Peru is certainly a land of evolution and development, where ancient civilizations marked our country and influenced the succeeding cultures that would later impact our society. Even in the most remote corner of the country are mysteries yet to be solved and Cerro Sechín is certainly one of those.
If you love history and nature as much as we do, then you’ll surely be glad to know that you can combine the most visually striking scenery of Peru with its ancient history and artistic expression during your trip to Huaraz.
Therefore, if you’re eager to know about one of the oldest civilizations in America, we can show you where to start. Thousands of years ago, a mysterious civilization ruled a part of the north coast of Peru and left a riddle yet to be solved.
The Sechin culture was thought to be the first civilization of the Americas, though this theory was discarded after the Caral Citadel discovery. However, the Sechin are one of the oldests since they predated -and influenced- the Chavin culture.
Nonetheless, due to the ruins’ poor conservation state, there is not much information besides the results of the excavations and studies carried out on the place. Although if it wasn’t for that, we would have certainly missed a significant part of our pre-Columbian history.
We want you to see it for yourself, but first, let us guide you through the gloomy past of this ancient civilization yet unknown to many. Continue reading and learn everything about the archeological complex of Cerro Sechin.
Cerro Sechin was discovered in 1937 by the father of Peruvian archaeologists, Julio C. Tello, who intensively studied the site during an expedition intended to find more settlements or evidence linked to the Chavin Culture.
Julio C. Tello had already finished his expedition when he had word with an hacienda owner, who happened to have a prehispanic art collection extracted from different cemeteries around the area. One of these pieces was an engraved stone which ignited the curiosity of the famous archeologist.
Thanks to that, Julio made his way to a nearby ‘Huaca’ that locals knew as ‘Indio Bravo,’ which translates to Angry Indian in English. This location was the now-called Cerro Sechín. The archeologist was impressed by the discovery since it was a massive structure with at least 97 engraved stones that depict human sacrifices, wars, mutilations and more.
However, Tello attributed the pre-Hispanic construction to the Chavin culture, which years later was proved wrong. The studies carried out after Julio C. Tello’s discovery had more accurate results and they managed to uncover the approximate construction period, positioning it in 1500 B.C.
Cerro Sechín is composed of a platform flanked by a retaining wall and a main construction sided by two smaller buildings. Apparently, the site had a political-religious purpose though this is still uncertain.
The perimeter stone wall was entirely decorated with engravings of warrior-priests and their dismembered victims. However, there are different interpretations about these figures since it has remained a total mystery to specialists.
For example, Tello used to say that the images represented the battle victories of the ruling civilization. While Federico Kauffmann Doig believed that they portrayed human sacrifices as part of a ceremony intended to counter hunger and droughts.
Years later after Sechin’s discovery, three other archeological sites were found around the region, also linked to the Sechín culture. These complexes are called Taukachi Konkan, Sechin Bajo and Sechin Alto, being the last one of the most important sites of Prehispanic America.
The Cerro Sechín Archeological Site is located north of Lima in the Casma Valley, three hours away from the city of Huaraz. It is worth mentioning that the site is a not-so-touristy attraction located in a remote location.
Therefore, if you wish to be part of this experience, we highly recommend taking a guided tour to the place. Luckily for you, we organize trips to Cerro Sechín starting from Huaraz. If you wish further information, please contact our travel specialists.
- Address: Panamericana Norte 14A, 02660.
- Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday from 09:00 to 17:00h.
- General Entrance: S/. 5.50.
Would you like to uncover the mysteries of northern Peru? Viagens Machu Picchu cares to provide everything you need to have an authentic experience during your vacations. Check our travel packages and start planning the trip of your life!