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Peru: Cumbe Mayo – Where Time Began

November 15, 2009

Near Cajamarca, about two hours journey by private car, lies the geological and archeological site of Cumbe Mayo. Its origins are lost to history.  The landscape speaks of past huge cataclysms, and the archeological remains hint of pre-historic times when humans engaged in the very fist stages of organizing their environment.  Little is known about the original inhabitants; they left nothing behind except for irrigation trenches carved from solid rock and the occasional petroglyph.  How many thousands of years ago did they live here? The question may never be answered.

1) Pre-Inca tombs, Cajamarca

I traveled there while visiting the region in the 1990s, taking along a French woman I met on a public bus.

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2) Climbing away from the city

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3) My friend and I on-site, resting.  Seeing the place involved many hours of walking

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4) Another shot of my French companion

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5) Mysterious trenches.  Their purpose and age are unknown. Cumbe Mayo is one of the oldest recorded archeological sites in Peru

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6) Rock formation with caves

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7) Cave petroglyphs

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8) Entrance to the underworld?  We chose to remain above ground


9) Another view of the site


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