Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Huaca Pucllana, Lima, Peru

A major archeological site of the Lima culture (200-700 CE) is found in the Miraflores district of Lima, the capital of Peru. As in many sites throughout Peru, this one contains a huaca, or pyrimid structure used for ceremonial purposes. The above photo shows a small portion of the structure made of adobe bricks and clay. The Lima culture was succeeded by the Wari (ca. 500-1000). My visit was on August 4, 2012.

The huaca covers a large area of several acres, much of which has been destroyed by the urbanization of Lima. Studies of the site began in 1967, but by 1981 it still suffered from neglect. A street runs through an ancient section, but what remains is now a protected zone, as scientists continue to study and map the structure. Some areas have been restored, but much of the original construction remains.

Coastal Peru is affected by periodic violent earthquakes, so the inhabitants learned to build with adobe bricks in a way that would resist the movements. Instead of laying bricks horizontally, they placed them in a vertical position, in triangular groups.

Plaza de los Ancestros, where the ancestors are buried

This (reconstructed) burial tomb contains the remains of a man and a woman and a child. A false head sits atop the clay sarcophogus. The woman is identified by the wool tufts that she will need in the afterlife for her weaving. A basket of purple corn will provide the corn to make chicha, a favorite beverage.

A friendly Peruvian hairless dog, found at most historical sites

A typical kitchen garden and livestock are kept at the site to show visitors the common food items in the ancient diet

Llamas and alpacas provide wool and meat.

Cuy (guinea pigs) are a common source of protein in Peru

Internet site in Spanish:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Castro, Chiloé, photo exhibit Aug 2012

An exhibit of color photographs from 1965,
taken by a casual tourist on the big island of Chiloé, Aysén and Magallanes. 

Color film in that era was scarce and expensive. I had the honor of a faculty position at the Music Conservatory of the Austral University in Valdivia, Chile. Some friends invited me on a trip to the island of Chiloé in January 1965. The journey included travel in a small Cessna airplane from Puerto Montt to Castro, Chiloé. While on the island, I visited Castro, Ancud, Achao, and Chonchi. From there, a small cargo ship delivered me to Puerto Aysén. The only exit from Coyhaique was a DC-3 which flew south to Punta Arenas, on the Straits of Magellan. From there I returned north to Puerto Montt for a visit to the fish market at Angelmó, before returning to my home in Valdivia.

Typical transport of the time

This project of showing 30 photos from the collection was supported by the I. Municipalidad de Castro and Banco del Estado. The photos were prepared and mounted by Javier Areneda. I am indebted to  Felipe Montiel, historian, author, and Director of the Regional Museum of Castro, for his persistence in mounting this project. Many thanks to Juan Carlos Pacheco in coordinating the exhibit.

1960 earthquake damage in Castro

The opening of a new photo exhibit was announced for Friday at 7:00pm. This was my first and probably only event of the kind, so I made the effort to travel to southern Chile in the cold of winter, August 2012. I had no idea what to expect of this event. So, like a typical gringo that I am, I arrived at the appointed time. Social events in Chile typically begin well after the announced hour. To my great surprise, I was the last to arrive, and was welcomed by local and regional government officials, and uniformed representatives of the Carabineros and the Navy. Sergio Colivoro, the leading accordionist of Chiloé, was invited to  perform for the crowd, and dedicated his last song to me. I did three press and radio interviews and found my picture in the Sunday paper of Chiloé, La Estrella. About 100 people attended the opening.

Sergio Colivoro

Recording an interview for the local radio

Children in Achao 1965

The complete collection of 30 photos is available on YouTube.

Click here to go to slide show.