A millenary temple buried south of Lima

In the south of Lima, where some of the fields and the marshes which formerly surrounded the capital of Peru, is the immense sanctuary of Pachacamac. A multitude of pyramids and paths of adobe, for the majority still buried under the sand, face the Pacific Ocean. For decades, armies of archaeologists have been busy slowly rediscovering its past.

It is known that this site had an immense importance for the Amerindian people, who came from very far to pay their homage to the god Pachacamac ("the Spirit of the Earth"), who was said to be able to predict the future and to awaken earthquakes. Cult already millenary at the time of the Incas, this Empire gave a new splendor to the sanctuary, to the extent that it struck the imagination of the Spanish conquistadors, who ended up establishing the capital of their colony to some kilometers of there.


A new alliance between archeologist and the migrants living near the ruins

Until about fifty years ago, Pachacamac was in the distant suburbs of Lima: a long sandy plain, bordered by the ocean, the fields and the mountains. But the city has grown since then, due to the migration of Peruvians looking for a better life in the capital.

Thus, a sadly common conflict was established between the archaeologists and these migrants. The first jealous of the knowledge that the land still contains, the others determined to find a place to build their new home.


In 2014, the museum of the sanctuary of Pachacamac proposed a way out of this dispute. There, the association Sisan ("to bloom" in Quechua language) was founded, dedicated to training the residents of the slums surrounding the archaeological site in the skills of handicrafts. Still today, the museum store offers hundreds of objects created by these new craftswomen, which take up the designs and techniques used by the inhabitants of the sanctuary. Thus, while finding an interesting source of income, these neighbors of Pachacamac have formed a new relationship with the immense archaeological site.

Manuel-Antonio Monteagudo

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