Thursday, May 5, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en una huaca

Today I took advantage of a day off from classes to visit Huaca Pucllana. (PUCP does exams right. Midterms are spread through a whole week with a weekend before to study. None of this two day at the end of a week business. But I digress)

Anyway, Huaca Pucllana is an archaeological site (look! I spelled it right) located right in Miraflores. It is from the Lima culture and also has Wari remains. (As well as a later culture whose name I didn't quite catch; it sounded like it started with an I) It looks like a big pile of dirt in the middle of a city from the outside but it's much more than that. Our tour guide was excellent, very informative and easy to understand. (Yes, we took the Spanish tour. No English for us)

Huaca Pucllana means, roughly, toy oracle. That was our translation based on learning huaca means oracle (me in my History of Peru class) and pucllana means toy (Melissa in her Quechua class) Our guide explained that huaca referred to any sacred place, it could be a temple, a stone, the ocean, etc... and pucllana referred to playing games but sacred ones in this case. So we had the right idea.

Here from atop the pyramid you can see part of the rest of the site and the surrounding city

The walls are built with the "librero" technique; librero as in libro as in book because the blocks look like books all lined up. This style gives the wall the flexibility necessary to withstand earthquakes for the hundreds of years it has.

The side of the pyramid. The pyramid does not have a point because it is solid, no rooms inside, so the top has plazas that were used for a variety of religious and secular purposes. It wasn't built all at once, a cross-section would show distinct layers.

A Wari tomb with examples of how they would've been buried, including the types of provisions for the afterlife that would have been present. The Wari took over the area from the Lima and buried their people here as part of their way to claim the land. Our guide explained that destroying the ancestral burials of another group was a powerful way to defeat them.

The pyramid we got to go on top of.

Hasta la proxima!

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