Monday, June 24, 2019

Urban Sprawl of Ancient Zarahemla – Part IV

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.
    Continuing with the list of huacas or religious centers in Maranga, we come to the Huaca San Miguel:
Aerial view of huaca San Miguel, sandwiched in between high rise apartment buildings on three sides of the complex. We do not know how many other 

• Huaca San Miguel:
Intensive studies, investigations and preservation of the "Huaca San Miguel" (Parque de las Leyendas) in the years 2003 and 2004 revealed an impressive building constructed of mud bricks. Further studies and restorations in 2006 led to the assumption that the "Huaca San Miguel" originally was an important administrative center. Impressive are the huge enclosures with sidewalks, the elegant plastering of the floors and walls, and huge stairs of 518 feet long and 5½ feet wide.
    San Miguel is one of 53 archaeological monuments found in this area, including monument, administrative buildings, temples, palaces, walls, and roads, and formerly known as the Curacazgo de Maranga. The 2,000-year-old site is situated along the coastline, the site is bordered by Callao to the north and Magdalena del Mar to the south. Large portions of San Miguel district are taken up by the sprawling Parque de la Leyendas and the campuses of Universidad San Marcos and Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru.
    At one-time San Miguel was abandoned by its population and later reoccupied with huge enclosures and silos to store agricultural products were added. At the end of this "reoccupation" period the complex was also used as a burial ground, with archaeologists finding a 30 to 40-year-old tattooed man (El Personaje Tatuado), a 25 to 30-year-old woman (La Dama de los Batanes - the Lady of the walk-mill) and a mummy bundle containing an infant. Today, the archaeological investigations, the conservation and the reconstruction of the huaca are still taking place.
The Huaca Tres Palos aspart of the Maranga Archeological Complex in Lima Peru

• Huaca Tres Palos:
Situated about two blocks from the famed zoo in Tres Palos, and dwarfing the zoo’s walls, the 66-foot tall ancient site of Huaca Tres Palos, also called Huaca Pando or Huaca La Campana, it is an observatory of truncated pyramidal structure, with plastered walls painted in ocher white and yellow colors. The highest platform has 96 astronomical wells, forming a system for measuring time, seasons, and tides—knowledge applied in the organization of agriculture and fisheries. 
    The complex functioned as a temple, and along with Huacas La Cruz, San Miguel and Cruz Blanca, forms an architectural ensemble which today rests in the Parque de las Leyendas. On the west side is a lagoon or pond that in its time was supplied with water by a canal beinging water from the Rímac river.
Huaca La Cruz within the Parque de las Leyendas in the archaeological complex of Maranga

Huaca La Cruz:
Similar to the Huaca Tres Palos, and built at the same time, was also used as an administrative center. It is located within Parque de las Leyendas, or Park of Legends (Legends Park), which was built once the major walls around Lima were torn down in the 1870s, and today one of the most emblematic and favorite places for any Peruvian or foreign visitor who wishes ot connect with nature and cohabitate for a few moments with the biodiversity of Peru’s representative ecosystems. Unfortunately little is known about the Huaca La Cruz, but investigations of this complex are still ongoing.
The Huaca La Palma 

Huaca La Palma:
This was the principal building of the city of Maranga and presently the last of the major buildings on the grounds of the Parqaue Leyendas. This building was the principal administrative site and contained three platforms connected with two ramps. The base is surrounded by sidewalks and walls with small niches; unfortunately, the pyramid deteriorated a great deal before archaeological investigations began on it. Fortunately, some amazing friezes were discovered, preserved and restored in. They are the “Aves Piquero” and the “Cruces Escalonadas.” In fact, the "Huaca La Palma" is one of the few historical sites in the Lima area where archaeologist could discover and save amazing friezes (a band of decoration running along the wall).
    In addition, there are important Huacas that are part of this great ancient city of Maranga that are not in the park but are on private property. Two examples are, the Huaca San Marcos and Huaca Concha on property owned by the University of San Marcos. Unfortunately the monuments, complexes and pyramids built of adobe bricks and mud walls are quite deteriorated and continuing to do so.
    The "Huaca La Palma" is one of the few historical sites in the Lima area where archaeologist could discover and save amazing friezes ("frieze" = a band of decoration running along the wall). In 2001 the unique friezes of the "Aves Piquero" and of the "Cruces Escalonadas" were preserved and restored.
One of the four huge terraced pyramids at Mateo Salado Ruins in Miraflores on the southern outskirts of Lima and once part of the great Maranga city built at the end of the first century BC

Mateo Salado:
Found at the Plaza de la Bandera where the district of Pueblo Libre meets Breña and Lima Cercado, the ruins of five pyramids that make up this Lima Culture complex, called Huaca Mateo Salado, tower over the surrounding modern houses.
    The complex was named after a Frenchman called Matew Salé who lived there in the 1550s when the area was ancient farm land. It was once connected to and formed part of the great Maranga city that was built by the Lima culture or their predecessors. There was a long road running between the pyramids with a wall at either side. The Mateo Salado monuments were constructed and used at the same time as the new huacas were built in Maranga, those that now stand in the Park of Legends.
    Little now survives of the road that connected these ruins with Maranga, nor does much survive of the great number of ancient buildings and homes that covered the area. All has been built over by modern development in the 1800s and 1900s, and builders are still tearing down pyramids to build modern housing.
(See the next post, “Urban Sprawl of Ancient Zarahemla – Part V,” for more on the vast number of architectural sites in the greater Lima area that once made up a sizeable sprawling settlement covering a thousand square miles, but now mostly covered over by building expansion of Lima area.

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