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Ceremonial Centers and Forests in the La Leche Valley

Date de soumission : 05/08/2019
Critères: (iv)(vi)(x)
Catégorie : Mixte
Soumis par :
Ministry of Culture
État, province ou région :
Provinces of Lambayeque and Ferreñafe, Region of Lambayeque
Ref.: 6419

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Name of Site Coordinates
Historical Sanctuary Bosque de Pomac S6 28 25 W79 46 35
Tucume S6 30 35 W79 51 35

The Historical Sanctuary Bosque de Pomac (HSBP) and the Tucume archaeological site, which contain as a group the mixed property “Ceremonial Centers and Forests in the La Leche Valley”, both are two patrimonial areas which have archaeological and nature outlined values, located at the lower basin of the La Leche river, northern coast of Peru, district of Pítipo, Tucume, Íllimo and Pacora, provinces of Ferreñafe and Lambayeque, region of Lambayeque.  It is categorized as an area of direct use and it has the objective of preserve the cultural landscape unit, which makes up the Equatorial Dry Forest and the Sicán Archaeological Complex (Huaca Lucía – Chólope Complex, Huaca Soledad Complex) and the two historical complex – productive, named Livestock Complex of the Hacienda Batan Grande and the Casa Karl Weiss Apiculture Complex (Supreme Decree No. 034 – 2001-AG 2001). Both are related to the development of the Lambayeque culture since the 8th century until the 15th century up to date, sharing an agriculture-based and conservation territory of the Equatorial Dry Forest ecosystem and its vegetal formation area of Carob Trees, Sapote Trees and Cacti. This, guarantee the presence of species of endemic fauna, such as the Peruvian Plantcutter (Phytotoma Raimondi), the Rufous Flycatcher (Myiarchus semirufus), those are included in the red list of the IUCN with category “Endangered”, the Tumbes swallow (Tachycineta stolzmanni) and the Tumbes Tyrant (Tumbezia salvini), among others. The Historical Sanctuary of Bosque de Pomac is administrated by The Peruvian Service for Natural Protected Areas (SERNANP) with an extension of 5887.38 ha, and the Tucume Archaeological Complex is protected by the Ministry of Culture, trough the Museum of Tucume and the Executing Entity 005, with a protection area of 221.5 ha.

The La Leche River irrigates this territory, a dry river that is active during the seasonal rainy period of the highlands, it does not flow into the ocean and irrigates in a natural way the most extended desert of Peru. Also, this riverbed is activated in a cyclic way by the rain produced by El Niño phenomenon, fulfilling the valley of fertile sediment, taking advantage by the agriculture which remains the ancestral farming since an irrigation system that still preserve pre-Hispanic canals. This territory preserve two big settlements characterized by monumental constructions made of adobe in a pyramid; this contains very rich funerary contexts with a scientific research, surrounded by an Equatorial dry forest ecosystem, which contains diverse species of flora and fauna, some of them are endemic or threaten by the climate change, and anthropic origin effects.

Attributes and traits

The Historical Sanctuary Bosque de Pomac (HSBP) has a high biological, archaeological and historical value, due to that in 5.887.38 hectares converge a privileged nature and the testimony of the presence of the Sicán or Lambayeque Culture.

The vegetal formation area of Carob Trees and Sapote Trees, at the beginning affected by the anthropic invasion and other natural causes, has been recovered. In this way the natural renovation process continues. The ordinated and sustainable use of the renewable natural resources is made, also the rise of the Avitourism worldwide is the reason why Peru has become in one the favorite destinations (Valqui T., 2004), due to the high level of endemism of birds, the observatory circuits of the birds includes generally routes of this extensive region; being the Historical Sanctuary Bosque de Pomac, one of the most important places for this activity.

Also, the cultural patrimony is preserved due to the promotion of the alliances for the development of the research, preservation and enhancement of the (Sicán, Huaca Lucía – Chólope and Huaca Soledad) archaeological complex-, and of the Pyramids of Tucume archaeological complex. That combination represents a fundamental potential in order to promote a sustainable development in the economic and social area, respecting the nature and culture. The natural context of the dry forest creates a cultural identity that evolve as the times goes by, without losing the authenticity, making an integrated and unique landscape.

