The Great Pyramid of Huaca Pucllana


The Lima culture flourished on the central coast of Peru during 200 to 700 AD with the development of contemporary cultures like Mocha and Nasca in the area. When the cultures expanded their geographical reach, a monumental marvel known as Huaca Pucllana or the Great Pyramid was constructed in the valley of Rimac between 400 and 700 AD.  The structure was raised to gain control and govern the use of water resources in the area. It also acted as a means to express their religious power. Huaca Pucllana is located in Miraflores district of central Lima.



Huaca Pucllana site consists of large truncated pyramidal buildings primarily built of mud bricks and filled with boulders and sand. The main construction material used is rectangular adobito, hand-made clay with sun drying.

The Great Pyramid is a set of overlapping buildings with seven levels each with a different set of architectural design. The Pyramid is connected with Northeast Complex through a zigzag ramp of monumental dimensions. The entire structure is surrounded by a plaza, or central square, that borders the outer limits, and by a large structured wall dividing it into two separate sections.

The predominating construction technique is in the form of bookshelf. This technique involves placing of bricks upright next to each other with mortar at the top and bottom rows with gaps between them. The rows form splendid hexagonal panels lending a character of earthquake-proof structure.


Huaca Pucllana was mostly used as a ceremonial site with bottom structure to hold public ceremonies while the pyramid platforms for conducting official affairs.  The structure was central to the Lima culture. The bottom called as Northeast Complex is composed of a set of squares, courtyards and enclosures of interconnected systems.

The three defined rituals that used to take place there include human sacrifices especially of young women; wrecking large marine vessels with complex decoration and holding ritualistic banquets predominated by seafood including sharks. The rituals are suggested through its myriad representations.

It is common to see representations of breaking of vessels on ceramics both modeled and painted that suggest thriving economic activity. On the other hand, shark representations on various media indicate its prevalent consumption in banquets.

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Jude C

I am a travel enthusiast who has closely worked with different communities in India. My interests range from alternative rock to English literature. I also happen to love cats a lot.

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