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Pachacamac

Pachacamac

Pachacamac, located on the coast of Peru and 32 km south of Lima, was an important sacred site, oracle, and place of burial, which was visited by pilgrims of many ancient Andean cultures, including the Incas. The site, active for over 2,000 years, was named after the god of the same name (Pacha Kamaq) who was worshipped there and considered the 'Maker of the Earth' by coastal peoples.

Sacred Site of Pachacamac

Pachacamac, located in the Lurin Valley, may have been in use as a sacred oracle site from the 1st millennium BCE while its settlement began sometime in the early 1st millennium CE. The god Pachacamac, also known as the 'Maker of the Earth', was a creator god who was also associated with earthquakes. In coastal mythology, Pachacamac had defeated the rival creator god Con who had stopped all rainfall as punishment for humanity's wickedness. Pachacamac then changed the existing human race into animals and created a whole new race of men and women. In some versions of the myths the god sent four stars to earth, the two male stars became the kings and nobility while the two female stars became the commoners.

The god's sacred wooden statue was worshipped at the site, situated inside a large temple complex built on a stepped earthen platform. This structure is contemporary with the Moche and Nazca civilizations (200 BCE – 600 CE). Built overlooking a colonnaded plaza and sitting on an eight-level platform on a natural hill, the temple buildings must have dominated the site. Each level of the adobe brick platform is around one metre high, and they were painted in bright colours with plant and animal designs. The figures were made more striking by outlining them in black. A set of artist's brushes (of human hair and reeds) and a bag of pigments were found buried at the site in 1935 CE. The temple was well-maintained as some areas of decoration show as many as 16 re-coats. Buildings on the highest platform were arranged around a courtyard, and some were used as accommodation.

The sacred site & oracle of Pachacamac has been described as the Mecca of ancient Peru.

The Oracle of Pachacamac

The site attracted pilgrims from far and wide to consult its oracle although just how this functioned is not known in detail. We know that a High Priest interpreted the oracle from the privacy of a chamber only he was permitted to enter. Pilgrims had to undergo many weeks of initiation, fasting and cleansing rituals before they could be considered worthy of consulting the oracle. They were also expected to make offerings such as foodstuffs, coca, textiles, and any other precious goods they could afford. Indeed, the priests of Pachacamac established a network of subsidiary shrines throughout the region which extracted tributes from local populations. As at ancient oracles the world over, questions posed would have concerned the weather for agricultural purposes, warfare, health issues, family problems, and so on.

Such was the popularity of the site that the historian Alden Mason described Pachacamac as 'the Mecca of Peru'. This is attested by the finds in tombs of pottery and textiles coming from many different cultures such as the Lambayeque, Nazca, Wari, Tiwanaku, and Chimu. Eventually, the religious buildings spread with many shrines to lesser deities and a residential area sprang up to cover an area of 4 square miles (c. 10 square km). It thus became the largest centre in central and southern Peru. In the residential zones many of the floors and column bases, which must have supported roofs of matting, survive.

Under Inca Rule

The Incas took over the site during the reign of Thupa Inka Yupanki (1471 - 1493 CE) and, in typical fashion, incorporated it and the deity Pachacamac into the Inca religion. They built a temple dedicated to the Inca Sun god Inti with whom Pachacamac was given, unusually for the gods of conquered peoples, equal status. Constructed on a six-level earthen platform and painted red, the temple was actually two parallel rectangular buildings measuring 52 x 23 metres and reaching a height of 7.3 metres. Used as an accommodation for priests the walls have many niches and are decorated with animal paintings. Other Inca structures include a large colonnaded residence for holy women known as the 'Painted Building' ('Nunnery'), a large raised plaza for pilgrims to congregate in, and the residential section of the site known as Tauri Chumbi.

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Excavations at the Sun temple's entrance and inside it have revealed a burial space made by the Incas containing 20 young sacrificed women. Artefacts buried with them suggest the girls were of coastal origin. We also know that human sacrifices were made to Pachacamac in order to appease him following the presence of this new rival Inti. The people of Pachacamac, no doubt because of the antiquity of the oracle and the importance of the site to many Andean cultures, were given a higher degree of autonomy than most conquered areas by their Inca overlords.

