Supe, Perú

2024/03/29

Supe, Perú and was founded in 1819 as Campiñña de Supe, and is located about 3 hours north of Lima. The district of Supe was created in 1857. The population is around 29,000. This area has been inhabited for about 5000 years. The Spaniard founded the town in 1540.

The town's history is a bit sketchy but here is what I have found:
The name Supe comes from the ancient indigenous people called the Supac. They had a town near the current city of Supe but it eventually was destroyed. The information doesn't specify how it was destroyed, but the town was rebuilt in a slightly different location with the name Supac. Eventually, the Spaniards arrived in 1540 and they renamed the town Supe. Supe was the first town in Perú to declare independence from Spain and that was in 1819. In 1893, the town was relocated.

Just outside of the town is the archeological site called El Áspero. That location has been dated back about 3000 years. El Áspero is part of about 20 archeological sites in the Supe Valley and together they are the oldest known civilization in all of the Americas. They say this city was active between 3000 - 1800BC. The first description of the site came at the beginning of the 20th century when it was believed to be just an ancient fisherman's settlement. In 1941 two archiologists were digging around the area and decided it was nothing of interest, they had not discovered they were actually on top of ancient structures, they thought they were on natural formations, so the dated the site incorrectly. In the 1970s, another archeologist did more work and discovered they were indeed huacas, or pyramids, under all the sand, and they dated back to the pre-ceramic period. But the entire site was abandoned in the '80s and soon a portion of it bacame the city garbage dump. With discoveries occuring outside of town at the Caral sites interest was reignited in the Áspero site. A couple of archeologists made an agreement with the municipality of Supe and the clean-up began, which led to about 8400 tons of garbage being removed. Then the real work of excavating the site began. In 2009, they started finding results of their hard work, so they continued, and in 2016 they discovered human remains—a woman of about 40 years old, of the elite class, was buried about 2500BC. They also found eight flutes made of bone that were similar to one found at the Caral site. These sites cost PEN11.00 to get in plus another fee for a tour guide which is mandatory because they do not allow people to walk around freely throughout the sites. I've visited more than a few archeological sites in northern Perú and this is the first that is like that. The guide costs PEN20.00, that is regardless of the number of people, one person pays 20 or a group altogether pays 20.

The Áspero site contains about 30 structures, three of which are pyramids, the others are homes, warehouses, housing complexes, and more. The largest of the three pyramids was looted terribly during the early 20th century, showing people even used dynamite inside the structure. Even prior to this ancient city, the human presence is evident along the coast and dating back to 5000BC. The people lived on what they got from the sea and from the river ravines. Between 3000-1800BC they traded with the groups of people living inland who were agriculturalists. This area as well as the Caral city area were the bithplace of the Andean civilizations.

The climate is called a subtropical desert climate. The average daytime high is 23° C (74° F) and the average nightly low is 15° C (59° F). Supe gets 230mm (9 inches) of rain per year. Humidity ranges from 77%-82% year-round.

Supe itself is a pleasant very small town, it is clean and not so noisy. There is a lot of history in this part of the country, so if you have any interest in visiting archeological sites in Perú, you have to put Supe on your list.