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The Mochicas

  • Luis Jaime Castillo Butters
  • Santiago Uceda Castillo

The Mochicas (also called the Moche) developed as independent and interacting polities in the northern valleys of coastal Peru between AD 200 and 850 (Figure 36.1). As with most coastal societies, the Mochicas can be understood as a truly successful adaptation to the coastal environment, where maritime resources were combined with an advanced agriculture based on irrigation technology. The large, northern, multi-river Piura, Lambayeque and Jequetepeque valleys contrast with the much smaller southern Chicama, Moche, Virú and Santa valleys. This influenced historical processes, which were quite distinct, and are only now coming into focus as a result of long-term archaeological research projects.

The Mochicas inherited a long cultural tradition, quite distinct from other traditions in the Central Andes. From the precocious coastal societies of the Late Preceramic through to Cupisnique (Chavin’s coastal spin-off), and into a number of small and locally constrained societies such as Salinar, the Mochica tradition experienced a history of success and failure, adaptation and environmental catastrophe, technological mastery in metallurgy and irrigation, and great achievements in art and religious architecture. But because the Mochicas were not one but many independent polities not all achievements, nor every trait or characteristic – be it art or technology – can be attributed to the whole of the Mochicas. The distribution of Mochica cultural features varies from time to time, as do some of their regional expressions.

Keywords

North Coast Ritual Practice Irrigation Technology National Gallery Ritual Performance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luis Jaime Castillo Butters
    • 1
  • Santiago Uceda Castillo
    • 2
  1. 1.Oficina de Relaciones InternacionalesPontificia Universidad Católica del PerúPeru
  2. 2.Universidad Nacional de TrujilloPeru

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