Simbal, Simbal. Que tal?

The incredible view from the site of "Huancha."

On Saturday, June 21st, we hiked to the archaeological site of Huancha, located in the mountains on the edge of Collambay, a community outside the small town of Simbal. There, I had a chance to step into the shoes of an archaeologist conducting field work. I learned many lessons that day, both the easy and the hard way.

Lesson # 1: Wear multiple layers of sunscreen on any and all exposed skin. Peru is located very close to the equator. Add to that being in higher elevation. And what you have is a recipe for strong sun rays and likelihood of a burn if preventative measures are not taken. Needless to say, I got burned.

Lesson #2: Don't wear white when digging. You'd think this lesson would be more obvious? But as a girl, I wanted to look cute even while doing dirty work. At the start of the day, my shirt was white. However, by the end of the day, it was looking mighty dusty.

Lesson # 3: Have your camera on hand. I can't count the number of times I had to stop mid-hike, mid-dig, even mid-sentence to capture the views from the mountain. It was breathtaking to be digging in the exact place where ancient people lived thousands of years ago. It blew my mind.

The Moche valley is both beautiful and mysterious. I can't believe I was able to both capture the beauty and dig up pieces of history at the same time. Two birds with one stone--or in this case, a lot of stones!


Author: Celeste Marie Gagnon

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