In the same way, the Historical Sanctuary Bosque de Pomac makes up the equatorial dry forest of the most extended, plains not only in the country, but also in the world; this offers the possibility of a mixed value territory, being the State and the local communities the administrator and the manager, who several years ago has initiated an incorporation process in order to reach a sustainable management of these extraordinary spaces. This participation has been recognized and awarded in the regional, national and international area, being an experience that contributes positively in the future of this mixed patrimony.

Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionnelle

In Peru and the continent does not exist a pre-Hispanic settlement which contains so many and big buildings made of adobe in a shattered pyramid shape and connected buildings, as which of the La Leche Valley. The settlement initiated in Pomac that later is placed through Tucume, group a half hundred buildings, related to a same geographical time and space. Chronologically, the initial group was established in the territory of HSBP, by the 8th century, then was abandoned in the 11th century due to climate crises period due to the presence of El Niño phenomenon and its consequences. Consequently, the population migrated some kilometers to the southwest, establishing around the Cerro La Raya or Cerro purgatorio, a sacred mountain surrounded by the biggest and the most important settlement, previous to the Incas and Spanish arrival. In the HSBP, was discovered the most riches tombs of America, with an extraordinary quantity of objects including precious metals. At the same time, Tucume is made up by the last village in the world that build big platforms of shattered pyramid shape made of adobe, containing the most extended building made of adobe of Peru.

This territory has a long-distance contact between villages of the central coast and the northern coast, including the equatorial zone, the Galapagos Islands until Panamá, in the same way the highlands and the northern Amazonia, including the central highlands until Huari. In this way, the commercial activity and the extended cultural exchange were practiced. In addition, diverse demonstrations of the traditional culture of the nearby communities, show a simple line of a cultural continuity between the past and the present, where the cultural complex is located. This fact has a relation with the use of the cactus San Pedro (Trichocereus poachanoii), which is unique in the world, it is surrounded by diverse aspects of the immaterial culture in areas such as technology, knowledge and traditions in general.

These archaeological complexes are related with the equatorial dry forest with the most extended grassland in the world, became in a Protected Natural Area by the State, containing diverse species of flora and fauna with an ecosystem value, some of them are endangered.

The Ecoregion Equatorial Dry Forest is located at the south of Ecuador and at the north of Peru, particularly the formation of the Carob Tree (A. Brack). The region of Tumbes is one of the four zones most important of endemism of birds in the planet, and at the same time one of the most endangered zones due to the intervention of men. Also, there are some wild flora species endangered nation-wide categorized according to Supreme Decree No. 043-2006-AG, such as the Sapote (Capparis scabrida), the carob Tree (Prosopis pallida) in vulnerable situation and the Faique (Acacia macracantha) in an almost endangered situation. Those species are not only in abundance, but also make up a typical and well-preserved ecosystem.

In the Natural Protected Area of the Historical Sanctuary Bosque de Pomac, sixteen species of birds of the region of Tumbes were identified, two of them are only protected in the Sanctuary, such as the Peruvian Cortarrama (Phytotoma raimondii), and the Rufous Flycatcher (Myiarchus semirufus), those are included in the red list of the IUCN with category “Endangered”. The mechanisms of preservation of the Historical Sanctuary Bosque de Pomac guarantee the preservation of the most emblematic sample of the typical vegetal formation area of the Carob Tree or the grassland dry forest of the ecoregion equatorial dry forest, which is unique in the world.

Criteria (iv): The settlements located in Tucume and Pomac correspond to the Lambayeque culture, which was developed in the northern coast of Peru by the 7th century until the 15th century. It was a society eminently agricultural, based on the development of an enormous system of irrigation that connected the hydric resources of the La Leche Valley and Chancay – Reque Valley. At the same time, due to the massive production of arsenical bronze and precious metals, it had a big metallurgic development that causes a revolution in the regional economy. This technology was useful for the production of a varied list of guns, utensils and tools; also, diverse craftwork used by the higher status of the society. This production was evidenced due to the offering of the tombs found in Pomac, which were recognized as the richest in this territory, including groups bigger than five tons of offering objects. These objects are showed, today, in the National Museum of the Sicán Culture.

