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Site Description

The site of Huaca el Pueblo has a long occupational history, and was probably one of the most important Moche sites in the lower part of the Zaña Valley throughout the Moche occupation in the region. During the summer of 2004, Walter Alva and I conducted a preliminary field season to evaluate the nature of the site, and found that its occupation spanned nearly 1200 years; it has Cupisnique, Moche, Lambayeque, and Inca material. The Moche presence at Huaca el Pueblo is especially interesting since the Moche appear to have constructed most of the monumental architecture.

Huaca el Pueblo is located alongside the village of Ucupe, about 500 m south of the Zaña River. In fact, the village and the Pan-American Highway are built on the eastern part of the site. The site of Huaca el Pueblo measures approximately 1.8 km east - west and 800 m north - south. The main objectives of the 2004 field season were 1) to assess the nature of the occupations and 2) to create a digital map of the site. We recorded six monumental structures (E1-E6) as well as a large domestic sector, Tell-1. The monumental architecture includes a step pyramid, and a series of platforms and terraces connected together by a system of ramps and plazas. The main truncated pyramidal structure, known as E-1, is 80.5 m long 55.4 m wide and 17.6 high. It was difficult to assess the intensity of the occupation as a sizeable part of the site is buried under windblown sand. Nonetheless, some 200 meters east of the architecture there is a vast and deeply stratified domestic sector—Tell-1.

The main structure pyramid E-1.

Platforms E-2 and E-3.

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