LIMA – An important religious temple of the Mochica culture, along with a group of tombs from all the cultures that inhabited the northern coast of Peru from 1,500 B.C. until the Spanish conquest, have recently been discovered in the Lambayeque region of Peru’s north coast.
Edgar Bracamonte, the archaeologist heading the project, told Efe Thursday that the discoveries indicate that the region, famous for the discovery of the magnificent tomb of the Lord of Sipan – considered the Tutankhamun of America – has many more surprises in store.
Work began on the Santa Rosa pre-Colombian tomb last November as part of a series of projects that include new explorations but also entail work to protect the archaeological sites from the weather and to prevent looting by tomb raiders.
Notable archaeological finds unearthed up to now include 14 tombs, completely intact, that date back to such cultures as the Chimu, Lambayeque and Inca, as well as other burial sites found opened and damaged – not by today’s archaeological tomb robbers but by the same ancient cultures that settled the area over the centuries.
“What we have found at the site is a complete sequence of cultural occupation of the northern coast of Peru in the Lambayeque Valley, from its primitive origins until the Incas – in other words, from 1,500 B.C. to the arrival of Spaniards in the area,” Bracamonte said.
For the archaeologist, the abundance of remains from all these cultures shows the importance of the site, which also, since they are concentrated at a central point in the Lambayeque Valley and not on one side of it like the tombs of Sipan, made the place “a point of control and exchange between the mountains and the coast.”
The other great discovery up to now is also related to this strategic geographical location: a temple of the Mochica culture from between 550 and 800 A.D.
It has been christened the “Temple of Clay” for the construction technique employed, which differs from the traditional adobe used in the rest of the area’s ancient structures.
“This was a traditional type of architecture in the Peruvian mountains,” Bracamonte said, adding that the numerous offerings found along with the altars and platforms seem to indicate the religious importance of the area.
The work of exploration will continue for now at the temple, where offerings of wood and ceramic objects are being dug up – work which, according to the archaeologist, will shed light on “cultural evolution in the northern region of Peru and its processes of syncretism.” EFE