1. Give a quick look to the text in this activity and say what kind of text it is:

Why do this? To get ideas/information of the type of text and its content without having to read word by word.

A. A narration
B. A description of a person/a place
C. An feature article on a certain subject
D. A persuasive writing trying to convince you of something.


2. You must do a quick first reading of this text to get to grasp only the main ideas in it. The purpose of this first reading is to complete the title of the activity.
At the moment the title is: "The Mochicans: ……"
You have to complete the dots with ONE relevant piece of information about the Mochican culture. For example you could write :

"The Mochicans: one people under the sun."

Find another possible title.

Why do this? Completing the title will make you think of ONE idea in the text that is relevant and interesting enough to become THE TITLE. By thinking of this ONE idea you're learning to grasp the TOPIC of the text.



BigThe Pacific coast of Peru, one of the earth's most arid regions, was once home of sophisticated civilisations. The North coast of this Southamerican country features spectacular contrasts between fertile valleys and stark deserts, all wedged in a thin coastal strip between the richness of the Pacific Ocean and the high mountains of the tropics. This region enjoys a rich archaeological legacy of various Pre-Inca civilisations.

Among the most important of those civilisations is the Mochicans who peopled this area between the 1st and the 6th centuries AD. The ruins of the Moche culture grace the outskirts of cities on the north coast of Peru, such as Trujillo or Chiclayo.

The Moche civilisation settled in the fertile valleys along the river Moche surrounded by barren desert lands.

Impressive and sophisticated hydraulic works were among their best architectural designs. They also built pyramids, temples and huge entrance ramps with building techniques that can compare to present-day sophisticated designs. When arranging clay bricks for a construction they lined them up slightly apart one from the other so as to allow for heat dilatation and offer resistance to earthquakes. See figure 1.

In addition to this fabulous archaeological treasures, the Mochican culture is known to us for its well-preserved beautiful handicrafts. They made rich human-shaped pottery of dazzling beauty. The pottery showed proud and impassive human faces. Most of these faces represented noblemen and warriors. Among the figures represented in the pottery we also see the figure of shamans who still today use natural cures and invoke the ghosts of the ancestors to treat illness and ward off evil spirits.

Other figures represented in the Mochican pottery are animals and ancestral deities.
Craftmen worked with clay and used moulds to create pieces in a serial form. These were fired in ovens and then hand painted and glazed with vivid colours that have remained till today.
Where these artistic representations a mere expression of the artist or did they stand for a particular cosmogony?
The answer lies with the latter, the truth being that this abundant and well-preserved pottery can be considered anthropomorphic. It expresses mythological and social themes and it might be considered as the peak of this art genre in the whole civilisation of Peru.

Among a range of pottery designs we may highlight figures such as the one on the right which depicts deities among stars. The Mochicans believed in the solar heavenly god.

In figures such as the one on the left we see the deity associated with vegetation. These motifs are those of fertility and are obviously associated with the cultivation of the land. We must remember that in the midst of the barrenness of the surrounding lands, the Mochicans lived in a few fertile oases and that they managed to make a living from cultivating them.

Because of all this pottery rich in vegetation designs , we may conclude that the Mochicans must have been deep in agrarian mythology.

It is also worth underlining that art was a way of passing the culture of their ancestors down to the new Mochican generations.
Death, for instance, didn't just mean the end of life on earth but the passing away to another world where not only earth privileges and social class but also obligations continued. Thus, in funeral ceremonies, whole families and servants were sacrificed and a rich trousseau was buried with them so as to be used in their new life.

Today, one of the beauties of this area of Northern Peru, as well as admiring these Mochican artistic remains, is to enjoy the sight of immaculate sandy beaches where fishermen still surf in "totora" reed boats of Pre-Columbian design.

In some totoras fishermen fish on their own. In others, they work with another fisherman. They use nets and harpoons and it is a delight to the eyes to see them display their catch on the totora boats as if they were improvised stalls of a market with prehistoric flavour.


Now, complete the title:



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