Pachacamac, ruins of a walled Native American settlement, Peru, about 25 mi (40 km) SE of Lima in the Lurin Valley. This site, which contains a number of pyramids, was considered one of the most important religious monuments by the indigenous people of the central Andes. Spanish historical records, along with extensive archaeological research at the site, have served to clarify its history and significance. By the Early Intermediate period (c.A.D. 200-600) this site contained at least one pyramid, a cemetery, and a polychrome fresco of fish. The Huari Empire, based in the south central highlands of Peru during the period A.D. 600-800, gained hegemony over the central coast of Peru and sponsored construction at Pachacamac, probably turning it into a major Huari administrative center. Numerous Huari-influenced designs appear on the ceramics and textiles of this site's large cemetery. After Huari's collapse, Pachacamac grew in size, eventually covering c.210 acres (85 hectares). During this late phase (c.800-1450), the majority of its architectural compounds and pyramids were constructed. The primary architectural unit is the walled enclosure containing a stepped pyramid, storage structures, and patios. The site is organized around two perpendicular avenues, aligned with the cardinal directions, which cross one another at the center of the site. Historical sources indicate that in the 15th cent., the Rimac and Lurin valleys formed a small polity known as the Ichma, which established an alliance with the Inca. Following the expansion of the Inca empire, Pachacamac became an important Inca administrative center, while maintaining its status as a religious shrine. The Inca built five separate complexes there, including the Pyramid of the Sun and the Mamacuna. The latter contains fine Inca masonry in its entrance gate, a rarity on the coast. The Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro heard about Pachacamac from the Inca, while holding the Inca King Atahualpa prisoner at Cajamarca in 1532. He promptly sent an expedition to sack the center. The Spanish conquerors seized a large amount of silver and gold from the site and destroyed an idol. Spanish accounts indicate Pachacamac was one of the holiest shrines in the central Andes. The site's name derives from the Quechua term for the coastal deity, Pacha Camac [he who vitalizes the universe]. The main temple at the site was dedicated to this deity and held a famous oracle. Pilgrims traveled to the center from great distances, and its cemetery was considered sacrosanct. The site of Pachacamac has been preserved, and one of the Inca structures, the Mamacuna, has been reconstructed.

The temple of Pachacamac is an archaeological site 40 km southeast of Lima, Peru in the Valley of the Lurín River. It had at least one pyramid, cemetery and multicolored fresco of fish by the Early Intermediate period (c. 200-600 CE). Later, the Huari (c. 600-800 CE) sponsored construction of the city, probably using it as an administrative center. A number of Huari influenced designs appear on the construction in this period and on the ceramics and textiles found in the cemeteries of this period. After the collapse of the Huari empire Pachacamac continued to grow as a religious state. The majority of the common architecture and temples were built at this stage (c. 800-1450 CE).

By the time the Tawantinsuyu arrived on the scene, the valleys of the Rímac and Lurín had a small state they called Ichma and they used Pachacamac as primarily a religious site for the veneration of the Pacha Kamaq creator god. The Ichma joined the Inca empire and Pachacamac became an important administrative center. However the Inca maintained it as a religious shrine and allowed the Pachacamac priests to continue functioning independently of the Inca priesthood. This included the oracle, whom the Inca presumably consulted. The Inca built five additional buildings, including a temple to the Sun on the main square.

Pacha Kamaq God

Pacha Kamaq ('Earth-Maker') was considered the creator god by the peoples who lived in Peru before the Inca conquest. He was taken into the Inca pantheon, but somewhat reluctantly, being seen mainly as an ineffective rival of Viracocha.

His myths are sparse and confused: some accounts, for example, identify him as Manco Capac's cowardly brother Ayca, while others say that he, Manco Capac and Viracocha were the sole three sons of Inti the sun god. Another story says that he made the first man and the first woman, but forgot to give them food — and when the man died and the woman prayed over Pachacamac's head to his father Inti to make her the mother of all the peoples of earth, Pachacamac was furious. One by one, as the children were born, he tried to kill them — only to be beaten and to be thrown into the sea by her hero-son Wichama, after which he gave up the struggle and contented himself by becoming the supreme god of fish.

In popular culture

Pachacamac was the name of the ship that originally carried the abducted Professor Calculus in The Seven Crystal Balls album of The Adventures of Tintin. The next album, Prisoners of the Sun, would deal with Tintin discovering an ancient Inca tribe still active in South America.

A character that appears in the videogame Sonic Adventure is named Pachacamac after the ancient ruin.

Pachacamac also was the name chosen by a french music group performing andine music on original instruments. Albums: Pachacamac — Musique des Incas (1971), Titicaca (1973), Contrastes (1975).

Pachacamac was also the name of the main villain in Jyuken Sentai Gekiranger vs. Boukenger crossover direct-to-video movie. He was said to initially fight Brusa Ii and won just barely. His descendant, Pachacamac the 12th attacked Earth and the two Sentai teams had to team-up and defeat him in the movie.


  • Mcleish, K. (1996) Myths and Legends of the World, The Complete Companion to all Traditions, Blitz, United Kingdom.

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