For thousands of years, areas along the north coast of Peru have been subject to huge flooding as a result of El Niño, a periodic warming in the atmosphere of the Pacific Ocean, which causes torrential rainfall in the eastern Pacific. El Niño events are unpredictable, occurring anywhere from every 6-7 years to every 10-20 years, and are generally seen as a disruptive force, but recent archaeological work in the Pampa de Mocan, a coastal desert plain in northern Peru, indicates that this was not always the case.
Excavating remarkable Inca rituals After the Acari Valley was absorbed by the Inca Empire, Tambo Viejo was founded to oversee its inhabitants. This imperial imposition seemingly resembled many others in the region, but excavation has exposed architectural and ritual oddities. Lidio M Valdez reveals what makes the site unique. The fully fledged Inca Empire controlled […]
Discovering Peruvian pyramid tombs Recent excavations at Huaca El Pueblo, a mud-brick pyramid erected by the Moche, have revealed three remarkable burials dating to the 4th century AD. As well as providing a poignant glimpse of these individuals’ lives, the rites that consigned them to the earth offer clues to help solve the enduring mystery […]
Survey near the town of Palpa, Peru, has revealed a wealth of geoglyphs. Are they older than their celebrated neighbours at Nasca? And were they aimed at a very different audience?
When the Spanish conquistador Hernando Pizarro arrived at Pachacamac, Peru, in January 1533, he had before him one of the jewels of the Inca Empire. ‘We arrived,’ he wrote, ‘in this city thathat seems very old because most of the buildings are in ruins.’ Archaeological research at the site has since vindicated his judgement.
Archaeologists investigating the Late Formative Period temple complex at Pacopampa (featured in CWA 75) discovered Inca offerings deposited more than 1,000 years after the site was abandoned. The find suggests that ancestoral ceremonial centres maintained their spiritual connection with subsequent cultures long after their original inhabitants were lost to living memory. Archaeologists from the Pacopampa […]
Nadia Durrani, former editor of CWA During my time as editor of CWA, I visited some of the world’s most exciting sites. Of these, perhaps the most extraordinary was that of the Lords of Sipán (CWA 35). Lying on the white-hot coastal strip between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains of northern Peru, it […]
Archaeological sites that take years to record using traditional methods could be mapped in minutes, according to new research by Vanderbilt University. At Mawchu Llacta, a 16th-century colonial town in Peru, scientists are testing a remote-controlled flying device called SUAVe (Semi-autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), which is small enough to fit in a backpack and takes […]
By Melissa A Vogel University Press of Florida, £64.50 ISBN 978-0813037967 This is the first English-language work on the Casma, a pre-Inca culture that has received little academic attention to-date – something that Melissa Vogel sets out to redress. Focusing on the northernmost part of the polity, Vogel discusses a pivotal period, AD 900-1300, […]
The discovery of an intact Moche royal tomb was like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. A gang of impoverished local looters entered one of three pyramids at Huaca Rajada, Sipan, a major Moche site near the Peruvian coast.
Why were the bodies of a dozen newborn babies placed around the edge of a 1,000-year-old tomb?
Tiffiny A. Tung University Press of Florida, £64.50 ISBN 978-0813037677 Between AD 600-1000, the Wari Empire represented one of the first politically centralised states in the New World. This study reveals the biological and social impact of the military aggression on which this power was founded, with groundbreaking DNA and osteological data shedding light on […]