Later History

The site's oracle continued to be consulted by the Incas but lost royal favour when it wrongly predicted that Washkar would win the civil war against Atahualpa between 1526 and 1532 CE. Accordingly, the latter ruler gave permission for Pizarro to send his brother to destroy the statue of Pachacamac. As with any Inca tombs they could find, the Spanish almost certainly would have looted the site as well.

Pachacamac was damaged by further looting and environmental factors over the centuries so that its original form has been difficult to establish. Although parts have been excavated, indeed, the site was the first in Peru to be investigated by archaeologists, some of the modern reconstructions at the site are not necessarily an accurate replica of the original buildings, notably the 'Nunnery' structure. Nevertheless, portions of its well-made walls which used the typical Inca method of neatly fitted stones without mortar, can still be admired. Artefacts excavated from tombs, remarkably well-preserved in the dry desert climate of the region, include richly painted pottery and fine textiles with bold geometrical designs, much like those of the Nazca.


Pachacamac - History

In 1903, M. Uhle, published writings on Pachacamac, an ancient ruin outside Lima, Peru, in the University of Pennsylvania Publications, Folio, Philadelphia, in which he wrote:

“Pachacamac, which means “Creator God,” was a famous religious center in ancient Peru, comparable to the Egyptian Thebes or the Mohammedan Mecca. According to Estes, it originally contained a shrine of the "creator " god, Pachacamac, to which flocked pilgrims coming from all parts of Peru, three hundred leagues or more,” and later, after conquest of the place by the Peruvians of the highlands, it also had a famous Temple of the Sun.

It was at the same time a political center, the seat of a leader who ruled over the populous valleys of Lurin, Rimac, Chancay, Huacho, Supe, and Huanan, according to Garcilasso, with Its decline dating from the year of the entrance of the Spaniards in 1533 and the destruction by them of the venerated statue of the principal deity. In the early fifties of the sixteenth century the Augustinian monks transferred the town to the valley, and in the first part of the seventeenth century it was already a desolate pile of ruins, according to Calancha.

The inhabitants and the pilgrims of Pachacamac disappeared, leaving scarcely a trace in history, but they left behind a vast number of graves, with the total number of burials that existed within and about the ruins estimated at between 60,000 and 80,000. There are six or more aggregations of the graves which may be regarded as distinct cemeteries, but burials, often two deep, existed apparently in every available part of the ground, within the temples, and even about and within the dwellings. The middle part of the region, bounded by the principal ruins, and especially the front of
the Temple of Pachacamac, look like one vast burial place. And according to Calancha, many of the skulls found there showed injury, battle wounds, etc.”

Today, Pachacamac is a serene appearing ruins overlooking the Pacific Ocean, about 25 miles south and west of Lima, Peru, in the Lurin Valley. It is a vast site containing a number of pyramids, and Spanish historical records, along with extensive archaeological research at the site, have served to clarify its history and significance, dating its rise in the last millennium B.C., and its greatest prominence around 200 A.D. The complex covers about 210 acres (85 hectares), and later, during Inca, times, additional buildings were constructed there.

In my book, “Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica,” this ancient city of Pachacamac, or Zarahemla, is discussed.


The Cemeteries

Back in 1893, a Mrs. Zelia Nuttall was in Berlin and heard of the early success of Uhle’s field work. She suggested to Mrs. Cornelius Stevenson, a patroness of the University of Pennsylvania, that the University assume sponsorship of his activities. Stevenson’s fund-raising efforts did not, however, go smoothly, and so it was not until Uhle was settling into Lima that he came firmly under American patronage.

Fig. 3. A simplified ground plan of the Temple of Pachacamac and its environs (after Uhle 1903, insert map). In 1534, Hernando Pizarro noted that pilgrims were required to fast for 20 days in Forecourts I and II before being allowed to enter Forecourt lll, and that a year-long fast was imposed before advance to the inner sanctuary of the temple itself.

Almost immediately he began an excavation at Ancon, but the coastal site of Pachacamac (30 kilometers south of Lima Fig. 2) was soon to absorb all his attention. There he revealed a stratigraphy of remarkable depth and cultural diversity, with cemeteries that, in their spatial planning, retained quite well many aspects of the socioeconomic history of Pachacamac.

