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The Ministry of Culture Awards Researchers from Trujillo with the Recognition Person Worthy of Culture

4 December 2013

- The work of public and private institutions was recognised for supporting the conservation of its archeological heritage

- The “Courtyard of the Sea Demon” was presented in the Huaca de la Luna

Lima, November 30th, 2013.- Santiago Uceda Castillo and Ricardo Morales, directors of the Huacas del Sol y de la Luna Project, received from Diana Alvarez-Calderón, Minister of Culture, the recognition as Person Worthy of Culture for their important professional work.

Also, in the same award ceremony, the head of the sector handed in a Certificate of Recognition for their valuable contributions in the field of conservation of the archeological heritage of Peru to the president of the National University of Trujillo, Orlando Velásquez Benites; the president of Huacas del Valle de Moche Board, Alfredo Pinillos Ganoza; the president of Unión de Cervecerías Peruanas Backus y Johnston, Fernando Zavala Lombardi; and the Executive Director of World Monuments Fund - Peru, Juan Pablo de la Puente Brunke.

In the Huacas del Sol y de la Luna, the holy city of the Moche people, an interdisciplinary archeological project has been developed that investigates, preserves, repairs and allows the social use of our cultural heritage, respecting the authenticity of the cultural and natural context. Their achievements have transcended the academic and scientific world. Hence, it was selected recently as one of the top 10 global archeological research projects by the Shangai Archaelogy Forum, another award that will be added to previous recognitions such as: Business Creativity (2001), Queen Sofía International Award of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage (2005), Good Government Practises Award (2007) and “Luis Hochschild Plaut” Award, awarded by the IPAE to Backus in the Promotion of Peruvian Art and Culture category (2011).

The Minister of Culture, Diana Alvarez-Calderón, highlighted the trajectory of both researchers, who have carried out valuable contributions in the field of Peruvian pre-Columbian themes for more than 20 years, and are among the few professionals specialising in the Moche society.

Also, she expressed her admiration for the companies awarded with the Certificate of Recognition for providing extraordinary support in the field of archeological conservation heritage in Peru, and especially to the Huacas del Sol y de la Luna Project.

Fernando Zavala, President of Backus pointed out: “Projects like this show that the conservation of cultural heritage in our country, mainly through public-private partnerships, could be sustainable; and at the same time, it can generate positive and direct results in the improvement of the quality life of the local population.”

All these achievements and recognitions wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the actors that support this research nowadays: The National University of Trujillo, responsible for the execution of the programme that trains competitive professionals and scholars such as the archeologists working in the north of the country; the Huacas del Valle Moche Board, formed by entrepreneurs from Trujillo to promote the research and conservation of its cultural heritage; the Word Monuments Fund – Peru, an independent organisation dedicated to preserving important sites of architectural and cultural heritage around the world; and Backus, to name the most important ones.

About Backus:

Backus works with a focus in sustainable development, with the goal of generating shared value with the people that are part of its value chain and the communities in which it operates. That is why all its initiatives and projects are geared to generate social inclusion and strategic alliances to favour those efforts and achieve a greater impact in economic, social and environmental terms for the society as a whole.

Its Cultural Heritage and Local Development Programme aims to have an impact in strengthening training and promoting the local economical development and the creation of jobs. This is being done through interdisciplinary interventions where research,  conservation and consolidation of archeological sites and cultural spaces as tourist destinations of the first order are constituted in poles of development, ensuring the increase of the tourist flow and its consequent economic benefits for the local population.

About the National University of Trujillo:

The UNT was founded on May 10th, 1824 by Simón Bolívar and José Faustino Sánchez Carrión, the first home for higher education built in the country during the Republican era. It educates competitive professionals and scholars, and among them, archeologists that work in the north of the country.

About Huacas del Valle de Moche Board:

The Board is a non-governmental association that manages national and foreign private funds in order to promote and execute activities to defend, protect and preserve the cultural heritage of the Moche valley in Trujillo, La Libertad; and at the same time formulates and executes projects for the development of tourist activity in Huacas del Sol y de la Luna.

About Word Monuments Fund – Peru

WMF is the main independent organisation dedicated to preserving the main sites of architectural and cultural heritage worldwide since 1995 in at least 90 countries.

Annex: “Sea Demon Courtyard”

After a rigorous intervention and archeological research and conservation process that lasted five years, the Project has managed to put at the service of tourists a space that has been named “The Sea Demon Courtyard” because one of the main elements in this space is a room whose main wall, located in front of an altar, is decorated with a system of repeating squares, like a chess board, with the image of a character known as “The Sea Demon.”

In this courtyard, evidences of ritual burnings and the consumption of chichi have been found. This, added to the altar and the room aforementioned, would indicate that in this courtyard were carried out ceremonies where this deity was worshipped and was treated as an oracle, and it was offered clothing and food. Such a Sea Demon has been represented in the art of the Moche culture, especially in ceramics, as a beheader god fighting against a character known as “The Terrestrial Twin,” considered a mythical, civilising hero.

This finding reinforces the idea of the Templo Viejo de Huaca de la Luna as a space where the most important ceremony of the Moche ideology was carried out. It starts with a ritual fight between two groups of Moche warriors, where the goal wasn’t to kill the opponent, but to defeat them in order to take them prisoners. The defeated fighters were taken to the rooms located in the Southwest wing of the temple, where they remained captives for weeks, and were purified with coca leaves, hallucinogens and a special diet. Afterwards, on a date set in the Moche ritual calendar, these prisoners were beheaded, their blood collected in cups and handed to the Lord Moche, high priest and warrior, representative of the main divinity, the God of the Mountain.

One of the most interesting aspects of this archeological site is that its team has been working nonstop  for 22 years. A tourist who visited the site five years ago can come back and discover new architectural spaces and listen to new stories from the guides about the Moche people thanks to the new discoveries.

In this sense, this finding will allow the expansion of the tourist circuit to the Huaca de la Luna and also it will allow us, thanks to the archaeology and the conservation, to know more about the mysterious and fascinating history of the Moche people, one of the most complex and best studied pre-Inca cultures of ancient Peru.


For more information, contact:

Miguel Díaz Reyes 
Oficina de Comunicación e Imagen Institucional – Ministerio de Cultural
Tel: 6189393 anexos 2356 – 2354 / 4769901 

Cecilia Quevedo
Comunicaciones Externas
Tel: 3113000 3119



This SABMiller subsidiary news release has been translated from its local market language to English language for publication on We have attempted to provide an accurate translation of the original material but due to the difficulties of translation slight differences may exist. 

Note, the news release was first published in its local market on October 30th, 2013.


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