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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Peru - 17 November, 2001



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Paraiso Hotel, Chiclayo S06º46.191' W079º50.301' 11 m
Museo Arqueologico Bruning . . . .
Archeological Monument Huaca Rajada - Sipán . . . .
Finish Hotel Bracamonte, Huanchaco S08º05.088' W079º07.384' 9 m 241 km

Leg 1 Total:

2,173 km


771 km

Grand Total:

2,944 km


Weather: Mostly clear, hazy, sunny and hot with strong winds.  Cool in the evening.



Today we spend the morning visiting one of the richest archeological finds in the western hemisphere - the Lord of Sipán.  First we go to the museum near Chiclayo that houses the treasure that was found in the tomb.  This was a recent discovery - in early 1987 a large influx of beautiful objects appeared in the black market and a local archaeologist traced the find to the Sipán Pyramids where local huaqueros (grave robbers) had ransacked a tomb that they found.


Upon further excavation after the site was protected (which included one of the grave robbers being shot and killed) two intact tombs were found - the Lord of Sipán and, thereafter, the Senior Lord of Sipán.  They suspect that there may be at least three other tombs to be discovered as the pyramid has six levels.


We viewed the treasures in the museum, where they have been displayed very well with good lighting and descriptions in Spanish and English.  It is hard to describe the treasures, which include gold, silver, pectorals, silver sandals, head dresses, necklaces and lots more.  The workmanship was amazing.


Peru01_Sipan_Pyramid_3910_Web.jpg (117690 bytes)

From the museum, we drove out to the site.  The site does not seem to be much on the surface - a few mounds of what looks like mud or earthen hills.  The pyramids were made out of numerous mud bricks stacked on top of each other, which have over the years eroded.  But the tombs within contained the priceless treasure.


Peru01_Sipan_Tomb_3905_Web.jpg (129385 bytes)

We could look down into the Lord's burial chamber, where a reproduction of the major aspects of the burial have been re-created.  The Lord was buried with all his finery and his death spelled doom for a number of his subjects.  He was buried with a warrior guard (whose feet had been amputated to stop him from running off), three young women, two assistants, a servant, a child, a dog and two llamas.  There were also hundreds of ceramic pots containing food and drink for the journey to the hereafter.


Peru01_Sipan_Model_3908_Web.jpg (86248 bytes)

We then looked through the small museum that they had on the site which a nice model of the three pyramids, depicting how they may have looked when they were built.  From there we went for a walk on the pyramids themselves.  There were people running all over them and you could see the damage being done to it.  There was quite a bit of trash.  You could also see the spots where the grave robbers did some exploring.  It was a shame to see the condition of it.


We had lunch at the site and then packed up and headed further south.  As we drove towards Huanchaco, we noted how the various communities in the desert were supported.  While it does not rain very much in the desert here (other than in El Nino years), it does rain up in the Andes.  The rain water runs off down into rivers that form long green and fertile stretches on their way to the Pacific Ocean.  So we would drive through dry, dusty desert interspersed with the occasion green strip surrounding a stream or river (which were currently very low).


It was also interesting comparing the area to some of the dry, dusty deserts that we traveled through in West Africa - it was quite similar, with the major difference being all the old, depilated, and broken down American cars on the road as opposed to all the old, depilated and broken down French cars that were on the roads in West Africa.  The wind was very strong and we could feel (and hear) it against the side of the truck as the sand was blown across the road in big gusts.


Peru01_Huanchaco_Sunset_3912_Web.jpg (64052 bytes)

We arrived at Huanchaco and checked into our hotel - quite a nice spot near the ocean beach.  After dropping off our bags, we went for a walk out onto the beach to check out the sunset.  Stacked up on the beach are the strange boats that the locals use to go fishing.  The totora (reed) boats look like a boat cut in half and it is hollow, with the fisherman riding on them (somewhat like a horse).  After a brief search (and debate) we picked out a restaurant on the beach where we had a very good seafood dinner over looking the ocean.


Peru01_Huanchaco_Drinks_C76_Web.jpg (69582 bytes)

After dinner the group had a drink in a nearby restaurant, going back to the hotel in scattered groups.


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