An Inca presence was obvious in the sectors of the township of Pachacamac that sprang up after the forces of the Inca ruler Topa Inca subjugated the area in 1465, and in the temple complex, dedicated to their sun god Inti, that straddled a southern hilltop. On the southeastern terrace of the complex, there was a cemetery that was clearly set apart for the burial of the mainacuna (“Virgins of the Sun”), a group of women holding a privileged position in the temple’s services. In life they took responsibility for the weaving of textiles worn by the priests, and made the corn beer (chica) that figured in so many Inca festivals. In sacrificial death, they were accorded the highest ritual. All these women at Pachacamac had been strangled—many still have the cotton garrote twisted about their throats—wrapped in fine cloth, and then buried in stout, stone-lined tombs. Each was surrounded by funerary offerings of foodstuffs that were specific to the Peruvian highlands—coca, quinoa, cayenne pepper —rather than the local varieties of plants found in tombs elsewhere at Pachacamac. The aim was obviously to replicate the rituals involving human sacrifice that were enacted every year at the Inca capital of Cuzco.

Further to the north, and at a lower elevation, lay what was surely the religious focal point of the area for the local people: the sprawling temple dedicated to Pachacamac, Creator of the Universe and protector of the crops, but bringer of earthquakes for those who neglected his cult. It is said that during the reign of Huayna Capac, Topa’s successor in 1493, the temple’s walls were lavishly redecorated with colorful scenes of animals and birds, its inner door encrusted with coral and turquoise, and its shrine adorned with gold ornaments that were personally donated by the Inca. (Word of that gold was what attracted Hernando Pizarro to Pachacamac in 1533, and led to the shrine’s destruction when he found that the local people had managed to remove everything of value before the conquistadors got there.) The entire 16,000 square meters between the temple’s main entrance and the northern wall of its inner forecourt comprised several soil levels, all of which were choked with remnants of thousands of graves that had been destroyed, generation after generation, to make room for new ones (Fig. 3).

Fig. 4. Mummy bundle of a child, identified in Uhle’s field notes (vol. 3, part 1, 12) as find no. 303. Its grave was partly overlain and somewhat protected by the walls of the northeastern front of the Pachacamac Temple, and therefore probably dates to ca. 11th century A.D. This mummy is the only one we have from that otherwise heavily disturbed part of the main Pachacamac: cemetery. The skeleton of the body within is disarticulated and disorganized. In this instance. there is no metabolic bone disease which would indicate the cause of death. The University Museum, 110. 26630. L. 0.46m.

A small sector of this area, close to a terrace at the temple’s doorway, contained burials of individuals who shared a common feature: their hair was cropped short, often to within half a centimeter of the scalp. These individuals were surely high-ranking officials in the Inca political system (if not its nobles, sent to the provinces), since later Spanish sources indicate that the Incas applied a strict regulation to the hair length of their representatives, the Inca ruler himself being most closely cropped of all. These officials sought, by proximity to Pachacamac’s shrine, a favored degree of protection from that god in their afterlife.

What do we know of Pachacamac’s earlier worshippers? The care with which Uhle excavated the temple region allowed him to set up a reliable relative dating scheme for the grave sequences and their contents. From that scheme it became clear that much of the reuse of the Pachacamac cemetery dated quite late in the temple’s history, perhaps because burial privileges within its inner sanctuary were only belatedly extended to wealthy pilgrims. Underneath the northern terrace mentioned earlier, Uhle found a series of far better preserved strata of graves, the earliest of which date to about the late 6th century A.D. The myriad of grave goods throughout these strata—baskets of foodstuffs, grain vessels and wine gourds, fishing and farming implements—all indicate that the notion of an afterlife as a perfect form of everyday existence was prevalent throughout the times when Pachacamac was under the control first of the Huari and then of the Chime (from the early 9th century A.D. forward). The care with which the mummies within the graves were prepared indicates a determination to preserve the deceased for eternity (Fig. 4).

The construction of the northern terrace probably dated to the late 11th or early 12th century A.D., and the upper stratum of burials beneath to the previous three centuries. Uhle noted that these burials were poorly preserved, because their lightweight roofing of woven rush stems had invariably collapsed under the weight of accumulated soil and terrace stonework eventually laid over it. He noted too that the mummies and associated grave goods in the burials had suffered accordingly, but unfortunately he provided no description of how the mummies were prepared.

A lower stratum about 3 meters down was, however, well documented. Tombs within it had stood up to the pressures of the overburden because they were sturdily constructed of stone and mud brick, both in their walls and in their roofing. Many had a characteristic conical shape, perhaps in imitation of a local architectural tradition.

