archaeological field site in Moquegua, Peru
Peru Travel

Getting Dirty for Archaeology (and More Moquegua Sights)

Day-to-Day Life and Archaeological Field Work in Moquegua, Peru

I’ve mostly been working in the main museum/lab of Moquegua, Peru, but I did venture out into the field one day to see what was going on at the field site and to soak up some vitamin D.

It is really remarkable how green everything is near the river and brown away from it.

archaeological field site in Moquegua, Peru
The field site
archaeological field site in Moquegua, Peru
S. and B. sifting on the left side of the picture; M. uncovering a tomb on the right.

Potential tombs were spotted by looking for large patches of ash (from a volcanic eruption). We used a screen to sift through the dirt/ash removed from the dig sites. Then we went through the stuff that was too big to fit through the screen by hand, collecting certain categories of things. We looked for coprolites (fossilized poop), lithics (stone tools), ceramics, bone, shell, and plant remains.

The tombs are walled off with stones and have a large capstone at the top. They get so deep that many times during excavation, you may be hanging with about half your body going straight down into the tomb. I did it for a while, but then my ribs and neck started to hurt, so I moved over to sifting.
archaeological site in moquegua, Peru
From our lunch spot, you can see the river.
Post-lunch food coma
Here is a tomb excavation in progress. The giant rock in the center of the hole is the capstone. In the top left corner of the image, you can see another tomb in the process of excavation (looks like a hole with rocks in it).

That’s it for my pictures from my day out in the field, but here are some more Moquegua sights!

plaza de armas in moquegua, Peru
Plaza de Armas de Moquegua – note the red and white banners put up in preparation for Peruvian Independence Day (7/28). We just refer to it as “veintiocho” for short.
plaza de armas in moquegua, peru
More veintiocho decorations. The museum is housed in the right half of the building in the above picture.
plaza de armas in Moquegua, Peru
Close-up of the fountain in the center of the Plaza
church near Moquegua's Plaza de Armas
Church near the Plaza de Armas
Iglesia Belen is where we have taxis drop us off because it is the best known landmark near our fieldhouse. It is a short two minute walk away. Taxis are a very common form of transportation here as few people own cars. They are also very cheap – they often cost between 3 and 10 soles (1 USD is about 3.25 soles).
Belen Church (Iglesia Belen)
Belen Church (Iglesia Belen)

Cusquena beer. I normally drink this or Cristal.

Heading home after a grocery trip at Plazavea.

Bandido's Pisco Bar, Moquegua, Peru
Part of the gang at Bandido’s Pisco Bar
You can see a lot of Cusquena beer on the table and a pitcher that once had pisco sour in it that myself and two others shared. C. and P. have small papers on their foreheads because we were playing a game that they call “Name Head”. You write names of famous people (fictional or real) on small pieces of paper and give them to people (without them seeing what is written) to put on their foreheads. You then go around in a circle and one at a time ask only yes or no questions until you figure out whose name you have.
Well that’s it for today! I spent last weekend in Arequipa (a much bigger city), so I will definitely be sure to put pictures up from that soon! I cannot wait to be home on Monday! I head up to Arequipa on Saturday (where my flight is out of) and will stay in a hostel that night. My flight out of Arequipa is at 7:00AM on Sunday.

A continued list of things I’m excited about when I come back to the States:

6. Stop signs.

7. Pedestrians having the right of way.

8. Not getting an electric shock when I accidentally touch the shower handle before turning off the electricity.

9. Not smelling burning trash.

10. Not seeing stray dogs everywhere and almost having a heart attack every time one is almost hit by a car.

11. Being able to plug my computer straight into an outlet without using a converter.

To be continued…

-B.H.
Also, a special shout-out to my other half on their 22nd birthday! I miss you very much and can’t wait to see you in a few days! You make coming back to the Arizona heat not completely miserable!

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