Major archaeological dig to begin in northern Peru

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Officials in Chocope, in La Libertad province, announced today the beginning of an ambitious dig project at the archaeological site of Mocollope. The Regional Cultural Board of La Libertad told press that archaeologist Jorge Quijano Roja will be leading the excavation, which will begin on Monday, Sept. 9.

El Comercio reports that the dig, which constitutes an investment of S/. 270,000, will investigate a ruined mud brick city that locals call “la huaca.” The site, according to archaeologists, was originally 12 square kilometers in area. However, damage over the centuries has reduced the site’s size by up to 70%. El Comercio writes that Mocollope was an important ceremonial site that would have been occupied by a number of different civilizations including the Cuspinique, Salinar, Gallinazo, Moche, and Chimú societies, from 1300 BC to 850 AD.

Renowned archaeologist Régulo Franco, who discovered the Lady of Cao in 2006, served as an evaluator on the site prior to approval being given to dig. Franco told Andina news agency that certain aspects of the ruins indicated to him that there may be an important tomb within the site.

One of the dig’s goals in excavating Mocollope is to clarify the architecture and organizational structure of the site in order to get a better idea of the scale and nature of the city.

According to El Comercio, residents of Chocope are hopeful that the excavation will unearth something that will attract tourists to the area, which would provide much-needed revenue for the town.Site could contain potentially significant tomb, says archaeologist.

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