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knowledge of history

knowledge of history

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Published by: ever smile on Aug 20, 2008
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The Moche Civilization

Location of the Moche
•The Moche civilization thrived from about 200 CE to 700 CE in three river valleys, the Chicama, Moche, and Viru in Northern Peru. •The Moche civilization was not a single unified empire, rather it was smaller river temple societies that were linked by their common pottery making traditions and their religion.

Moche Pyramids “Huacas”
•There were two main Huacas; Huaca de la Sol (4 levels) and Huaca de la Luna (3 levels) •They were 500 meters apart and in between the two Huacas were the villages of the Moche •Inside each Huaca contained elaborate murals with bright colors •Murals were constantly being refinished and repainted

Picture: Huaca de la Luna

•Each Huaca contained its own courtyard with a ceremonial structure in the center •The Huacas had different burial chambers separated by rank, with the most important burials chambers being larger in size. Those of higher rank also had human sacrifices placed in their chambers

Huaca de la Luna
•Found the remains of more then 70 people which had been dismembered •All adult males between the ages of 15 - 39 •Bone testing led to the assumption that they were warriors (only a select group of people could be warriors) •They would have been killed for human sacrifice
Picture: remains found in huaca

Religion and Human •The Moche people used human sacrifice as part of their Sacrifice religion in order to please their gods
•There was no large scale warfare, during battle the Moche tried not to kill their enemies, rather they only wanted to stun them so that they could keep them for later ritual human sacrifice. •Moche leaders also sacrificed their prisoners of war in an attempt to control the weather.
Picture: god, “fanged god”

Picture showing Moche bringing back prisoners for sacrifice (from pottery)

Religion and Gods
•The Moche religion consisted of several gods (part human, part animal) that they depicted in their pottery. •They did not believe that their gods had any direct interaction with them. •These gods included a creator god as well as one called the “decapitator,” indicating the practice of human sacrifice. •Moche pottery shows human sacrifice being performed on the mountain tops of the area.
Picture: mural in a huaca of their god the decapitator

Moche Pottery
•They are mainly characterized by their elaborate and extensive pottery collections which covered all aspects of their society, from their metal work and weaving to war and sex. •The pottery acted as a way of communication and storytelling that made up for their lack of a written language. •They used limited colors in their pottery, using mostly white and red.
Picture: Moche Pottery

Moche Pottery
•Important Moche figures had their heads depicted in pottery, similar to marble busts of the Greek and Roman eras. •The pottery heads show intricate jewelry, some of which was found in the burial chambers. •The differences in the burial chambers as well as the pottery heads indicate definite class distinctions, with the lowest people being the captured prisoners that were used as human sacrifices.
Pictures: Moche Pottery

Moche Metalwork the •The Moche people had
most advanced metallurgical industry in Peru. •They were the first users of the lost-wax technique to mold bronze, and they also hammered and cut gold and copper.

Picture: Moche mask metalwork

•The Moche used metal for many things, including adornments for their clothing, ceremonial masks, armor and weapons.

The Collapse of the Moche
• “Mega El Niño” - Thirty years of rain and floods followed by thirty years of drought. • The weather produced a great unrest with the Moche people because they could not explain or understand why it was happening •The terrible conditions and the leaders’ lack of ability to control it led to unrest and fighting amongst the different communities. •This fighting, added to the lack of resources such as food and land, led to the slow deterioration and eventual destruction of the Moche civilization.
Picture: “El Niño”

Moche Review Questions
1. How did the Moche civilization convey their thoughts and ideas without the use of a written language? What led to the collapse of the civilization? Was the Moche a unified empire or localized river temple societies linked through craft exchange and religion?



Pictures: Moche Pottery

Benson, E.P. (1972). The Mochica: A Culture of Peru. New York: Praeger Publishers. Davidson, Nick (2005, March 2). Lost Society Tore Itself Apart. BBC News. Retrieved October 26, 2005, from www.bbcnews.com Donnan, D.B. (2004). Moche Portraits from Ancient Peru. Austin: University of Texas Press. Mochica. (n.d.). The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Retrieved October 26, 2005, from Answers.com Web site: http://www.answers.com/topic/moche Pillsburg, Joanne (eds.). (2001). Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Shimada, Izumi (1994). Pampa Grande and the Mochica Culture. Austin: University of Texas Press.

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