Pre-Inca Cultures around Trujillo

Around Trujillo evidence has been found from ancient civilisations. Many adobe structures and tombs are unearthed in the region, so the next couple of days we’ll try to discover something about this Moche and other cultures residing there…
From our comfortable hostal we have a great opportunity to do so. As a nice extra, just outside some delicious chevice is sold. An ideal breakfast for a couple of days. And it are not only the two of us who like that small chevice cart a lot.

To understand the sequence and cultures, hereby a short timescale from the different cultures in the area :
1000 – 300 BC : Chavin period
300 BC – 200 AC : Paracas culture
100 – 700 : Moche culture
600 – 1000 : Lambayeque
1000 – 1400 : Chimú, Sicán
1400 – 1500 : Inca
1500 – 1821 : Spanish conquistadores
28 july 1821 : Simon Bolivar frees enters Lima as a ‘Libertador’

Our discovery starts with the exploration of Chan Chan, one of the biggest adobe – a kind of clay stone – cities in the world. This complex is mainly Chimú, dating from 1100 up to 1450. Fishnet patterns, fishes and a kind of dragon figure greet us during the exploration of that complex. Part of it is restored, so you get a nice impression of the palace you’re wandering through.
After that we pay a brief visit to the huaca La Esmeralda and huaca Arco Iris, both religious centres of the Chimú culture. We end our journey with a nice sea view in Huanchaco. There the typical caballitos – small totora reed boats – are displayed, and also a pier flooded by pelicans.

The next day we visit the centre of the old Moche culture, by passing along the huaca del sol and the huaca de la luna. An interesting museum starts the tour, after which we see typical bass reliefs on the pyramid walls. Here we discover that the blood offers and human sacrifices executed by these people, only happened at special occasions. They were part of very special ceremonies, where warriors defeated in ritual combat were sacrificed.
It was also an important part of the Moche culture to bury old temples, by building a new one over the previous, to symbolise the never ending cycle of rebirth.

From Trujillo we take a bus to Chiclayo, another important centre. There the finding of the graves of priests, warriors and others opened up a whole part of the region. These findings are displayed in the national museum of Sipán, where we learn more about this Moche culture, ranging from 0 to 600.
The huaca Rajada is the official finding place of these treasures, so we visit that spot the next day.
Around Chiclayo we also visit the important Chimú, Sicán and Moche pyramid complex of Túcume, one of the greatest complexes here in Iberoamerica.

The last visit goes to a special mummy found in the area, ‘la señora de Cao’. This special discovery reveals one of the few female chieftains in the area. Archaeologists still search for answers about that mummy. That lady was discovered in the ‘El Brujo’ complex, where also a group of beautiful frescoes are unearthed.

One important, but overargumented element in these cultures needs some deeper explanation… Human sacrifices. At different locations here, there is found evidence about this technique, but they use this only at very important occasions. The ones who sacrificed themselves felt it often as a honour to serve their people. It was only done for the good of the society and to calm down their gods.
For us, this looks and sounds strange, but here it was generally accepted. The civilisations we’re facing here are very peaceful, they lived in total harmony with nature and their neighbours… But this was all ended cruelly by the Spanish Conquistadores, who murdered entire nations in America, with the help of the inquisition. But more, they stole the immense gold treasures, melted down all these valuable ritual artefacts and shipped them to Europe, to finance their wars. Sacrificing far more human blood, even spoiling it in a myriad of ways! So which is then the most cruel ?!?