A group of children and adolescents buried as an offering and an atypical cemetery of the Moche civilization have archaeologists excavating the ceremonial center of Santa Rosa de Pucalá, whose content may rewrite the history of the north of Ancient Peru, in suspense.
Thanks to the latest findings made in this place in the northern Peruvian region of Lambayeque, two paradigms can be broken, since this archaic location allows us to reconstruct the interaction of the different civilizations that passed through it, having been used at least since 400 BC.
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The first is that the Huari, the first empire of pre-Hispanic South America that had its heyday between the centuries VII and XIII, he did not always need to use violence to dominate the coast of present-day Peru; and the second is that the Moche, the civilization that dominated the north coast of Peru between the 2nd and 7th centuries, was not as homogeneous as previously thought.
This year they managed to unearth the oldest bases of a series of three temples built one on top of the other and found, in the first of them, four children and adolescents buried as an offering along with four other camelids and eight guinea pigs (guinea pigs) that were sacrificed at the time of burial.
“It would be offerings and rituals related to the beginning of construction by a local population with a lot of cultural influence huari”, Explained the archaeologist Édgar Bracamonte, director of the Lambayeque Valley Archaeological Project and in charge of the Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum.
It remains to be verified by anthropological analysis if the children and adolescents were also sacrificed before being buried, about AD 850 and 900, something common in ancient Peruvian civilizations, as has recently been discovered on the Peruvian coast with the Chimú, near the current city of Trujillo.
At least one of them is certain that it was not sacrificed, since apparently it was extracted from another tomb and placed in that place, being now found without limbs.
“They are rituals related to ancestry, which consist of removing the body from one side and carrying the parts that can be transported to the new temple, ”said Bracamonte.
The shape of the temple draws attention to have a D-shaped plant, typical of the Huari civilization, which emerged from the southern Andean region of Ayacucho before the heyday of the Incas.
“It is the only site on the Peruvian coast where this D-shaped architecture has been found,” highlights Bracamonte, who rules out a military invasion by the Huari as he does not currently find elements in the place, not even polychrome ceramic objects, very distinctive of the huari.
“Previously we found fairly clear evidence of festive encounters of civilizations from the mountains to this part of the valley, and these festivals would generate a new population with shared identities,” said the archaeologist.
30 Unearthed tombs dating from between AD 100 and 400 were found in the Moche cemetery.
Puzzling find underground
More enigmatic and surprising to archaeologists turns out to be the Moche cemetery discovered in the same place, with almost 30 tombs unearthed dating from between 100 and 400 AD.
These tombs are contemporary to the one known as the old Lord of Sipán, predecessor of the Lord of Sipán, the first great ruler of Ancient Peru, compared to Tutankhamun for the sumptuousness of his tomb, found in the Huaca Rajada, located just 3 kilometers in a straight line from Santa Rosa de Pucalá.
However, the pattern of these tombs discovered in Santa Rosa de Pucalá does not have the same relationship as the mausoleums built in honor of the great Mochica rulers.
While in Sipán there were large burial chambers with all kinds of gold, silver and copper objects, here a chamber was found with a woman and a child without any decorative metal element, and next to it a simple grave of a man who wore ear muffs. copper and a scepter, in addition to fine vessels.
“There is no logical explanation. These findings make us rethink a lot what we knew about the Mochicas. It makes us think that they would not be a homogeneous cultural unit, but that there would be different groups with the same ideology but with political and cultural fragmentation, which are buried in different ways”He added.
Archaeological excavations continue to solve these enigmas, thanks to the donation fund administered by the Executing Unit 005 Naylamp-Lambayeque of the Ministry of Culture of Peru, and with the support of local companies and the Zevallos Reyes family.
“There is no logical explanation. These findings make us rethink a lot what we knew about the Mochicas.”
– Edgar Bracamonte