The Archaeological Complex Paradise

The Archaeological Complex ParadiseThe Archaeological Complex Paradise
Complejo Arqueológico El Paraíso

The Archaeological Complex Paradise

One of the first big settlements and ceremonial centers in the region of Lima was "El Paraíso" (The Paradise). The complex dates back to around 2200 BC. It is located north of the City of Lima about 2 km from the Pacific Ocean directly at the Chillón River and extends over 50 hectares. The main building is a big pyramid that was probably used as a temple or an administrative center.

Impressive are the other complexes of buildings where you can see the simple dwellings of its inhabitants. An estimate of around 1500 to 3000 people lived in "El Paraíso". The supply of sufficient food and all other necessities, for an at this time huge population, was only made possible with an effective utilization of all available resources, a successful economy and an ordered social structure. Despite the fact, that Lima is located in a small dessert stripe, two for the region unique circumstances allowed the early settlers to survive:

Ruins at the Archaeological Complex El Paraiso in Lima

Ruins at the Archaeological Complex El Paraiso in Lima

El Paraiso Complex

Clearly recognizable foundation at El Paraiso Complex

Archaeological Complex Paradise in Lima

Ancient walls at the Archaeological Complex Paradise

El Paraiso Complex

Ancient construction at the first big settlement, El Paraiso, in the Lima region

El Paraiso ruins

El Paraiso ruins

  • The position at the Pacific Ocean which provided fresh fish and other sea food.
  • Lima's special climate with high humidity all year round and low clouds during the winter months in particular.

The Andes create a natural border for the humidity from the ocean and so are plants and animals supplied with the necessary water. Another side effect are a lot of microclimates throughout the Lima area. The inhabitants of "El Paraiso" could feed on hunted animals, gathered wild fruits and berries. Some time later they utilized the Chillón River and developed a primitive irrigation system to increase the effectiveness of agriculture.

Already around 2000 BC cotton (for beautifully weaved cloths), maize, yucca, pumpkins, kidney beans, sweat potatoes and fruits like lucúma (also known as lucma) and guava were cultivated. The appearance of ceramics in the Lima region around 1600 BC made it possible to cook food directly on the fire and store it.

Archaeological Complex Paradise

Construction at the Archaeological Complex Paradise

El Paraiso in Lima

El Paraiso Archaeological Complex

El Paraiso ruins, Lima

Ancient walls at El Paraiso

El Paraiso, Lima

Important archaeological discoveries were made at the El Paraiso ruins

El Paraiso ruins, Lima

Already over 4000 years ago ancient cultures at El Paraiso, Kima cultivated fruits and vegetables.

New Discovery at El Paraiso

Even though El Paraiso was named the largest and earliest example of monumental architecture in the New World, until today little archaeological investigation and excavation was done at this important ancient complex and therefore little is known about the life of Lima's ancient inhabitants. It is believe that the complex consisted of around 10 to 15 pyramidal structures. Unit I or the main temple of El Paraiso was assumably a ceremonial center used by the community. Unit IV is speculated to have been a feasting site associated with Unit I. Unit II and VI, today just big hills, may have been used for domestic or multi activity purposes.

But finally in December 2012 a new investigation and excavation project led by Mark Guillen started at El Paraiso. And already 3 month later a groundbreaking discovery was announced. Archaeologists found an ancient temple located next to the main temple of El Paraiso. First excavations uncovered an underground ceremonial center comprising of 4 levels each older than the other. The construction is believed to have been built around 3000 BC. The inside discovered fire place where presumably offerings were burnt earned the ceremonial center the name "Templo el Fuego" (Fire Temple). The project is financed until 2017. So we can hope for more interesting and revealing findings.

General Info

Street: North of Nestor Gambetta
Info: Turn right before the Chillón River and follow the road
District: Ventanilla
City: Callao
Region: Callao


#Egres2013-07-05 09:01
It has been destroyed! :(
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#Eva - Editor2013-07-05 11:03
Many people here and abroad are in shock and can't believe what happened.

But luckily not the whole complex which consists of until now 12 known pyramids was destroyed! Last weekend bulldozers of two construction companies tore down 1 pyramid and heavily damaged a second before witnesses and the Peruvian police could stop them. Even though this wasn't the first try to destroy this important cultural heritage which is believed to have been built around 4000 to 5000 years ago, the archaeological complex wasn't guarded.

The whole story is even less understandable as excavations that started in December 2012 revealed groundbreaking discoveries just after 3 month (see article above).
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#mel2013-09-05 14:11
So the whole complex was not destoryed? How many pyramids still stand at the site? Is this site considered a tourist site?
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#Eva - Editor2013-09-05 18:07
No, not the whole complex was destroyed; just one pyramid, while a second was badly damaged. Right now there are 10 other known structures on this areal.

El Paraiso can be visited, but isn't really developed as one might think when considering the importance of the complex. Only a few visitors find their way to this gem.
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