Chan Chan: enormous ancient adobe city in Peru

Chan Chan: enormous ancient adobe city in Peru

 

The largest Pre-Columbian city in South America, Chan Chan is an archaeological site in the Peruvian region of La Libertad, five km west of Trujillo.

Chan Chan covers 20 km² and had a dense urban center of 6 km², and was constructed by the Chimor (the kingdom of the Chimú), a late intermediate period civilization which grew out of the remnants of the Moche civilization.

Chan Chan is the largest adobe city in the world and was built around AD 850. It lasted until its conquest by the Inca Empire in AD 1470. It was the imperial capital where 30,000 people lived.

In the Moche Valley there were some major economic and agricultural shifts. The first shift occurred when the settlements first became permanent. The entire diet of these coastal communities came primarily from the sea and included such foods as sea lion, shore birds, mussels, and shallow-water fish. In terms of plant foods cotton, gourds, and squash were cultivated on this river flood plain and made up a small portion of the diet.

Exotic items that were found in burials or in offerings were quite substantial. There were Spondylus, beads and pendants, from Ecuador which was found in certain graves in the burial mounds of Chan Chan. Copper, gold, and silver were also commonly found in these graves as well as some indication of copper used for domestic purposes.