Bandurria is a large archaeological site on the Huaura River in Peru going back to 4,000 BC. It is located about 3 km south of the city of Huacho, in Huacho District, Huaura Province, Lima Region. It corresponds chronologically to the period known as the 'Late Archaic' or 'Late preceramic' covering the years from about 4000 to 2000 BC.
The site is located near the Pacific coast, in the area called Playa Chica at kilometer 141 of the Panamericana Norte highway. It was discovered in 1973 by Domingo Torero Fernandez de Cordova. It occupies the area of 54 hectares and has been studied by a team led by archaeologist Alejandro Chu.
Bandurria is located near the Santa Rosa irrigation project, and the nearby wetland area. Part of the archaeological site has been destroyed as a result of water infiltration when the project started in 1973. But this is also when the site was discovered.
The area got its name from a species of birds present in this area, known also as Buff-necked ibis.
The site was investigated by Rosa Fung in 1973 and 1977. These investigations concluded that the site belongs to the Late Archaic period, from the 4th to the 3rd millennium BC. Some of the radiocarbon dates obtained were between 2,500 and 2,300 BC.
Bandurria represents an early coastal fishing settlement featuring the first evidence of a ceremonial stone architecture. Archaeological sites belonging to the Late Archaic period had been identified previously to the north, but Bandurria was prior to them chronologically.
In August 2005, the research work restarted on the site, more than 30 years after its discovery. The Bandurria Archaeological Project, led by Alejandro Chu, uncovered a section of a monument built with boulders and mortar. These recent excavations have uncovered the evidence of monumental architecture, and established that this was an urban center distinct from the other monumental sites on the north central coast of Peru. This may represent the earliest evidence of urbanism in this larger coastal area.
The site is divided into two distinct sectors. The area featuring domestic occupation is the largest. Most of this area was destroyed by the irrigation project.
The sector featuring monumental architecture at first seemed like a natural formation made up of low rocky hills. However, a thorough review of the surface and surroundings of these hills revealed at least 4 major mounds, to which other smaller mounds were associated.
In 2007, additional radio-carbon dates have been obtained. According to Alejandro Chu Barrera, the director of the Archaeological Project of Bandurria, the site is now dated firmly to 3200 BC. This is older than Caral, the more famous site in the River Supe Valley to the north, that has previously been described as 'the oldest city in the New World'. Caral is located 33 km northeast of Bandurria.
Bandurria has similar architecture to Caral and several other sites in the Supe Valley, featuring a sunken circular plaza and stairways. There are also other related structures constructed in a symmetrical pattern.
There are also other coastal sites in Peru that have been dated very early as the result of recent excavations. They include Sechin Bajo with the oldest radiocarbon dates of 3600 BC, and Huaricanga, dated to about 3500 BC.
Unfortunately Bandurria has been subject to systematic destruction that began when the nearby irrigation project started in 1973. Since it was visited in 2002 for the first time, the archaeological site was invaded by squatters, who built shacks on the mound.
Subsequently, the Directorate General of Archaeological Heritage of the Peruvian National Institute of Culture tried to protect the archaeological site. The regional government has also been supportive. Students from the Faculty of Management and Tourism of the Jose Faustino Sanchez Carrion National University of Huacho have also contributed to the preservation efforts.
- Informe Preliminar del Trabajo de Campo en el valle de Huaura, Departamento de Lima. Seminario de Arqueología, Instituto Riva-Agüero, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Mercedes Cárdenas. 1977
- Sitios arqueológicos en la Playa Chica – Huacho (valle de Huaura). Boletín del Seminario de Arqueología 19–20:111–126. Mercedes Cárdenas. 1977–1978
- La Aldea Precolombina de Bandurria, Huacho, Perú Apachita 5: 7–8. Boletín del Área de Arqueología, Escuela de Antropología, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito. Alejandro Chu. 2006
- La Arquitectura monumental de Bandurria Boletín de Arqueología PUCP 10. Alejandro Chu. 2008
- Bandurria: Arena, Mar y Humedal en el Surgimiento de la Civilización Andina. Ediciones del Proyecto Arqueológico Bandurria, Huacho. Huacho. Alejandro Chu. 2008
- Late Preceramic and Initial Period. Rosa Fung En: Peruvian Prehistory, editado por R.W. Keatinge, pp. 67–96. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 1988