Monday, April 16, 2012

January 18th, Salaverry Peru

 The 7 Seas Mariner pulled into Salaverry for an overnight and I took off to the Chan-Chan Ruins, both in the city and on the outskirts.  Most people have never heard of the Chan-Chan people, their ruins or their history.  That's because it's been buried and forgotten for thousands of years. From Wilkipedia:  Chan Chan is an archaeological site located in the Peruvian region of La Libertad, five km west of Trujillo.[1] Chan Chan covers an area of approximately 20 km² and had a dense urban center of about 6 km².[2] Chan Chan was constructed by the Chimor (the kingdom of the Chimú), a late intermediate period civilization which grew out of the remnants of the Moche civilization. The vast adobe city of Chan Chan was built by the Chimu around AD 850 and lasted until its conquest by the Inca Empire in AD 1470. It was the imperial capital of the Chimor until it was conquered in the 15th century. It is estimated that around 30,000 people lived in the city of Chan Chan.
  Don't you love having an encyclopedia at your fingertips?  Anyway, the ruins are slowly melting into the sand because they are made of mud.  Now that the ruins are mostly uncovered rains are melting them into the sand from where they came.  Thousands of years ago this was more desert and rains were rare.  Climate change has changed that.

The ruins of the Rainbow Temple are within the city of Trujillo and efforts are being made to restore it to what archaeologists think it may have looked like.  Some of the walls still have bits of paint which gives the restorers a hint that the temple complex worshiped rain.  During the rainy season blue tarps drape the walls to keep them from dissolving into sand.

Restoration efforts vary, from restoring walls, to restoring carvings on the walls.

Some of the carvings uncovered carefully.

Unfortunately, all of the ruins are basically sand castles, preserved by  luck more than anything else.  Local historians tell the Moche history as best they can because there isn't a written language.
A wall that has been completely restored. 

 A couple hours away from Trujillo is the largest ruin site, stretching for miles in the desert and mostly uncovered for tourists to wander through.  Local citizens dress in Moche costumes for photos.
The walls of the ruins are composed of sand and mud 'x' that represent fishing nets.  The history of the Moche people all hinged on the anchovies runs up the coast.  All of the carvings along the walls show the small fish, large birds and fishnets.  When the climate changed and the fish runs disappeared, so did the Moche people.
 Because the ruins are so delicate roofs and gutters shield the ruins from the rain, trying to protect the sand walls.  Some of the walls are 60 feet tall, but they are slowly melting into the sand, taking the history of a culture with them.
The source of water for the city.

The only source of water for the ancient community was found to be contaminated by ancient sacrifices.  The history seems to point toward human sacrifices to bring rain, or to make the rain stop.  But contaminating the water led to illness and eventually death. 
Niches in the walls probably held some religion artifacts that are long gone.

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