The ceremonial center of Pacopampa, located in the province of Chota, in the mountain region of Cajamarca, hides treasures that continue to arouse the amazement of the world. In 2009, a priestess was found in a boot-shaped tomb along with a grave goods of gold ear cuffs and earrings, as well as a seashell necklace. She was baptized as the Lady of Pacopampa and would have lived in the year 900 BC. In 2015, the discovery was of two high-ranking figures: one of them wore a necklace with 25 gold beads and various pigments of mineral origin. In August 2022, the discovery consisted of a character who would have existed 3,000 years ago and who was buried with pututos, large seashells that were used as musical instruments.
A year later, the latest archaeological novelty unearthed on Peruvian soil is the Priest of Pacopampa, another high-ranking leader who would have lived 3,000 years ago. That is, in the year 1,000 BC (BC). in what is known as the Pacopampa I phase. It is presumed that he would have been one of the first priestly leaders of the temples in the region. The authorship of the discovery and the others mentioned corresponds to the Pacopampa Archaeological Project, led by the Japanese researcher Yuji Seki and the Peruvians Daniel Morales, Elio Pérez and Juan Pablo Villanueva, who since 2005 have not given up in their search to explore this site and thus tying up the dots of ancient Peru.
There are several peculiarities of the Priest of Pacopampa: he was found in a tomb with a large circular hole, with convex walls and three meters in diameter and one meter deep. The body, which corresponds to an adult, had open arms and crossed legs. He was lying face down. “In 43 years of research in Peru, it is the first time I have seen that position,” said archaeologist Yuji Seki.
Some of the pieces found in the excavation.Ministry of Culture (EFE)
But not only is his posture striking, but he was buried with a succession of six layers of ash and black earth. As for the offerings, ceramic bowls with geometric designs made by incision have been unearthed. Also seals that could be interpreted as painting techniques used in rituals for those who were part of the elite of their time. One of the stamps displays an anthropomorphic face facing east while the other has a jaguar design facing west. Another simply reproduces the five fingers of a hand. “We have never had so many seals on a single tomb. Therefore, we are thinking that he is a very, very important character,” adds Seki.
The tomb also contained a pin made of bone called a tupu that was used to hold cloaks and ponchos. Also deer bones and whole and broken ceramics. The archaeological complex of Pacopampa, located at 2,500 meters above sea level and with an extension of 1.5 kilometers, is made up of nine buildings made of carved and polished stone. The Priest of Pacompapa was found in the area known as La Capilla.
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Researchers maintain that this place was a pilgrimage center where ancient Peruvians from distant places came to participate in sacred rituals. The discovery reaffirms the vitality of the Pacopampa Archaeological Project, whose excavations respond to a binational agreement between the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos of Peru and the National Museum of Ethnology of Japan.
Those who lead this company demand the prompt construction of the Pacopampa Interpretation Center, which would help not only to understand the Andean civilization, but also be a tourist focus. “It will be a complementary tour of the archaeological site,” says Judith Padilla, a representative of the Ministry of Culture. To achieve this, the management of the Regional Government of Cajamarca and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism will be decisive.
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