Fig. 5. Mummy bale of a child, held rigid by a basket framework set up just beneath its beige, black and red-checkered outer shroud and a plain inner cotton shroud. The small pouches of the necklet contain dried-out leaves and stems from the kinds of plants that are now thought to have figured strongly in early Peruvian folk medicine (coca, quinoa, mucuna, etc.) and dye-making (annatto, taya, chica, etc.). Museum Object Number: 26626. H. 0.94m.

The mummies in these tombs were invariably in the shape of a bale with a false head attached at the top. Some of the heads were carved in wood, with eyes of inlaid shell others were fashioned of pottery, made more lifelike by rough earthtone coloring and feature outlining others again were simply painted cushions stuffed with stems and leaves of the local Tillandsia plant. Each bale, with a wrapped body at its core, was stuffed with leaves of the local fruit trees — usually, the pacae and the avocado—and made rigid by a basketlike cane frame. This frame also held taut the two or more cotton shrouds that were laid over it.

It is this early group of tombs that have provided the core of The University Museum’s Peruvian mummy collection, and the bulk of its holdings of Pachacamac artifacts. Many of these mummies have deteriorated to some degree over the past 90 years of storage, the sealed environment of an underground tomb being more conducive to their preservation than exposure to the modern atmosphere. Several of them have, however, recently undergone conservation treatment, and their contents have been partially documented via a series of radiographic examinations. These technical studies have revealed an example of infant sacrifice (Museum inv. no. 26628 see Bibliography), and an instance of a relatively rare childhood health problem (in mummy bale, Museum inv. no. 26626), the nature of which has posed something of a medical enigma.


This Inca Idol Survived the Spanish Conquest. 500 Years Later, Archaeologists Are Unveiling Its History

As the year 1533 drew to a close, Spanish conquistador Hernando Pizarro departed Peru, full to bursting with stories of the wonders he had seen. The Inca Empire, he explained to his comrades and superiors, had readily succumbed to the four Pizarro brothers and their forces. Along the way, the Spaniards had attacked the locals, imprisoned their leaders, looted Inca valuables and desecrated places of worship.

One sacred casualty, Pizarro boasted, was an 8-foot-tall wooden idol, intricately carved with human figures and animals, once housed in the Painted Temple near what is now Lima. The Inca revered the idol, which represented one of their most important deities, as an oracle. But Pizarro quickly linked the artifact to apparent “devil” worship and ordered his followers to “undo the vault where the idol was and break him in front of everyone.”

Shortly after, Western records of the artifact dwindled, and the so-called Pachacamac Idol was presumed destroyed, as Pizarro had planned.

Researchers chemically analyzed wood samples of the Pachacamac Idol to determine its origins. (Sepúlveda et al., PLOS ONE, 2020)

Now, new research suggests the idol actually survived the Spanish conquest—and has been in the hands of archaeologists for the past 82 years, reports Laura Geggel for Live Science. Writing in a study published yesterday in the journal PLOS ONE, a team of researchers presents evidence suggesting that a Peruvian artifact first unearthed in 1938 is the original idol, not a later forgery as some suspected.

Scientists led by Marcela Sepúlveda, an archaeologist at the University of Tarapacá in Chile, decided to settle the debate once and for all. After taking a small sample of wood from the idol, she and her colleagues chemically analyzed it. Then, they stumbled across their first surprise: The material dated to roughly 800 A.D., during the time of the pre-Inca Wari people and a good 700 years before Pizarro’s arrival.

Significant effort must have gone into preserving and caring for the idol over the course of the centuries, even as it presumably changed hands, according to Aristos Georgiou of Newsweek.

Despite spending centuries underground, the Pachacamac Idol is still coated in flecks of pigment, including red cinnabar (red arrows). (Marcela Sepulveda/Rommel Angeles/Museo de sitio Pachacamac)

A Wari influence in the idol’s creation might also explain its unusual coloring—a combination of reds, whites and yellows, the researchers found. The rustier hues were the result of cinnabar, a mercury-based pigment found on other Wari artifacts. Artists likely had to travel to secure the pigment, underscoring just how valuable the idol was to its creators, says Patrick Ryan Williams, an anthropologist at Chicago’s Field Museum who wasn’t involved in the study, to Geggel.

