You are on page 1of 2

The huaca El Dragon lies approximately 1.

100 meters N NE of the northern

peripheral wall of the main ruins of Chan Chan, largest prehistoric city in Peru.
It's only about 100 meters west of the present Panamerican highway and c. 3
1/2 km. north of the Plaza de Armas of Trujillo. Along with a few other
structures we shall mention shortly, it occupies a rather lonely position on the
broad pampa which streches between Chan Chan and the outlying foothills of
tthe Cordillera Negra, in this instance Cerro Cabras.
The inmediate ancient structures which are in relatively close proximity to the
Huaca El Dragon are: 1) the irrigation canal Vinchasao, wich passes about 80
meters north of the huaca in a northwesterly direction; 2) the huaca
Tacaynamo, c. 500 meters S SW and a rifled cemetery c. 600 meters northwest.
(Plan of Chan Chan in Kosok: 1965 : 85.) In adittion to these there were
numerous superficial alignments of stones on the pampa, occasional traces of
sporadic excavated burial and suspicious hillocks, but none of these latter
proved to be consequential remains.
Of the four units mentiones, only the huaca Tacaynamo appears to have been
integrally related to the huaca El Dragn. It will be discussed later. The structed
before or after the temple cannot be establised. The smaller buildings to the
southwest superficially resemble the huaca El Dragn in construction, but no
surface remains were found that indicated any particular reason other than
juxtapisition for interrelating them. The role of the cemetery will be discussed
The earliest reference to the huaca are rather imprecise, so that it is not even
posible to be sure that they refer to El Dragn. In the plan of Martinez
Compaon, lamina LXXXI, Vestigios de poblacin Chim, which is the first
general plan of Chan Chan, he shows by his No. 12, three edifices in the
approximate position of the huaca El Dragn and Tacaynamo: tres edificios
amurallados que indicant haber servido para guarder semas. Since there are
no other structures in this zone, except the two small edificies or the two larger
huacas, the plan of Martinez doubtless refers to one or all of these. The
reference to amurallado is correct for El Dragn and the two small structures,
but not for Tacaynamo. In any case, the inaccuracy of the plan and brevity of
the description can contribute little to our understanding of the ruin as it
The next reference comes from Squier, who spent some time describing what
appears to hava been one of the two huacas. We quote his description:
Descending the slope, we encountered, outside of the great wall, two
rectangular pyramid, or huaca. The first of these inclosures is 252 feet long by
222 feet at the ends (follows a description of the huaca Tacaynamo)

The other structure referred to corresponds very closely with this. It is 240 feet
long by 210 feet wide, the outer walls 20 feet high by 8 feet thick, and the
interior huaca, or mound, 172 feet long by 152 wid, and 40 feet high. No
human ramins were found here, but the summit of the mound showed that it
had been divided into sections, or chambers, from five to six feet square, by
walls of rubble 18 inches thick. I could not resist the conviction that this
structure, like the other, had been built for sepulchral purposes, but had not
been used. (Squier, 1877 : 119.)
The problem of interpreting Squiers remarks rests in the discrepancy of
measurements. A second problem arises in his failure to mention any vestiges
of decorated walls.
If we include the room dimensions given by Squier (which by the description,
we are hardly entitled to) they come out about the same as those of the cells.
While it is fairly certain that Squier saw and measured this huaca, we can offer
no explanation for the unusually large margin of error except that he calculated
the dimensions rapidly. Of the description, the most potentially useful part is
that referring to the room divisions that the summit of the mound showed.
This may possibly mean that the upper platform, now hopelessly destroyed,
contained room; or it may simply be a reference to the cells which are noted on
the plan. The total height figure which would reinforce the former opinion

Related Interests