The Archaeological Complex "Huaca Pucllana" was an Administrative and Ceremonial Center of the Lima Culture, a society that developed at the Peruvian Central Coast between 200 AD and 700 AD. Located in today's district of Miraflores the "Huaca Pucllana" was built around 500 AD. "Pucllana" is one of the most important ancient monuments in Lima.
Located right in the middle of a modern residential area it is resisting the urban growth and reminding the Limeños every day about their archaeological patrimony. The complex consists of the archaeological ruins itself, a small site museum, an area for workshops, a small souvenir shop and a restaurant.
Huaca Pucllana History
The Huaca Pucllana was described and studied by travelers and explorers since the 19th century. The real professional investigations only started in the middle of the 20th century when the top of the pyramid was exposed. In 1981 permanent works on the archaeological complex including excavations and conservation revealed the importance of the "Huaca Pucllana". The "Instituto Nacional de Cultura" (Peruvian Cultural Institute) and the "Municipalidad de Miraflores" (Municipality of Miraflores) signed an agreement in 1991 that allowed the "Huaca Pucllana" to become a historical and cultural park.
With success an extensive program of investigation and preservation was brought on the way. Investigations are still going on. Archaeologist learnt a lot about pre-Hispanic life of ancient Peruvians. Based on the "Huaca Pucllanas" architecture and found objects, it is believed that the complex was the heart of development of the "Lima Culture" and served as a ceremonial and administrative center. It was ruled by a group of priests that politically governed as well the valleys of Chancay, Chillón, Rímac and Lurín.
Assumed life of ancient limeños at Huaca Pucllana
Adobe Pyramid Pucllana in Lima
The Peruvian Cultural Institute and the Municipality of Miraflores signed an agreement in 1991 that allowed the Huaca Pucllana to become a historical and cultural park.
Adobe Pyramid Pucllana in Lima
Pre-Inca life at Huaca Pucllana, Lima
The "Huaca Pucllana" was clearly separated by a large wall (north - south direction) into two different parts:
- The administrative sector and the urban zone were located towards the east of this wall with places presumably used for public meetings, to discuss control and improvement of production. A number of small buildings, squares, ramps, patios and storage rooms completed this part.
- The ceremonial sector towards the western part of the wall, contained the pyramid (made of adobe bricks, 500 metres long, more than 100 metres wide, 22 metres high) and adjacent places. Priests conducted here religious ceremonies honoring the Gods and ancestors.
Archaeologists discovered textiles, decorated ceramics, bones, stone tools and remains of alpacas, guinea pigs, ducks, fish and other molluscs, corn, pumpkins, beans and fruits like cherimoya, lúcuma, pacae, guayaba. The findings give vital information about the life of the first "Limeños". The houses were built near plantations or close to irrigation channels and typically for this time made of reed and adobe.
Aerial view of Huaca Pucllana in Miralfores
The Archaeological Complex Huaca Pucllana was an administrative and ceremonial center of the Lima culture, a society that developed at the Peruvian Central Coast between 200 AD and 700 AD.
Huaca Pucllana is one of the most important ancient monuments in Lima.
The Pucllana complex consists of the archaeological ruins itself, a small site museum, an area for workshops, a small souvenir shop and a restaurant.
Huaca Pucllana by night
The day to day labor involved fishing, working on the plantations, gathering and hunting, manufacturing of handicrafts, textiles, basketry and tools for agriculture and fishing. Cooperative operations were carried out to construct and maintain irrigation channels. The simple burial sites and missing weapons among the burial objects seem to indicated, that the population lived a very basic and peaceful live. Their textiles were simple as well, made of wool from alpaca or vicuña. Artistic pottery included ceremonial jars decorated with snakes and fish in black, red and white.
With the arrival of the "Wari" who overthrow all other cultures at the coast of Peru around 700 AD, "Pucllana" lost its importance and was abandoned. During the Wari period the pyramid was used as burial place for their notabilities. Later those graves were destroyed by the "Ichma" (local residents who worshipped Pachacámac) that tried to impose their own culture. After some time the "Huaca Pucllana" was only used for performing sacrifices and worshipping. By the time the Incas arrived in the region "Pucllana" already was considered a "ñaupallaqta" (an old sacred village).
Recent Discoveries at the Huaca Pucllana
During ongoing excavations an undisturbed grave was discovered recently. On the 20th of October 2010 archaeologists announced the finding of 4 well bundled mummies from the Wari culture. According to the excavation director of the Huaca Pucllana the mummies include what appear to be an elite woman and three children who may have been sacrificed to accompany her into the afterlife.
Huaca Pucllana Museum
The on-site museum exhibits an interesting collection of ceramics, textiles, tools, artefacts and remains of plants and animals that were found at the "Huaca Pucllana". With a guided tour around the archaeological complex you can experience the life of the ancient population first hand.
Interesting is the small park dedicated to the local flora and fauna showing plants and animal species already known during the Lima Culture. At the cultural promotion area, seminars and workshops are held. A nice one is the "Arqueología para niños" (archaeology for kids), where children can enjoy digging and the manufacturing of textiles and ceramics. If you are hungry, after such a rich cultural experience, taste some typical Peruvian dishes at the on site restaurant.