Huaca Huantille: the past of Lima with a new style
Excavations at the right time: from the dumpster to the attraction
A sandy and clayey area in the middle of the city, this is not uncommon in Lima. The city is dotted with buildings from a time when no European was installed in the country. At that time the indigenous cultures prevailed, the Lima culture, the Ichma and finally the Incas. They have left their mark, but some have become invisible. And some invisible ones have reappeared in recent years. The same happens with Huaca Huantille.
It was first described in the 19th century, when several European and American researchers became interested in ancient buildings. However, towards the middle of the 20th century, when Lima began to expand, one forgot the value of ancient cultures: immigrants needed cheap building materials and used the Huacas in their neighborhood or lived in the old walls. The site of Huaca Huantille was famous for crime and drugs and even had to be demolished.
It was not until 2001 that people began to think about it and began to plan a restoration that began in 2006. The people who live there were relocated, the walls, terraces and stairs were released from the garbage and restored.
Meaning and construction of Huaca Huantille
A huaca is a sacred place, a place where religious ceremonies are held. In the Rimac valley, where Lima is located, there are more than fifty of these sites, the area was inhabited by several peoples before the arrival of the Spaniards in Peru, sometimes by several at the same time.
In your visit to Lima, you will surely go through a Huaca in any part of the city, either involuntarily or because you are interested. It is definitely worth taking a look at that site.
The Huaca Huantille is a pyramid-shaped structure (a pyramid that is not really understood as a pyramid, but in this case it suggests that the Huaca has several floors that are smaller towards the top with an access ramp and several rooms and terraces.
The different elements emerged over the centuries. The Huaca Huantille was founded around 900 d. In the Ichma culture, in the mid-15th century, the Incas conquered the Rímac valley and, therefore, the buildings carried out more construction work. Today the site is 1,000 square meters, which corresponds to approximately one third of the original area. Due to this size, it is also assumed that the Huaca served as a fortress, among other things. The best preserved is the east side, where the pyramidal structure of the Huaca is particularly clear.
Cultural value of Huaca Huantille
Preserving the testimonies of yesteryear, especially when it comes to sites of this size, requires an awareness of their value and, of course, of money. That is why the city of Lima has only been able to explore important archaeological sites in recent decades.
The Huaca Huantille has been actively integrated into the list of structures worthy of being seen since its rediscovery. The site is still being excavated and restored, but visitors can visit the building for free. The information panels in Spanish and English explain the functions of the facilities.
If you visit Huaca Huantille, you will find the building in various stages of restoration along its route. They get an idea of how they would have looked in the past, but they also see what building materials are hidden under the clay layer. During the excavations of 2006, sacrificial sites and a cemetery were revealed, as well as painted walls, as well as ceramics and textiles, which can be seen today in the associated museum.
Salas 138, Magdalena del Mar