Pucalá and the Museum Huaca Rajada - Sipán

2024/03/18

Pucalá and the Museum Huaca Rajada - Sipán. Pucalá is a tiny town of around 10,000. It has several parks, a small bank, of course no supermarket, I saw one gas station, and all the other small shops one would expect. The town itself has nothing to offer a tourist, there is one hostal, but outside of town is the museum Huaca Rajada-Sipán. It is very interesting to those who like archeology. The museum includes many artifacts of the Moche nobles that were found in several tombs as well as many more artifacts from several other sites in the surrounding area. What you will see are findings obtained in 2007, the museum recreates the context in which pre-Hispanic funerary events took place for three figures of the Moche elite: the Warrior Priest (tomb 14), the Warrior Lord (tomb 16) and the Noble Warrior (tomb 15)—the oldest skeleton found to date in Sipán.

Here is some info I found and it was translated from Spanish to English:

Huaca Rajada, also known as Sipán, is an archaeological complex initially occupied by the Moche culture and later by the Lambayeque culture, in northern Perú, made up of a set of pyramids or huacas. That place is famous for its royal tombs, the most renowned being that of Señor de Sipán,12 excavated by Walter Alva and his wife Susana Meneses.

Sipán is a town of approximately 1,500 inhabitants, located in the central part of the Lambayeque River valley, in the Saña district of the Chiclayo province of the Lambayeque department. It is located 35km southeast of Chiclayo.

Nearby is a set of three truncated pyramids or huacas, made of adobe, which are traditionally known as the Huaca Rajada. Two of them are of large proportions and the other is smaller; In the latter is where the royal tombs of Sipán were found.

The two large truncated pyramids are connected by a complex series of ramps and a large rectangular platform, which extended to the north.
The smaller pyramid appears to have been erected separately; A plaza separates it from the rest of the large pyramids. It had a long platform on the north side and a shorter one on the south side. A ramp on the north platform gave access to the summit, where there was a solid structure.

Huaca Rajada was an area devastated by huaqueros or huaca thieves (tomb raiders), until in 1987 the Peruvian archaeologist Walter Alva and his team, with the help of the authorities, undertook a project to rescue the archaeological site.

The result of his research was the discovery of the famous tomb of the Lord of Sipán (July 26, 1987), the first tomb of a pre-Columbian governor found intact in Peru and dating from the 3rd century (Tomb 1). This is a man of 1.65m (about 5 1/2 feet), and about 40 to 45 years old. It was found next to the remains of 8 people (three women, two men, a child and two guardians) and animals (two llamas and a dog), presumably sacrificed so that they would continue to serve him in the afterlife, according to belief. The remains of the Lord of Sipán rested in the center of a mortuary chamber, sheltered in a large coffin made of large boards. On the other hand, the catafalques of his companions were made of reeds. 209 ceramics were also found, many of which contained offerings. The body of the main character was covered with numerous ornaments, weapons and emblems of gold, silver and gilded copper. Likewise, Spondyllus shells, of ritual significance, surrounded the body. The most lavish jewelry is the ear rings, all made of gold inlaid with lapis lazuli. Another exquisite piece is a necklace of beads in the shape of peanuts, half of them made of gold and the other half of silver.

Months after this discovery, two more tombs were found: that of a priest contemporary to the Lord of Sipán (Tomb 2), and that of a warrior who was baptized as the Old Lord of Sipán, because he was older (Tomb 3).

The presence of tombs of Lambayeque figures has also been confirmed (in the Ramada Area of Sector II, in the Funerary Platform and patios 1 and 2), which testifies that the archaeological complex was in use at the time it was under control. from one of the two Lambayeque curacazgos. (The above info came from the Spanish wikipedia page.)

The entrance fee 8 soles (about US$2) also includes entry into the tombs area. In that area you can see some skeletons and artefacts that were buied with them. The bigger structures are not open to the public, those would be the pyrimids which no longer look like pyrimids. Over the melenia the adobe has weathered and "melted" over the site so now they look like small mountains. But, since they are adobe they were discovered to be these ancient sites. One other website that I found mentioned tour guides but there are none there, or at least not when I was there.

In my photo album are many photos of the museum and the tombs. Some of the photos have English descriptions so you can enlarge the photo and read the text.