Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Huaca Pucllana

One evening in Lima my sisters, a couple of cousins, and I went out to dinner at La Huaca Pucllana.

La Huaca Pucllana is a restaurant in Lima's Miraflores district, which overlooks the pre-Inca adobe structure for which the restaurant is named.

 I had been there previously, many years ago, but had not then had the opportunity to dine outside, on the patio, overlooking the huaca itself. 

The huaca Pucllana (also known in older references as the huaca Juliana) is the remains of a 1,500-year old temple complex of the Lima culture, which flourished in the area for centuries before the Yschma,Wari, and later the Incas, left their mark.

It is amazing that such a structure still survives in the midst of a modern city of nearly 11 million inhabitants.  I the early 20th Century, in fact, part of the huaca was destroyed as a brick manufacturer mined it for the clay in its adobe bricks.  Another section was demolished to make room for surrounding streets.

The first exploratory archaeological digs took place at the huaca in 1967. Finally, in 1981 sustained systematic archaeological work was begun, and in 1984 a site museum and "historic-cultural park" were established.  The 37-acre site includes the 75-foot pyramid proper, and a surrounding ceremonial/administrative sector of smaller, interconnected, buildings and courtyards.


 Archaeological investigations have revealed that the site likely began as a temple to a sea divinity of the culture we have come to call Lima, in about 500 CE.   From about 800 CE the Wari people used it as a cemetery for their local elites.  After the collapse of Wari civilization in the 12th Century the site temples appear to have fallen into disrepair for some centuries. At various times, until the Spanish rolled into town, the Yschma villagers to repair or shore up portions of the huaca, particularly on the western side, facing the sea --an echo through the centuries of the site's original purpose.