The discovery of cinnabar also helps put another false rumor to rest: that the idol’s red hues were traces of blood, Sepúlveda tells Georgiou.

That the idol’s coloring survived this long is perhaps another testament to its preservation. Certainly the Wari considered the task well worth the effort: As Sepúlveda explains, the idol may have represented the creator of the Earth—a deity of so much importance that even the Inca emperor once paid the Painted Temple a visit.


Pachacamac

Pachacamac was one of the glories of the Inca world, but it also had a history that stretched back long before the Inca conquest. Here, excavations are underway on a remarkable building (B15), with the Inca Temple of the Sun in the background.
Pilgrimages and power in ancient Peru

Excavations at Pachacamac in Peru have revealed evidence for large-scale pilgrimages at the time of the Incas. Ongoing research is exploring the pilgrims’ motivations and the ceremonies performed by them. Project director Peter Eeckhout describes the discoveries made by his team and how they illuminate our understanding of the biggest pre-Columbian empire.

When the Spanish conquistador Hernando Pizarro arrived at Pachacamac in January 1533, he had before him one of the jewels of the Inca Empire. This extraordinary site covers nearly 600ha and consists of three concentric areas. The Sacred Precinct, near the sea, contains the principal temples the Second Precinct holds many monumental mudbrick buildings, including elite residences known as ramp pyramids, as well as streets and stately courts and plazas the Third Precinct, the largest and least explored, has today been consumed by the desert, whose dunes cover the buildings forming the suburbs of Pachacamac. ‘We arrived,’ Pizarro says, ‘in this city that seems very old because most of the buildings are in ruins.’ Archaeological research has since vindicated his judgement. The conquistador described the city as extremely large with beautiful buildings featuring ‘terraces as in Spain’.

This beautiful early Ychsma-style urn discovered in a large funerary chamber, is decorated with a pelican capturing a fish. Interestingly, the pocket under the beak of the bird is represented as a fishing net.

Nearly 500 years later, as the morning mist lingers over the immense ruins, I think about how the site appeared at the height of its splendour. Over the course of my excavations, I have also tried to understand what the city was like before the Incas arrived, when both the site and its inhabitants were known by the name of Ychsma. For 25 years, I have been conducting research in Pachacamac under the auspices of the Université libre de Bruxelles, ULB Foundation, and the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research, to establish a better understanding of the city that Pizarro described.

The terraced buildings that caught the Spaniard’s eye are what we now call pyramids with ramps. After dedicating more than a decade to the systematic excavation of these buildings and piecing together the political power structure of the chiefdom of Ychsma, we are now interested in its main deity, who was also called Ychsma, before being renamed Pachacamac by the Incas. They made his worship one of the main oracular cults of their empire and organised amazing pilgrimages in the god’s honour.

Building B3 (possibly a minor sanctuary) yielded numerous examples of foundation offerings, including this dog burial.

To be a pilgrim

According to the conquistadors this custom was extremely popular, and the Spanish recorded some details about the cult. The faithful came from all parts of the Empire, travelling for hundreds of miles in order to see the famous oracle. Arrival at Pachacamac only marked the beginning of their devotions, as they had to subject themselves to prolonged fasting, praying, and making offerings to the deity. Over time the pilgrims progressed through successive courts, which took them ever closer to the sanctuary. The entire process took over a year!

Among the hundreds of offerings deposited at building B15 during an abandonment ceremony conducted shortly after the Spanish conquest was this painted textile, representing a mythical being with a large crescent headdress. It is typical of the Sicán culture, which existed more than 800km away from Pachacamac.

Such behaviour raises many questions. What motivated the faithful? Why did they bend to such strict rules? What benefit did the pilgrims seek? Why was the worship of Ychsma-Pachacamac so popular? Was it just for his abilities as an oracle, or for other reasons? How old was the pilgrimage custom? Was it instituted by the Incas, the Ychsma, or could its origins lie even further back in time? Such questions cannot be safely answered by recourse to colonial texts alone, and the Incas and their predecessors did not create written records, so it is to archaeology that we must turn.

A wall painting from building B15 under conservation. The yellow figure on a red background represents an anthropomorphic being (the head is missing), from the arms of which seem to flow streams of yellow and black liquid, perhaps a symbol of abundance and fertility.

