(Version française plus bas)

When we think of pre-Columbian heritage in Peru, we usually think of the Incas. A mistake, for the Inca culture is only the syncretism of many Pre-columbian civilizations.

The Mochica- or Moche- people is one of them. They inhabited the northern coast of Peru between 100 A.D. and 700 A.D. and left behind several amazing sites, one of which is called Huaca Rajada Sipán. Various tombs were found there, among which community leader Lord of Sipán’sr, a priest’s and a warrior’s, while further excavation is still going on.

As it turns out, the Moche already knew the art of gold-plating, ceramic mold casting and had very refined irrigation techniques for their crops.

In Sipán you can leisurely wander around the tombs and feel like Indiana Jones.

A view from Sipan

Oldest tomb yet discovered of a young Moche warrior, 1 A.D.

Lord of Sipan in his grave surrounded by his wives, a warrior and a dog

Lord of Sipan's grave- two Moche were buried alive to watch his grave


Local workers excavating another site of Sipan

Recently excavated tomb of a priest warrior

A big cat mask, a representation of el sacerdote guerrero (the priest warrior)


Jars for food offerings, or to accompany the deceased on his journey to the other world

Gold-plated artifacts: big cat masks, Lord of Sipan's earings, hip protections and head gear

Peru's Pre-Columbian heritage falls prey to international smuggling


Quand on pense héritage pré-colombien au Pérou, on pense en général au peuple inca. Grossière erreur! Car la culture inca n’est que le syncrétisme d’autres civilisations pré-colombiennes au nombre desquelles le peuple Mochica, ou Moche.

Les Mochicas peuplèrent la côte nord du Pérou entre l’an 100 et 700 après J.C. et laissèrent derrière eux des vestiges extraordinaires. L’un d’entre eux est le site Huaca Rajada Sipán. Plusieurs tombeaux y ont été mis à jour dont celui du Seigneur de Sipán, d’un guerrier et d’un prêtre. Et les fouilles continuent!

On y apprend que les Mochicas avaient domestiqué l’art du plaqué or, du moulage de céramique, et qu’ils avaient des techniques d’irrigation très élaborées.

A Sipán, on peut se promener tranquillement entre les tombeaux et se sentir l’âme d’un Indiana Jones.



Filed under Peru


  1. Danielle

    So interesting! I had never heard of the Mochica people. (Yikes about being buried alive to watch someone else’s grave though. I would be thinking, “who is watching mine?!?”)

  2. vero

    toutes ces civilisations pré-colombiennes sont extraordinairement riches, je me souviendrai maintenant du peuple MOCHE ou MOCHICAS !

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