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Field Notes Close to home or in a far away jungle, there is always something marvelous to see.

Around Trujillo

PERU | Wednesday, 26 May 2010 | Views [795]

Moche carvings, Temple of the Moon, Trujillo

Moche carvings, Temple of the Moon, Trujillo

As we moved north from Lima we traveled back in time with the cultures that pre-dated the Inca.  A 9-hour bus ride took us to Trujillo, an oasis in the coastal desert, and to the Moche culture from 200 AD.  The Moche people constructed their temples and homes from adobe-like mud brick, not the most stable of building materials when the rains come.  The only reason the sites still exist is that they were buried under tons of sand until 1990 when excavations began.  Of the Huacas del Sol y de la Luna (temples of the sun and the moon) only the temple of the moon has been uncovered.  The Moche had no written language much of what we learned is speculation but there appear to be five separate layers to the temple, with each newer level larger outside and smaller inside than the lower layer.  You can still see the painted colors in several places.

Nearby Chan Chan, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest pre-Columbian site I the Americas.  Chan Chan was built around 1300 and amazingly it wasn’t ‘discovered’ until 1983.  Shortly after it was uncovered the El Nino rains destroyed much of the mud brick but its shear size is amazing.

Much has changed around Trujillo in the last 2000 years but in the seaside town of Huanchaco fisherman still set out to sea to fish from the same curved reed boats they depicted on 2000 year old pottery.  The Spanish called them cabillitos (little horses) because the fishermen rode them like ponies.

Back at the hotel I read an article in the newspaper about an Amazon river boat that sank with 140 people near the Columbian border.  They are blaming the incident on too much cargo.  Five people died.  Just another reason not to have taken the boat from Pucallpa.

 

 

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