Coastal Desert - Cultural Landscapes

Walled compound at Chan Chan

Image: Entrance to one of the many walled compounds within the massive Chimú city of Chan Chan.

The coastal environment of dry desert and abundant ocean resources presented unique challenges and opportunities to coastal peoples. They successfully exploited the marine resources, and also developed ways to control the flow of water so they could irrigate the desert for farming. Settlements grew from villages concentrated at the shorelines and oases, to ceremonial centres built to appease and celebrate the gods.

Explore the political landscape of these fascinating cultures of this coastal environment. See the artistic ways they expressed their religious beliefs in ceramics and textiles. Learn how people and produce moved up and down the mountains between coastal peoples and their neighbours in the highlands, leading to an Andean worldview based on concepts of reciprocity and duality.