Huaca del Sol
The Huaca del Sol is an adobe
Adobe is a natural building material made from sand, clay, water, and some kind of fibrous or organic material , which the builders shape into bricks using frames and dry in the sun. Adobe buildings are similar to cob and mudbrick buildings. Adobe structures are extremely durable, and account for...
brick temple built by the Moche
'The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru from about 100 AD to 800 AD, during the Regional Development Epoch. While this issue is the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as a monolithic empire or state...
civilization on the coast of what is now Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....
. The temple is one of several ruins found near the peak of Cerro Blanco, in the coastal desert near Trujillo, Peru
Trujillo, in northwestern Peru, is the capital of the La Libertad Region, and the third largest city in Peru. The urban area has 811,979 inhabitants and is an economic hub in northern Peru...
. The other major ruin at the site is the nearby Huaca de la Luna
Huaca de la Luna
Huaca de la Luna is a large adobe brick structure built mainly by the Moche people of northern Peru. Along with the Huaca del Sol, the Huaca de la Luna is part of Huacas de Moche, which is the remains of an ancient Moche capital city called Cerro Blanco.-Background:The Huacas de Moche site is...
, a better-preserved but smaller temple.
By 450 CE, eight different stages of construction had been completed on the Huaca del Sol. The construction of the temple was additive; new layers of brick were laid directly on top of the old, hence large quantities of bricks were required for its construction. It has been estimated by archaeologists that the Huaca del Sol was composed of over 130 million adobe bricks and was the largest pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...
adobe structure built in the Americas. The number of different makers' marks on the bricks suggests that over a hundred different communities contributed bricks to the construction of the Huacas.
The Huaca del Sol was composed of four main levels and the structure was expanded and rebuilt by different rulers over the course of time. Located at the center of the Moche capital city, archaeological evidence suggests that this temple was used for ritual activity and as a royal residence and burial chambers.
During the Spanish
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...
occupation of Peru in the early 17th century, the waters of the Moche River were redirected to run past the base of the Huaca del Sol in order to facilitate the looting of gold artifacts from the temple. The creation of this hydraulic mine greatly damaged the Huaca del Sol, and it is estimated that approximately two-thirds of the structure has been lost to erosion and looting. The remaining structure stands at a height of 41 meters (135 feet). It is believed to have originally been about 50 meters in height. Looting and erosion due to El Niño continue to be major concerns to this day.