Pañamarca Landcapes

Pañamarca Landscapes, Nepeña Valley, Peru

Pañamarca in the Nepeña Valley, Peru, has inspired explorers, archaeologists, artists, and historians for generations. Situated atop a granite outcrop, the site consists of an imposing stepped adobe platform, two lower—yet expansive—adobe platforms, a large adobe walled plaza, and numerous smaller structures. Elaborate multicolored Moche period (500–800 CE) murals depicting priests, warriors, and supernatural beings decorate the plaza and platform walls. Excavation and documentation of some of these murals took place in 2010 by Dr. Lisa Trever. In addition to the Moche component to the site, earlier and later stone architecture and ceramics indicate that people were using the site from at least 2,300 years ago up until the 1300s CE. The current research program is a collaboration between Dr. Trever (Columbia University), Dr. Hugo Ikehara (Pontifical Catholic University of Chile), Dr. Marco Pfeiffer (University of Chile, Santiago) and Denver Museum of Nature & Science curator Dr. Michele Koons. The work aims to better understand the cultural chronology of the site and past use and development of the surrounding landscape.


Michele Koons, PhD

Associate Curator of Archaeology

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