The protocol that the pilgrims followed also held sway at all the great pilgrimage sites of the Inca Empire, such as the island of the Sun of Titicaca, or the Coricancha of Cusco. Indeed, the snippets of information that are known about the Pachacamac pilgrimage and oracular worship have been used to create a model for interpreting the site not only at the time of the Incas, but also in previous periods. It has also been applied to other sites across the Andes, which are more or less distant in time and space. Given that this interpretation is primarily built on conquest-era documents and the conquistadors’ perceptions of what they saw, it is important to verify their statements. Some details, such as fasting and praying, are by nature archaeologically intangible, but others could be tested to support, qualify, invalidate, or confirm the interpretation of these texts. So, we began an excavation programme to better understand the character of the pilgrimage, its longevity, and its popularity. The places that we targeted were selected to answer questions relating to the logistics of the pilgrimage, the types of rituals that the pilgrims carried out, and their place of origin.

This is an extract from an article featured in issue 92 of Current World Archaeology. Click here for more information about subscribing to the magazine.


Pachacamac

As far as pre-Hispanic Peruvian gods go, Pachacamac was a pretty heavy hitter.

The maker of the Earth the soul that animated the world god not only of creation but also fire and earthquakes, with a visage too terrible for mere humans to gaze upon: Pachacamac was, without a doubt, a big deal. So it’s hardly surprising that a settlment named after the god, and centered around a shrine dedicated to him, would end up being a big deal as well.

Pachacamac started out as a settlement by the Lima culture around 200 CE and included not only the “Earth-Maker’s” temple but also the god’s oracle, who was believed to be able to predict the future and control the movement of the Earth, and whom pilgrims consulted for help, advice, and prophecy. Though originally a religious center with only local significance, its influence spread after coming under the control of the larger Wari culture in roughly 650, and later the Yschma culture in 1100 following the collapse of the Wari.

Both the Wari and the Yschma expanded Pachacamac with religious as well as secular building projects and used it as an administrative center in the region, but otherwise seem to have allowed the complex to operate largely autonomously. The importance of Pachacamac was such that even the conquering Inca had to respect it when they took control in 1470. In an unprecedented move, the Inca admitted the god Pachacamac to a top spot in their pantheon and allowed the religious activity in the city to carry on independent of the Inca state religion (though they did make their own addition to the city in the form of a temple to their sun god, Inti). Such was the significance of this centuries-old religious center.

Then, in 1533, 15 Spanish idiots looted the place. The pyramids and temples were torn down, and the bricks and stone were used to build colonial stuff.

Rediscovery and excavation of Pachacamac began in 1939 and continues to this day. Contemporary visitors can see the remains of some 20 different sites including several temples, mausolea, and other ritual sites, all over an area of almost 1,500 acres.

Know Before You Go

Depending on the time of the year, it can get very hot at Pachacamac—the same goes for the desert coastal regions of Peru. Because you're close to the equator where the sun's effects are the most intense in the world, the chances of getting a severe burn are high! There is very little shade at the site so bring a heavy sunscreen with you, at least a 50 SPF.


Archie Comics

In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, Pachacamac was the leader of the Knuckles Clan, a warrior caste of a group of Echidna colonist from Albion. They settled in Soumerca, where Pachacamac and the Knuckles Clan remained behind to fight a territorial war with the Felidae and the Nocturnus Clan. When the war was going against the Knuckles Clan, Pachacamac sought to harness the power of seven local Chaos Emeralds to win the war, but ended up incurring the wrath of Chaos and was subsequently killed by the creature.

Sonic the Comic

In Sonic the Comic, Pachacamac was named "Pochacamac". In this media, Pochacamac was the ancient spiritual leader of the Ancient Echidnas who let his people against the Drakon Empire in a war to keep them from using the Chaos Emeralds to conquer the galaxy. Eventually, Pochacamac had a vision of Sonic the Hedgehog who would become the Drakon's sworn enemy in the future, so he and Tikal brought Sonic to their time to help them. However, when Chaos nearly killed Sonic, Pochacamac sent Sonic back to his own time to save his life.

Sonic X

In the anime series Sonic X, much like in the games, Pachacamac was an ancient warmongering chief of a tribe of echidnas and sought the Chaos Emeralds to seize power. Despite his daughter Tikal's attempts to change his mind, Pachacamac attacked the Emeralds' shrine with his men, only to incur the anger of Chaos who killed him when the creature transformed into Perfect Chaos.

