Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Urban Sprawl of Ancient Zarahemla – Part V

Continued from the previous post regarding the vast number of architectural sites in the greater Lima area that once made up a sizeable sprawling complex covering a thousand square miles.
Huaca Puruchuco in the Ate District of Lima

Huaca Puruchuco:
On the northern edge of Lima lies the Huaca Puruchuco (“Feeather Hat”), in the Huaquerones section of the “Land of Pyramids.” The complex has ramps that contain one of the largest cemeteries in the region, and nearby are the pyramids of Pariachi and Huaycán. Sitting in a valley within a sprawling shantytown called Tupac Amaru lies the pre-Hispanic site, known to archaeologists as Puruchuco-Huaquerones that once was a main ceremonial center. During archaeological investigations the archaeologist Guillermo Cock discovered the extent of the hidden settlement.
    It appears that the elite were buried here, together with common people who probably lived in the nearby hills. Bodies from ten different social classes were found. 500-year-old bodies of more than two thousand men, women, and children were excavated from the large Inca graveyard.
    It is estimated that the area may contain the human remains of up 10,000. Also recovered with the mummies were nearly 60,000 artifacts, valuables, food and everyday utensils. The well-preserved mummies, the rich textiles and other pieces recovered are for archaeologists the base to discover more details about the early Peruvian culture and the daily life of the people themselves.
    As the archaeologists recovered the bodies, they found many of them in so called "mummy bundles," large cocoons that contained up to seven individuals and weighed 397 pounds. Some of the bundles held adults and children together, wrapped in layers of raw cotton and exquisite textiles. About 40 of the large mummy bundles were decorated with false heads, known as "cabezas falsas.” This type of heads was attached to mummy bundles of members of the Inca elite. One of the most important discoveries was the one of "El Rey del Algodón" (the Cotton King). He was wrapped in 330 pounds of finest cloth and had a "Feather hat." Wrapped and buried with him were an infant and numerous archaeological important objects, including food, ceramics, furs and other items.
    The investigations and excavation works of the biggest cemetery found so far, have uncovered a lot of evidence that will help to understand this culture much better. The mummy bundles and the amazing artifacts wrapped with them brought many new findings about the life and cultures of the ancients that have toppled a lot of old theories.
The Huaca Huantille in Lima

• Huaca Huantille:
This is one of many archaeological sites neglected or destroyed by Lima’s major city sprawl. Fortunately, this district has been instrumental in changing the long period of neglect to this site, and the huaca was restored, though at one time it was green farmland on the outer edge of the Maranga complex.
    This pyramid, now nearly gone, was the main part of the Señorío de Magdalena, a complex that included five other huacas which have been destroyed. The site was found to have only one third remaining of a once large complex once it was excavated after the families live on the grounds were relocated elsewhere, tough the loss over time was immeasurable. From its top, the pyramids of Maranga would  have been visible in antiquity.
Archaeologists have recently discovered dozens of artifacts such as ceremonial vases and intact mummies yet covered in fine textiles. At the present time it is under excavation by archaeologists who are working to prepare it for tourists.

A mud-brick pyramid, mostly demolished from city sprawl, sits in San Borjo, in an area next to San Isidro

• Huaca San Borja                                              
There were two pre-historic pyramids in the area of San Borja, the huaca Limatambo and the Huaca San Borja, though the former is closed at the moment undergoing archaeological studies. In these pyramids, built on mud foundations, there are inside enclosures, passages and uneven levels that was formerly called Surco, in this upscale area.
    Other huacas in the area that have since been destroyed or built over are: huaca Makatampu, a pyramid on the outer edges of Maranga in the Lurin Valley, which is one of the oldest pyramids in the entire region, and Huaca Manchay Alto, an ancient pyramid said to be 3000 years old, older than nearby Pachacamac.
• Huaca Balconcillo
Another pyramid complex existed on the northern edge of San Borja in the area of Limatambo known as Huaca Baloncillo in an area once referred to as Huaas de Lince. The site was fed by the Guacta (Huatica) canal that was built by the ancients and the area was the main settlement of the area, only slightly smaller than the city of Maranga.
The restored ruins of Santa Catalina, an ancient complex on the northern edge of San Isidro and San Borja

Huaca Santa Catalina:
This huaca was an administrative and religious centrr connected by water channels and roads, and dates from the time of the early Lima Culture. It was built in the style of the time with adobe bricks and smoothed over with plaster. It is located on the southern fringe of the area cllaed Limatambo, south of the Huaca Balconcillo. Built with adobe bricks and plastered over to form a series of smooth-faced walls, many of which were three-feet thick. It was extensively remodeled in the early AD period, and partially restored in the 1970s and made to look as it did during its earliest period. Numerous ceramics, textiles and tool artifacts have been found there. Many of these are housed in a small room of the site serving as a museum.
    A narrow front staircase that rests on each of the platforms climbs up three terraced levels to the top. In the penultimate platform, the staircase is wide and without walls along the  sides, and at the end the platform flows down  toward an altar with small and narrow stairs and rooms. It is thought that this altar was the place where the curaca—a member of the nobility often acting as administrator or ruler over an ayllu or group of ayllus, received the important subjects of the local leader or chief, where some religious right or service was carried out. The top two colcas (granary) were for the storage of food and supplies for the services conducted there.
    The point of all this is that in the greater Limarea, there are more than 360 known huacas and some may still be undiscovered. They're scattered throughout the city, hidden on residential streets and sandwiched between small businesses. The huacas are not concentrated in one part of Lima. Rather, huacas can be found across the city. They can be found everywhere, and obviously show a very extended ancient complex of pyramids and buildings, temples and palaces, outlying structures and homes that once nearly covered the entire greater Lima area in a single sprawling series of structures, denoting a huge population and thriving city and government life. For those understanding the growth that would have taken place following the period when Mosiah I and the Nephites discovered Zarahemla, this gigantic size of growth over hundreds of years of the Nephite nation shows a very credible comparison to the ancient complex from Pachacamac to Lima.

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