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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tucume: Las Pirámides del adobe que Son anteriores a los incas

Author note: Back in February, I had mentioned Tucume in passing, linking to an archived article of mine about this illustrious ghost town. This is the piece in its entirety.

The Lambeyeque Valley in Peru is the site of six adobe pyramids, known by the Lambeyeque people, as well as the Chimu tribe, as the sacred site of Tucume.


The adobe pyramids were constructed before the arrival of the Incas around 1000 to 1100 AD and they are legend to be haunted by evil spirits. The indigenous people are enamored by the site, refusing to visit, afraid of what harm might come to them. It's no wonder that Tucume has been given the name "purgatoria", however many suspect the name was given by the Spanish Conquistadors to stop people from visiting the site. Oddly, grave robbers have never attempted to loot Tucume because of its alluring reputation.

The civilization thrived raising crops and animals and formulating a complete info structure including waterways and manmade watercourses.

Tucume - Sican culture ca 1100AD then Chimu - Spanish used to throw people to their death

The most recent discovery of 119 bodies suggests that ritual sacrifices were performed in one of the many temples on site. Consequently, the sacrifices were most likely performed by the Incas in an attempt to stop Spanish Invasion in 1532.

After the arrival of the Spanish, the only thing that remained of Tucume was the adobe pyramids. Sadly, after Peru was conquered by the Spanish, Tucume was abandoned and exists only as a ghost town.

Tucume was little known to the world until 1988 when Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian explorer, embarked on several excavations. His discoveries led to increased interest about the site. Among his discoveries were Incan and Chimu textiles, metalwork, and pottery. In addition, 40 tombs and burial sites were unearthed, including one such tomb that included "a prominent Inca general, possibly the governor of Tucume".

The entire site spans over 540 acres and includes 26 major pyramids and mounds. The largest of the pyramids is the Huaca Larga, measuring 700 meters in length, 280 meters in width, and 30 meters in height.

Today, the site remains a ghost town, with the exception of a few travelers passing by to take pictures or bike.


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