The Lima culture was an indigenous Peruvian civilization inhabiting the area where the modern capital of Peru, Lima is located. They occupied the area between 100 to 650 AD, or during the so-called Early Intermediate Period.
They lived around the same time as the surrounding pre-Incan civilizations like Moche, Nasca, and Recuay. Unlike these nations, the Lima are less known, most likely due to the proximity and similarities with the previously mentioned cultures.
However, there are still many things that we do know about the Lima.
The Beginnings of Lima Civilization
Just like many civilizations in the region, the Lima developed and survived by taming as much as they could from the hostile natural surroundings. The area around the city of Lima and the entire central coastal region of Peru is known for being arid, with many deserts. However, due to the proximity of the sea and the Andes, the Lima found ways to survive.
The sea provided a varied diet of fish and shellfish, while the slopes of the Peru were useful for a wide variety of plants. Like many others in the region, the Lima also developed agriculture. Most of these civilizations flourished during the Early Intermediate Period as most of them found ways of developing complex irrigation systems, benefiting greatly from farming.
Lima culture started in the Lurin valley, but with the development of farming, they started moving to the coastal regions as well, where they formed several major cities and cultural centers like Wak’a Wallamarka, Pucllana, Pachacamac, and Cajamarquilla.
The Development of Lima Culture
From various archeological digs, we've learned some exciting things about the Lima. First of all, they developed amazing ceramic artwork. They used red and white ceramics, as well as intense coloring and negative ornament painting. Their people used mold technology, which enabled them to mass-produce many forms of ceramic pieces.
Outside of ceramics, they developed great textiles, as well. Many mummies were found in the area the Lima inhabited, most of which were dressed in a wide variety of luxurious textiles made from cotton and several animal furs. The mummies also point to a lot of change in the clothing of the Lima as their civilization progressed.
In the end, we should also mention that the Lima developed great temples in their major population centers, known as the wak’as. Many of these can still be seen in the modern city of Lima. However, many are buried beneath the city and cannot be explored, as this could significantly disrupt the city.
The Later Changes and Decline of the Lima
As time passed, and their civilization flourished, the elite class developed and gained more prominence in society. The proof for this can be found in their burial sites. Some are almost empty, while others have a wide variety of expensive artifacts and other ornaments. It's evident that the elites had a lot more power than other people in the Lima nation.
However, it wasn't the elites, but the changes in the climate starting around 600 that brought about the decline of the Lima. The people began moving to various regions across Peru, which resulted in the eventual breakup of the Lima civilization and the introduction of other cultures to the region, particularly the Wari Empire which came from the southern Andes.
If you want to learn more about the Lima people and other surrounding cultures, there are plenty of travel options we can offer you.
Huaca Pucllana by Marly Orrego
Huaca Cajamarquilla by Marc Samaniego