Max Uhle and the Myths of the Moche
German archaeologist Max Uhle (March 1856–May 1944) began excavating the Peruvian site of Huaca de la Luna in Cerro Colorado between 1898 and 1899. Huaca de la Luna, or the Pyramid of the Moon, is a structure built by the ancient Moche culture. During his time at Cerro Colorado, Uhle excavated and cataloged 31 graves at the foot of the Pyramid of the Moon. When Uhle initiated this exploration of the Moche Valley, archaeology was in its infancy. Uhle’s work helped make excavations a more scientific and systematic process.
The Moche, who lived from about A.D. 100 to 800, did not leave any trace of a written language. However, they did leave behind intricate murals portraying different scenes that scholars believe depict their religious practices. Since Uhle’s work in the late 19th century, experts have studied the Huaca de la Luna murals to gather more information on this culture named after the Moche Valley. Uhle’s collection of Moche material is maintained at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology
- Diane Cook, Len Jenshel