great ancient cultures in the region.
    The area of today's Lima City and Province has been already inhabited for many thousands of years. That's the reason why you will find hundreds of ancient settlements hidden somewhere in Lima and the surroundings. But only around 250 archaeological sites and huacas in the capital are registered with the National Institute of Culture.
From Lima in the north to Pachacamac in the south, these 250 archaeological sites command great attention for their contribuiton to the knowledge of this ancient area

These ancient historical sites and buildings are spread over the traditional and modern districts of Lima. Explorers and archaeologists rediscovered a few hundred years back many of these historical monuments, but their findings were until generally ignored until only a few years ago. Unfortunately today only a few huacas are cared for, preserved, restored or investigated in an appropriate manner. Most of the valuable reminders of Lima's rich archaeological and historical past seem to be forgotten.
    Most sites are totally neglected, left to deteriorate and exposed to Lima’s urban expansion. There are, as an example, residences, small plantations, rubbish, a soccer field or even a garage in an archaeological complex or on top of an ancient temple. It is not surprising to see major roads literally cutting through a historical complex.
    Yet, at one time, this ancient metropolis covered more than a thousand square miles, larger than any modern city, with hundreds of known ancient sites, and several hundred more believed to have been permanently covered over by modern expansion nd building in the area.
    Fortunately, awareness of ancient cultures has grown over the past few years in Andean Peru, and thanks to the efforts of the Peruvian government, the Municipality of Lima, cultural institutions, archaeologists, companies and private citizen projects, Peru has started to save at least a few of these ancient relics. Huacas like "Huaca Mateo Salado" in Pueblo Libre, "Huaca Santa Cruz" in San Isidro, "Huaca Santa Catalina" in La Victoria, "Huaca Huantille" in Magdalena, "Huaca San Borja" in San Borja, "Huaca Rosada" in San Miguel, "Huaca Capillo" in Ventanilla and the "Archaeological Complex of Puruchuco" are being preserved from further deterioration, investigated and restored. These enormous efforts and the costs involved are opening the door to more and greater knowledge of the civilization that started these sites more than two thousand years ago.
The huge pyramid complex located in urban Lima of the downtown Miraflores District

Those sites that have been uncovered, have so far yielded great structures built by ancient cultures (or one single culture dominating the land for a thousand years), with valuable artifacts and mummies within a short time. Day by day more information and details about the life, culture, religion, social structure, skills, techniques and abilities regarding arts and handicrafts were revealed.
    The archaeological complex of Pachacamac is located within this overall metropolis, around 25-miles south-east of Lima’s present-day city center. The enormous site is very impressive with its great pyramidal temples, dwellings, remains of frescoes decorating the adobe walls and other interesting archaeological constructions built. The site was the most important religious center of indigenous people at the Peruvian coast in pre-Hispanic times.
    It was the main destination for pilgrims in the coastal region and attracted worshippers from all over Peru. Extensive research and excavations, especially in the last couple of years, revealed amazing findings about the significance and history of Pachacamac. The on-site museum displays artifacts discovered at Pachacamac (astonishing ceramics, beautiful textiles and religious pieces) and at the same time explains the history and importance of the Ceremonial Center of Pachacamac to its visitors.
The guarded entrance of Pachacamac, a complex built for and named after the “The One Who Animates the World,” and the God who created the world as understood by the Ancient Peruvians 

The Ceremonial Center of Pachacamac was dedicated to the most important "god" at the Peruvian coast in pre-Hispanic times—Pachacamac, which translated means "The one who animates the world"), who was a powerful god that was the creator of the world. The occupation of Pachacamac began around the end of the first century BC, and was the first temple site in the Lima cultural area. The materials used and the construction techniques were very complex for that timed, with stone walls serving as a base for the amazing structures made of "adobitos" (small adobe bricks that can also be seen at the "Conjunto de Adobitos", the "Templo de Urpiwachak" and the "Templo Viejo."
At the time, Pachacamac's influence was only local; however, as the people began to expand and fill up the land, the size of the complex and ever-expanding influence made it the most important site along the central coast and a place of continued growth, power, influence and the adoration of "Pachacamac."
    In time the ceremonial center of Pachacamac increased its magnificence. The "Templo Pintado" was fortified and 15 main temples and "stepped pyramids" with ramps, storage facilities and patios were erected. These constructions were mainly built with adobe bricks and mortar; plastered but not painted. Two main streets connected the magnificent temples.
Today, Pachacamac is a vast complex of buildings, temples, roads, and outlying buildings that dominates the entire region 

The complex of Pachacamac was one of the largest centers in central Peru, and over the years grew into the massive complex stretching across what is today Lima’s metropolitan area. Obviously, in the ancient past, when the pyramids and buildings were being constructed, the site would have been seen as a capital of an Empire, or the seat of the Nation. Just as obviously, it fits the description of the Nephite Zarahemla to which Mosiah I led the more righteous Nephites when they quit the city of Nephi in the midst of growing evil to which the Lord told him to leave and take “as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart with him” (Omni 1:12). The following description of the people of Zarahemla which Mosiah discovered was of a people who had not achieved much in the way of progress, and likely had little in the way of buildings of development. The story of Pachacamac is that at some point toward the end of the first century BC, the city began to grow and never stopped growing until it had achieved the conurbation that marked the height of 1000 years of Nephite achievement.

No comments:

Post a Comment