Students continued their journey through Peru’s past with a visit to Huaca Pucllana, an administrative and religious center of the ancient Lima Culture, which dominated coastal Peru from 200 to 700 A.D. The site, located in the city’s Miraflores district, includes a large reconstructed pyramid of clay and adobe bricks, and surrounding structures as well as figures representing those who worked and worshipped here. A small museum includes ceramics and textiles and explanations of the significance and contributions of the Lima culture.
Goshen College students toured the site, which is three blocks from the Anglican Cathedral of the Good Shepherd (Buen Pastor), where lectures and Spanish lessons take place. Students learned that Huaca Pucllana was built and used between the years 400 and 700 AD. The present six-acre site is only a fraction of a larger complex dedicated to a female divinity associated with the sea and its resources. Later, the site was used for burials and other ceremonies by other cultures, including the Wari people.
Most visitors to Peru seeking to learn about pre-Columbian civilizations usually head directly to Machu Picchu, the 15th-century Inca refuge which is considered among the greatest artistic, architectural and land use achievements in the world. Although no other Peruvian site can match Machu Picchu, Lima also has much to offer visitors about pre-Conquest history. As James Higgins, author of “Lima, A Cultural History,” has pointed out, Lima has some of Peru’s oldest settlements as well as the finest collections of artifacts from indigenous civilizations that flourished long before the Inca. “The history of the Lima area stretches back, in short, to the very origins of civilization in Peru,” Higgins wrote.