Huaca Malena is typical of archaeological sites along the South-central coast of Peru in that it has been extensively looted for its fine Wari textiles. The site consists of a large artificial platform covering 4 acres, on top of which were raised six smaller terraces made primarily of walls of hand-made, semi-cylindrical adobe bricks. Located 100 kilometers south of Lima, the site was identified and studied by Julio C. Tello and Toriba Mejía Xesspe in 1925. The team recovered 312 funerary bundles from the upper platform of the structure, and they proposed a tentative chronology that attributed the site to the Wari occupation, with later Inca burials.
The authors began archaeological investigation of the site in 1997. During the earlier period of construction (400–500 AD approximately) the site was an administrative and religious center, contemporaneous to the Moche culture in the North and Nazca culture in the South. Later, during the Wari dynasty (700–1100 AD approximately), the upper part of the structure was used as a large cemetery. During the recovery project, approximately 4000 textiles of varying size and structure were salvaged. The vast quantity were abandoned on the surface by grave robbers, however others were excavated from intact burials. The recovery at Huaca Malena of a large quantity of exceptional textiles, including a group of fine Wari tapestries, attests to the status of the people buried at the site.Grave robbing, or Huaqueando, is an ever-present, unscrupulous action in which burials are sacked (often at night under a full moon) in search of commercially-valuable archaeological material. Gold and silver, fine ceramics, and rich textiles are all highly sought after. At Huaca Malena, the huaqueros found artifacts of exceptional artistic accomplishment. Textiles recovered from Huaca Malena range from tunics of cotton and camelid threads, woven bands, bags, belts, miniature looms, and other fragments. At least 32 techniques have been identified, including very fine tapestry, double cloth, brocade, gauze, warp-faced weaves, tubular weaves, and others.
(source: "The Archaeological Project of Huaca Malena" - Rommel Angeles Falcon and Denise Pozzi Escot - 2004)
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