The architecture of the pyramid and big platforms made of adobe that is characteristic of this territory; is based on the use of enormous retaining walls made of adobe and a sophisticated stuffed system, which its characteristics is the use of adobe cells stuffed with loose soil and diverse types of offerings. In this way, it took advantage in order to build in the high parts a varied system of facilities that were identified as adapted spaces for the residential use of the most important characters, including rooms, storage rooms, kitchens and spaces for rituals, as is demonstrated in the researches made in Tucume. Each building grew up with the time, it was bigger since a new period was added and overlapped. Huaca Larga is located in Tucume, which – due to its dimensions: 700mts of length, 280mts of width and 25mts of height – it is considered as the most extended building made of adobe of Peru and probably of the world.

Criteria (vi): This territory makes up an important repository of knowledge, traditions and technology with an area of diverse aspects related with the ecosystem and subjective values that the local communities give to the landmarks of the landscape since ancestral periods up to the present day. In this field, we can mention aspects related with the reminiscence of cult of the mountains and water, where it is observed technologies, shamanism and traditional medical knowledge that rely on cactus San Pedro (Trichocereus pachanoii), one of the Master Plant most important of the Andean culture with ancestral roots since the pre-Hispanic society. In this aspect, diverse aspects of the agricultural technology and practice, the use of industrial plants such as the native cotton and handwork, that are as important as the textile industry based on the backstrap weaving, the gastronomy practice, and a big variety of oral traditions and religious practice that show a special syncretism between the Christian values and the pre-Hispanic religion.

Criteria (x): This place shows an extraordinary exhibition of the Grassland Dry Forest, with vegetable species than have been categorized as vulnerable and endangered. The abundance and vegetal conformation of Sapote Tree (Capparis scabrida) and Carob Trees (Prosopis pallida), Faique (Acacia macracantha), Cuncuno (Vallesia glabra) and Vichayo (Capparis ovalifolia), in an area of 5887.58has form a typical ecosystem and well conserved that makes it a unique place.

The Historical Sanctuary Bosque de Pomac guarantees the preservation of the most emblematic exhibition of the typical vegetal formation of carob tress or dry forest of grassland of the Ecoregion Equatorial dry forest. The research made mainly in the field of the birds, show that it has endemism (Stattersfield et al. 1998), which makes it a scientific attraction. In addition, it has the special possibility of easy sighting of representative birds and unique of the Region of Endemism in Tumbes (RET), which makes up one of the four zones of endemism most important in the planet, containing a unique biological diversity that guarantees the evolutionary and natural processes of the site.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité


The settlement of Pomac and Tucume exhibit its original patrimonial values in different aspects: the monumental character of the structures of shattered pyramid shape and richness of the archaeological movable property patrimony that show in each scientific intervention of excavations, in addition with the conservation of the ecosystem of the equatorial dry forest of peculiar grassland. This is the reason of the continue scientific research in the last 30 years, which results allow to know in a general way the dimensions, characteristics and functions of the archaeological complex, this confirms the authenticity of that cultural properties.

The pre-Hispanic settlements of Pomac and Tucume make up unique spaces in the Peruvian archaeology, considering construction techniques and their association with economic, social, administrative, religious and functional aspects, and the well-known richness of their funerary tombs, considered as it even after the centuries of pillage which intensified in the last decades of the 20th century. All these elements, given the dimensions of these settlements and their territory, makes a potential place for the scientific and academic work, and consequently of conservation and social development.


The elements of the management of the mixed properties “Ceremonial Center and Forests in the La Leche Valley” are from natural and cultural order. The natural order makes up the ecosystem of Equatorial Dry Forest with its vegetal formation of Carob Trees, Sapote Trees, and Cacti; and the cultural order of them (03) archaeological complex (Huaca Lucía – Chólope Complex, Huaca Soledad and Sicán Complex) and the two (02) historical complex – productive (Hacienda Batan Grande Livestock Complex and Casa Karl Weiss Apiculture Complex).