Sonic the Hedgehog (film)

Pachacamac as he appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog film.

Pachacamac was among the echidna tribe that tracked down and attacked Sonic and Longclaw in the film's prologue. ⎚]


How to Do It

If you have just a day or two in Lima, visit Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores. Tours are offered in English and Spanish, nearly every thirty minutes, and the whole visit takes no more than an hour. And yes, there are onsite llamas. While your meals in the city will likely be accounted for, the attached restaurant is worth stopping by for a snack. (Order the papas rellenas (stuffed potatoes) and a pisco sour.) Stick around until it gets dark, when you’ll get a lit-up view of the huaca beside you.


Pilgrimage to Pachacamac

After working for several years on pre-Columbian Landscapes of Baures in Bolivia, this summer was the first time that Badler and Erickson focused on Pachacamac, a religious site located southeast of Lima, Peru. Pachacamac was first settled in 200 CE and was an important site of religious pilgrimage that drew large crowds from across the region. Archaeologist Max Uhle excavated the site in 1896 and brought a diverse collection of 7,946 objects back to the Penn Museum, including pottery, stone tools, textiles, food remains, baskets, and mummies, all incredibly well-preserved by the arid desert climate.

RELATED

Before the conquest of the Incas in the 15th century, Pachacamac would have been bustling with crowds and processions. Now, it’s a quiet tourist attraction, devoid of the sounds, smells, noises, and “shock and awe” that one would have felt when entering a place of its significance.

As a starting point toward peopling the site, Badler and Erickson worked with nine research assistants this summer to build a digital Pachacamac. One of the technical challenges is creating realistic-looking human processions using computer graphics models. Typical simulations involve telling a program the number of people and how you want them to move, but with Pachacamac, people need to move and act differently based on where they are—for example, they might need to move slower around a religious site to make an offering. “These are not just pedestrians wandering around,” Badler explains. “They have a motivation, they have some common purpose and direction.”

This summer, Susan Xie, a junior in the DMD program from Marlboro, New Jersey, worked on ways to parameterize Pachacamac crowd simulations. “For instance, in the marketplace you don’t want them to be dancing—they should be talking to each other or walking around,” she explains. Using reference materials from the site’s original excavation, Xie created digital models of Pachacamac buildings and used Houdini, a 3D animation software, to try out different ways that crowds could move through the site.

To help create clothing for the Pachacamac pilgrims, Felicity Yick, a DMD sophomore from Hong Kong, used digital scans of textiles from the Penn Museum, along with motion capture work and 3D modelling software, to animate walking cycles and movements so the clothing would move naturally during the processions. “You don’t want people to halt and be really stiff,” Yick explains. “You want to animate people standing with subtle movements.”

For more detailed views of key rooms at Pachacamac, Adam Canarick, a DMD junior from Woodbury, New York, recreated the interior and exterior of the oracle room, an important place where pilgrims would leave offerings. His challenge was both filling a room with hundreds of unique, realistic offerings while still creating a scene that matched historical descriptions.

“They were describing it as cave-like, so I wanted to convey that feeling but also make sure that the audience could see the composition,” explains Canarick. After studying objects from the Penn Museum to get the right forms and textures for the offerings, Canarick also “sculpted” the wooden oracle statue and added a skylight and a fire to help illuminate the scene.

This preliminary work is not only a starting point toward peopling Pachacamac but can also be used to answer archaeological questions. Digital recreations can help researchers visualize different types of structures for buildings where only foundations remain, see how quickly pilgrims could enter and exit a place if there were a limited number of entry points, or how a speaker located at the far end of the site would have been heard by those standing far away. “The archaeological past is partial,” says Erickson, “The digital realm allows you an infinite number of reconstructions to try different things.”


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There have been so many ancient cultures in Peru who have gone on to create so many citadels, f.

In the heart of Pre-Columbian Lima, at the time of the arrival of the Spanish, a vast city was.

We travelled closer and closer to the imperial city of Cuzco, along a similar route to which In.

The Inca Empire had all but collapsed, the Inca capital of Q'osco had been conquered and a pupp.

Six hours from Arequipa, on the route to the Coropuna volcano, are the ruins of an ancient cere.

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