A 3D Model of Household 1 at Cerro Chepén
Built in SketchUp Pro (2017)
3D visualizations of archaeological sites, features, and artifacts can aid immensely in our understandings of the past. Reconstructions, however, must be taken with a grain of salt, as they rely heavily on the interpretation of the archaeologist/model designer. With careful research and a strong understanding of context, however, plausible approximations can be achieved.
Fortunately for this project, the Moche were a highly visual people who created detailed architectural models in the form of ceramic pots and unfired clay maquettes. Along with Jewell Soriano of the University of California, Berkeley, I "built" a reconstruction of Household 1 at the site of Cerro Chepén in the Jequetepeque Valley, Peru using SketchUp Pro. The stylistic details used in the model were gleaned from the published archaeological literature.
Cerro Chepén is a short-lived, Late Moche (600-800 CE) defensive settlement built alongside and on top of a rocky hill. The highest elevations of the hill are surrounded by a defensive, perimeter wall that protected elite residents. Lower-status individuals, on the other hand, occupied houses comprised of a series of terraces constructed along the hillside.
The residents of Household 1 were likely agriculturalists who worked in the fields surrounding Cerro Chepén. Using this model and multiple lines of archaeological data, we can ask: what was everyday life like for commoner families living at Cerro Chepén?