History, the archaeological sites of Lima
The first traces of humans in the department of Lima were found in Ancon, 50 kilometers north of the city,
the age of which having been determined to be 10,000 years. These first "Limeños" (residents of Lima)
were hunters and collectors, and they lived in nearby hilly regions, like the Lomas de Lachay or Lucumo, which
were filled with abundant resources. Four thousand years later, humans began to build settlements in the hills, like
the one Federico Engel discovered in Cerro Paloma. There, the houses were circular shaped and their structure
supported by cane or whale bones and then covered with grasses or rushes.
Once Limeños learned how to farm and to domesticate livestock, they began to construct large temples and
administrative centers, like the city of Caral, oldest in the Americas. Dr. Ruth Shady, who discovered the city,
estimates the city is five thousand years old, existing even before the Chavin culture.
Civilization progressively spread throughout all the fertile river valleys of Lima, and then, around 1500 B.C.,
the Garagay Temple was built in the Rimac River Valley. Here, we find certain similarities with the art found in
Chavin, especially its cat-like friezes. This site is comprised of five buildings laid out in a U-shape with one circular
plaza in the center, a typical coastal design for this period.
Between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D., the time of regional developments, the Rimac River Valley was ruled by
the tribe bearing the same name, and their power stretched from the Chancay to the Lurin river valleys. Moreover,
their construction mimicked certain features of the northern Mochica culture: truncated adobe pyramids with
access ramps, like those found in the Maranga, Pucllana, and Huallamarca archeological sites.
Towards the end of the first millennium, the area fell under the influence of the Tiahuanaco-Huari expansion, as
borne out by some of the buildings in the Pachacamac, Cajamarquilla, and Ancon complexes, not to mention the
"kullkis" (round storehouses made of stone) at Rupac in the mountainous area of the Chillon River.