Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Painting the Town Red with the Jeffries

On the Jeffries' 2nd day in Lima, we visited the Ancient Ones. Our guide and friend, Graciela, hired a van and driver to take us to San Isidro and Mireflores for the day.

These statues represent the age-old method for making adobe brick. The progenitors of these Ancient Ones still follow the same methods today as the pictures in the Road to Cusco Blog show. These brick makers would have lived about the time of Christ and for 700 years until they were conquered by the people who lived just east of La Molina. The Purochuco pictures show their lifestyle. Margaret and Ted and the kids visited Purochuco on Sunday after Sacrament Meeting.

Huaca Huallamarca, a restored pre-Incan religous site, is located in San Isidro, not far from the offices of the Lima Central and South Missions and a couple of blocks from the first property the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owned in Peru. Huallamarca was occupied from 400 BC until about the time of Christ when they were conquered. Then the pyramid was used as a cemetary. It is a sacred site where the mumified remains of Princess Huallamarca, a noble woman, are buried.

We have been by it often but never had the time to visit. It took the Jeffries coming to Lima to get us there. The climb is steep but the effort is really worth it. The views are spectacular and we had a rare, perfectly sunny day. Because it doesn't rain in Lima, the site is perfectly preserved.

These original bricks were found only about 20 years ago when the site was discovered. The huaca or sacred site is surrounded by 100-150 year-old stately Colonial style mansions, businesses and grand hotels. Only in the 1970s did Lima begin to protect the ancient sites.
This is an artist's rendition of what Huallamarca must have looked like. On the back side to the left of the picture is the burial grounds which are open for view now. The mumified bodies were discovered wrapped in cloth and lying in the fetal position. Many still had hair and fingernails, and the cloths they were buried in had retained their colors.

Emma, Spencer, and Kate are at the top of the ramp. Our guide is walking down the ramp. The burial sites are to the right and the visitors' center is at the bottom on the right. This picture really doesn't show the steepness of the ramp, but it does show the proximity of large homes and apartment buildings just across the street.

This is just one of the many baskets found by archeologists at Huallamarca.

We are fascinated by the various cactus plants we see all over La Molina. I asked Emma to pose because she was studying these particularly healthy plants at Huallamarca.

This foto is a study in perspective. Margaret is on the ramp just a little over half way to the top. Ted is to the right and Emma, Spencer and Kate are against the wall. Dad and I are in the foreground. Spencer is nearly 5' tall. Emma is 5' 7", Ted is 6'2", Margaret is 5'6", and Kate is 4'. Dad is 5'6" and I am not quite 5'. Fun picture!

After spending more than an hour at Haullamarca, we went to Mireflores where the Wari people lived for 700 years after Christ. This huaca called Pucllana is massive, maybe in area about the size of two large city blocks. The inhabitants of this site, the Warii, conquered the people who lived at Haullamarca. These people were then conquered by the people who lived at Purochuco. Then in the 1400s they were conquered by the Inca.

Ted and Emma are standing on the sidewalk on the far side of the site. Across the street are houses. Imagine having the view of an ancient site out your front window.

We had climbed to one of the levels when I took this picture of Margaret. You can get a sense of the grandeur of the site. When you look closely, you can see the formed bricks which together make the great mound. Before this site was uncovered, it looked like any other brown dirt and rock cerro or hill of which there are many in Lima. We often wonder aloud how many of the cerros reaching into La Molina and other districts of Lima like fingers are really sacred pre-Inca or Inca sites.

This pot was found intact. The colors are rich. Designs like these, The Nasca Lines, are found etched over a large area on the mountains about four hours south of Lima. The Nasca Lines can only be appreciated by plane.

This is the front view of Pucllana and only a fraction of the site which extended south and included a zoo and an herb garden. This was a fascinating site because the garden and zoo represented the kinds of herbs, plants, reeds, trees, and flowers used for cooking, for medicine, for making reed boats, for the wood for building material, and for the plants for dying cotton and the wool of the llama. The zoo was clean and neat. There were guinea pig, the ceremonial food of the pre-Inca, llama, vicuna, sheep, monkey, and goats, and wild turkey.

This picture shows recent, ongoing excavation as well as how close the city is to the site.

Spencer's strength wowed us!

This picture shows the enormity and expanse of the site and another view of ongoing excavation. Some of the land to the back side of the picture was reclaimed by the city in order to excavate.

We had been to the top and were headed back to the ground level and the garden when I took this foto. The picture doesn't show the yellow color, but the original 1000-year-old paint, a lucuma or orangish color, is on the lower wall to the left.

This is an original wall. Our English speaking guide was really good with the kids, allowing them to touch and explore. However, the grown ups had a hard time understanding her and Graciela had to explain more than once what she had told us.

These are burial tombs for the chiefs or leaders. The common burial ground was in San Isidro where many mummies were found.

The tours of the two sacred sites took about four hours. We were a tired and hungry bunch, but we had had a perfect touring day of sun and warm air, warm enough to be comfortable. We headed for Larco Mar for a great buffet lunch at Mangos--all foods Peruano. Then we headed to the Inca Market...but that's another story.

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