Pampa Grande and the Mochica Culture

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Pampa Grande, the largest and most powerful city of the Mochica (Moche) culture on the north coast of Peru, was built, inhabited, and abandoned during the period A.D. 550-700. It is extremely important archaeologically as one of the few pre-Hispanic cities in South America for which there are enough reliable data to reconstruct a model of pre-Hispanic urbanism. This book presents a biography of Pampa Grande that offers a reconstruction not only of the site itself but also of the sociocultural and economic environment in which it was built and abandoned. Izumi Shimada argues that Pampa Grande was established rapidly and without outside influence at a strategic position at the neck of the Lambayeque Valley that gave it control over intervalley canals and their agricultural potential and allowed it to gain political dominance over local populations. Study of the site itself leads him to posit a large resident population made up of transplanted Mochica and local non-Mochica groups with a social hierarchy of at least three tiers.