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Sandcastles Full of Gold
 

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Look, it's a huge sandcastle falling apart! Wait, no, it's the largest precolombian structure in North and South America!
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OK, these are definitely the largest sandcastles I've ever seen. They are the pyramids Huaca del Sol (the Pyramid of the Sun), and Huaca de la Luna (Pyramid of the moon). These are the largest structures in South America built far before Columbus set foot in the Americas. They are made up of around 140 million adobe bricks!

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The Pyramid of the Sun
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Chiclayo, Sipan, Lambayeque and Trujiullo Peru
At the base of the Huaca de la Luna, I noticed over thirty people out in the middle of the flat desert, digging, measuring, and talking. They were hiding from the blowing sand beneath white scarves. It looked like a scene from Raiders of the Lost Arc, the difference only that instead of mistreated Arabs, this work was being done by Archeology students from the University of La Libertad, in Trujillo. Hey! I think I should have studied Archeology! I never had classes like this!

Two of 42 sacrificed men
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Anamaria, a student in Archeology acted as my guide, and as we climbed up the pyramid, she told many magical and scary stories. Would you believe that a medicine man had a dream about this place hundreds of years after it had been forgotten by people and he was able to tell what people would find here before they even knew this place existed? Also, would you believe that they someties threw live people off the mountain here because they believed that this was necessary to keep their gods happy?

The kind of frieze you can't find at Dairy Queen, only at the "Huanaco de la Luna"
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Studying these kinds of things can be very interesting end even fun! Imagine yourself as a detective digging through the earth for clues. People who have died leave clues behind, like old buildings, graves, pottery, and trash piles. Archeologists "sniff" through them and try to figure out how they lived, what they ate, and what their religions and governments were like. The Moche people drew pictures on pottery as their clues. One picture showed a woman in fancy clothes who drank the blood of the sacrifice victims from a colorful cup (maybe a queen or a priestess?). Yikes! Yet, sure enough, later on the archeologists found a woman buried here with the same dress and holding that cup from the drawing!

his is what old Moche houses look like from the hill above
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Unfortunately, we will never know many of the treasures that were left behind. Thieves came from all over the world and stole many of them. I feel very lucky that I got to see this spectacular site now.

Abeja

Monica - Inspector Monica Cracks the Case
 
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