An 800-year-old, pre-Inca settlement, PURUCHUCO is a labyrinthine villa. Nearby is the small but interesting Museo de Sito Puruchuco, containing a complete collection of artefacts and attire found at the site (all of which bears a remarkable similarity to what Amazon Indian communities still use today). The name itself means “feathered hat or helmet”, and recent building work in the locality discovered that the Puruchuco site was also a massive graveyard, revealing greater quantities of buried pre-Incas than most other sites in Peru. The villa’s original adobe structure was apparently rebuilt and adapted by the Incas shortly before the Spanish arrival: it’s a fascinating ruin, superbly restored in a way which vividly captures what life was like before the Conquest.

Very close by, in the Parque Fernando Carozi (ask the site guard for directions), two other ruins – Huaquerones and Catalina Huaca – are being restored, and at Chivateros there’s a quarry dating back some twelve thousand years.

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