The cultural center of the Sicán settlement in the HSBP and the pyramids of Tucume, preserve completely in a big measure the fundamental characteristics of design and distribution of its components despite the years of deterioration of the buildings due to the cyclic torrential rains that are product of the El Niño phenomenon in the northern coast of Peru. In the same way, considering that are part of the conservation system of the State of Peru, from the cultural and environmental, a permanent policy of custody of its integrity since the recognition of its protection areas.

The Historical Sanctuary Bosque de Pomac (HSBP) is administrated by The Peruvian Service for Natural Protected Areas, assigned entity to the Ministry of the Environment. It has an approved current Master Plan with Presidential Resolution No. 91-2017-SERNANP, in which the objectives, section and action lines are specific in order to maintain its integrity. The conservation of the property is made from a comprehensive perspective, where the State and the society intervene trough spaces as the Committee of Management, made up by 52 associations and public and private institutions, and NGO’s; also, it has ten committees of Community Vigilance in the buffer zone, integrated for more than 250 settlers.

Tucume has a Plan of Management since 2008 that must be renewed in 2020, is administrated by the Tucume Museum, entity pertaining to the Executory Entity 005 of the Ministry of Culture. In this place was organized an Ecomuseum where people participate actively in a group of 34 organizations of the community, working distinctly in the following aspects: cultural patrimony, education for the preservation, sustainable tourism, urban and rural village, and agriculture and nature. Due to this work, the museum and ecomuseum have been recognized by specialized entities as Ibero-American museums, the Ministry of Education of Peru or the Andres Bello Convention.

The landscape is resourceful in a sustainable way given the adequate conditions of the infrastructure for the public use. The visits made in the natural ecosystem such as Árbol Milenario, Route of the Plantcutter and enjoy of the endemic fauna and the historical and archaeological complex – productive most representative of the Sanctuary, which have value according to the Ministry of Culture as part of a comprehensive program of archaeological intervention. In addition, the visitors respect the code of conduct and the local population of the buffer zone, which make up part of the Program of Guardaparques Voluntarios; it has an economy benefit due to the different services for the visitors.

Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires

The first comparative visual impression of Bosque de Pomac is the National Park of Tikal in Guatemala and other places of the Maya culture such as Chichen Itza in the peninsula of Yucatán in Mexico. In the first case, it is about the ecosystem of the Tropical Rainforest, in the grassland of Petén, in the north of Guatemala, where monumental structures of pyramid are located, such as Mayans temples and palaces made of limestone.

Unlike that, in Lambayeque is about the Equatorial Dry Forest ecosystem, which makes up the desert forest of grassland in the northern coast of Peru, where monumental structures of shattered pyramid shape of temples/mausoleums built with mud adobe. This is the only case in Peru, South America and the world.

Peru has various archaeological places characterized by its constructions made of adobe. One of the most important is Chan Chan, in the Moche valley, northern coast of Peru, contemporary site to Pomac and Tucume, recognized as World Heritage due to its large ceremonial groups, which are associated with spaces of intermediate architecture and residential neighborhood that produce diverse craftworks. In this landscape, the adjoining ocean and the system of sunken small farms complement a landscape very different to the La Leche Valley. In this group is recognized some edifications of pyramid, whose dimensions are less than the ones of Pomac and Tucume.

Pacatnamu is located in the northern, it is a contemporary site built in an alluvial elevated platform that separates it from the ocean and the beach line. This monument contains a group of 50 important buildings, nevertheless, are less in dimensions compared with the La Leche Valley. The place does not have the intensity of a sustained scientific research process, nor a system of patrimony management as the one observed in the La Leche Valley. Also, there is no relation of the settlement with an ecosystem of forests.

Cahuachi is, without a doubt the most important ceremonial center related with the development of the culture of Nazca (200 BC until 450 AD). It is considered as one the most extended settlements of Peru, with an area of 24 km2. In this group is considered the presence of at least 40 platforms of diverse size, a group of 5 platforms of pyramid surrounding of various squares, passage system, storage, among others. This place, located today in a desertic space, does not have a relation with any ecosystem of forest as the one preserved in the La Leche Valley.