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Aerchaeological Complex of Cajamarquilla

The Dead City of Cajamarquilla

Complejo Arqueológico de Cajamarquilla

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  • Lurigancho-Chosica
City (Peru)

The "Dead City" of Cajamarquilla is located in today's district of San Juan de Lurigancho (close to the Parque Zoologico Huachipa in Ate-Vitarte). On the remains of an earlier settlement, the Wari built this archaeological complex around 500 AD. Cajamarquilla developed to the major commercial, administrative and military center with a population of about 15,000 people.

The extensive remains of the archaeological complex include ancient dwellings constructed with mud walls, pyramids, temples and streets. After the decline of the Wari other cultures like the Ichma and Inca occupied the city. The few investigations made in Cajamarquilla brought new knowledge about ancient cultures and about the city itself. Archaeologists today assume that Cajamarquilla wasn't the main city of the Wari, in fact it was abandoned at this time. They believe that cultures before and especially after the Wari period like the Ichma left us this impressive site.

Only this finding should be enough reason to continue the research of the whole area. But even though the importance of Cajamarquilla is recognized, the complex was barely investigated or restored. Today the archaeological complex seems to be forgotten and left to deteriorate. The land around the site is occupied with squatter houses built by peasants fleeing the political violence of the Shining Path in the 80s and 90s.

Much of the ancient city has been used as a latrine, dumping ground and grazing area. An estimated 25 percent has been destroyed completely so far. Hopefully soon the awareness for the great patrimony that is hidden in the ancient walls of Cajamarquilla will not only be recognized officially, but the archaeological complex will be treated with more respect.

The complex has a small on-site museum and since 2012 a garden with native plants.


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