Pumacayán: A short history of heritage

M any tourists that visit Huaraz know little about the city’s history upon their arrival. In fact, even many of the residents are under the impression that their city’s history started in the colonial period upon the arrival of the Spanish. On the contrary, this area has been occupied for millennia, as evidenced by the site of Pumacayán.

Only a few blocks away from the Plaza de Armas, Pumacayán is an archaeological monument with a deep significance to the region that persisted over the course of multiple cultural shifts. It would have been a powerful place where communities formed and celebrated shared identities, paid homage to their ancestors and the powerful beings embedded in their landscape, and made lasting memories and social connections between communities.

Although little research has been conducted at the site, local archaeologist Lic. Jhon Cruz and I have conducted research on the site’s stratigraphy that was exposed during the construction of a road through the mound in 2003. Based on the evidence available, Pumacayán was first built as a platform perhaps 3000 years ago around the same time as Chavín de Huantar. Subsequently, the Recuay people piled stones and earth on top of the platform, expanding its width and height over the following centuries. The Inca were the last to add to the structure, adopting the place as a sacred space of their own in order to lay claim to the local region during their conquest. Pumacayán appears as a large hill today, covered in vegetation and trash deposited by modern visitors. Unfortunately, since the invasion of the Spanish, Pumacayán has been quarried for its finely cut stone to be used as building material, and over the centuries since, houses were built around and atop the mound. In the last few years, local efforts achieved the evacuation of residents atop the mound and removal of the houses there, although a small church still remains as evidence of attempted Christian conversion of the structure. Significant cleaning and conservation of the site remains to be done.

The current state of Pumacayán is congruent with the bad track record Huaraz has with its archaeological heritage. The Parque de los Incas, constructed in the late 1990s, is one example. Contrary to its name that appears to pay homage to pre-Hispanic heritage, several pre-Inca tombs were demolished to make way for the park. Just one tomb still stands, albeit with the statues of the legendary first Incas, Manqu Qhapaq and Mama Uqllu, standing on top. The tomb now serves as a storage closet for cleaning equipment.

Although you might not find much of this information in guidebooks or promotional pamphlets, Huaraz is a city rich in archaeological heritage. However, because these histories are not well advertised and the site of Pumacayán does not appear as grand as it once was, the pre-Hispanic history of the place now called Huaraz is still very much alive.

Pumacayán still watches diligently over its domain, witness to all of the changes that have taken place there over the course of its lifetime. Since most of Huaraz’ historic architecture was destroyed in the 1970 earthquake, Pumacayán is truly one of the last pieces of history left standing in the city. If you are interested to know more about Huaraz’ history, I hope that you will take the time to visit Pumacayán during your stay and hear some of the stories that it has to tell.

About the author:

Julia Earle is an archaeologist with a bachelors and masters from the University of Toronto. She is interested in researching the labour and technologies involved in the construction of pre-Hispanic monuments. Julia is currently involved in two projects, one in Huaraz with the objective to promote awareness of Pumacayán, and an expedition funded by the National Geographic Society in Pampacolca, Peru. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she will begin her Doctoral studies in August 2017.

 

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

*

Jesse Galganov´s father praises local police and indicates not to give up

Canadian citizen Jesse Galganov has been missing for 51 days and sadly, the search for him has not yet resulted […]

Polish family of mountaineer who died in Ojos del Salado thanks rescue guide from Huaraz

Agnieszka Cruz-Koniak, daughter of the Polish mountaineer who died on Volcano Ojos del Salado (located on the Argentina-Chile border) earlier […]

Valery Rozov dies after a failed BASE jump attempt in the Himalayas

Rozov was an internationally renowned BASE jumper, a sport reserved for only the most fearless, whereby one free falls from […]

Rubbish on the rise on popular Santa Cruz Trek

The Santa Cruz Trek is slowly edging its way into the realms of Machu Picchu and Colca Canyon as one […]

Ancash resident and Peruvian actress Claudia Dammert (68) passes away

Beloved actress and devoted resident of the Ancash region, Claudia Dammert, sadly passed away this week. She was 68, and […]

Spanish Red Cross to complete humanitarian help project in Huarmey

In the beginning of March of this year, the province of Huarmey became one of the most affected places in […]

GPS signal indicates Jesse left Huaraz and went to Caraz for Santa Cruz area according to police

No breakthrough yet but some advances after weeks of silence. During his weekly meeting with the press, the head of […]

Trail runner Hernán Henostroza Gamarra from Huaraz wins 38k Misti Sky Race in Arequipa

The youngster from Huaraz just keeps on winning. In May of this year, Hernán Henostroza Gamarra managed to win the […]

How on earth could Jesse Galganov just vanish in Huaraz without a trace?

One month on and the police apparently have absolutely nothing on Jesse Galganov´s disappearance. The two video cameras which captured […]

Travelling at 3000m and the effects of altitude in Huaraz

Four years ago Lionel Messi famously threw up in a football match against Bolivia; Bolivia’s stadium is at 3800m, and […]

18-year-old female Canadian mountaineer rescued from Mount Alpamayo

Eighteen-year-old Canadian Sara Murphy, a mountaineer who was reported missing on October 29th in the Alpamayo mountain range of the […]

Administrator of Kame House states to fully cooperate: ¨Jesse Galganov never arrived at our establishment¨

Christopher Garcia Obregon, owner and administrator of Kame House Backpackers, the hostel where Jesse Galganov ostensibly stayed one night on […]

Where is Jesse Galganov? 10.000$ reward for tip that leads to his finding

Journalists of Peruvian broadcaster America TV travelled to Huaraz to find out more about the disappearance of the 22-year-old Jesse […]

Language Centre of the Casa de Guías to organise talent show

Because of the celebration of the anniversary of the Association of Mountain Guides of Peru (AGMP), and being part of […]

INAIGEM announces cooperation agreement and construction of Museum of Andean Mountains

The Ohio State University in the US and the INAIGEM (National Institute of Research on Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems) signed […]

Update: Two rescue teams have headed out to search for Canadian tourist

The editor of The Huaraz Telegraph has spoken to the head of the Tourist Police in Huaraz, Major Godofredo Vargas […]

Update: Still no traces of Jesse Galganov, local authorities all informed

Sadly, there are still no traces of Jesse Galganov, the Canadian citizen who went missing at the end of September. […]

Urgent: Canadian tourist missing and last seen in Huaraz

Jesse Galganov

The Huaraz Telegraph was contacted this morning by Magda Fernández who informed us that Canadian citizen Jesse Galganov has been […]