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The Real Price Of La Capilla
The agriexporting present  and a highly possible archaeological past are its two main assets, for the moment.

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By FACTORTIERRA.NET
All photographs by Ángelo Azabache, distributed by FACTORTIERRA.NET


Some archaeological evidence found in La Capilla. Go to the photo album.

SULLANA, Peru - In the place where the towns of West sullana and Jíbito are up to join, but more aligned near Chira River, it is located La Capilla, the site where a same-named big estate was controlled from, in which farms the Bishop Baltazar Jaime Martínez d Compańón y Bujanda gota gifted property to founding Santísima Trinidad de La Punta Village, on July 8th, 1783, the coretown of Sullana Metropolitan Area the second largest of Piura Region.

Then, La Capilla belonged to Del Castillo Family and seemed to enlarge across  the space that cities of Sullana and Bellavista occupy today, although the official history says the estate which terrain the town was founded, was called La Punta (The Point, in English) what might explain its initial name, however its founder tried to name it El Príncipe (The Prince, in english) unsuccessfully.

While Sullana expanded sh toward the west on a farm called Ventarrones (Blizzars, in English), La Capilla (pronounce "La Capeeya") was consolidating on more than 200-hectare or 494-acre lot, that mid-20th century was under the administration of English-native Bel-Houghton Family.

In 1968, the Piura-native soldier Juan Velasco Alvarado led a coup, and launched the Agrarian Reform the year later. As a big part of Chira Valley, La Capilla then growed pyma-type cotton, addressed mainly for exsportation via Paita seaport, which arrived on a railroad, what today only remains the Sullana-Paita Road and José de Lama Avenue already in the metropolitan area.

Cotton production fell down across the whole valley after 1982-1983 El Nińo event, and the farmers tried to look for means to survive from the land, until beginning 1990s  the so-called banana boom ignited, indeed the tropical fruit also mostly addressed for exportation.


The banana-for-exportation cropfields in La Capilla. Go to the photo album.
Ángelo Azabache, 22, is a Sullana-resident dude, non-concluded Laws studies, some experience in hosting radio shows and live events, plus being an efficient waiter at a famous local restaurant. Advised by FACTORTIERRA.NET, he just launched his YouTube channel, which he is dedicating to La Capilla, town he has a strong familiar connection. "I love the countryside," he states by using his modulated announcer voice.

In the process of launching his channel, Azabache seems to have found an explanation why La Capilla, The Chapel in English, is called so. "The people told me  is due to inside the estate-house, there is a chapel." But it is not the only information he could get.

The 200 hectares of La Capilla, predominantly dedicated to export banana, generate more than US$ 3 million annual. In fact, each hectare  generates US$ 1300 monthly to every farmer, and the whole sector is advantaged about by 80 partners, according to the data he could gather. "The farmers told me they can export monthly until 20 banana containers during the winter months [from July to December] and more than 25 ones during the summer months [from January to June]."


The intriguing Cerro de la Huaca (The Huaca Hill), a possible archaeological structure in La Capilla. Go to the photo album.

Millenial Value
If that is not enough, a sighting made the last December 16th could trigger the value  of La Capilla still much beyond. During a long time, the locals spoke about the Cerro de la Huaca (La Huaca Hill) as one of the best known landmarks.

A huaca was a sacred site for  the Pre-Hispanic Peruvian villagers, where they used to build religious/funerarian-type structures. Is the Cerro de la Huaca in La Capilla too? Until now, the official history traces the pass of Conqueror Francisco Pizarro through that place in September 1532, possibly one month later of founding San Miguel de Tangarará (Marcavelica).

Azabache and many villagers worked on so hard to lok it for, and they arrived to the site where it was supposedly located, but what they found was a kind of hill that was flattering as the time passed by, for expanding agricultural fields. Actually, what was slopes upon a time ago, today are fill of sweet potato plantations.

YOUTUBE: Finding Cerro de la Huaca (in Spanish)

However, there are actually disperse bits of pottery on a promontory known as La Capilla's Oriel. "They seem to be cayanas," farmer Alfredo Pedrera, 40, pointed, who learned about this site since he was a child. "But we were never sure about what it meant."

YOUTUBE: Pressumible cayanas in La Capilla (in Spanish).


According to La Capilla locals, this lagoon was used for ritual medicine ceremonies. Go to the photo album.

Plus, they seem to have found pieces of pottery, also known as huacos, what were emerging mostly as much as the farmers were working their lands. Those pieces are disperse in the houses of the villagers, so Pedrera has the project to collect them all and having in one only place to be studied scientifically.

At the moment, much graphic evidence as well as the videos recorded and released by Azabache were sent to Lima-based Archaeologist Daniel Dávila Manrique, a FACTORTIERRA.NET contributor, who has started to analyze them. His first opinion is that La Capilla is a highly probable  archaeological zone, what could be confirmmed only through a field registration, as he made in 2009-2011 at Malingas (tambogrande) and Chalacalá Baja (Sullana).

"based on the evidences sent to me, the pieces of pottery could have a more domestic purpose, as daily use tools," he has proposed.

Dávila thinks it could be necessary to compare La Capilla to Chalacalá Baja, that is better conserved, and that belongs to Piura Style, possibly developed 1100 years ago. But nothing can be affirmed regarding to this point yet.

"About Cerro de la Huaca, it is evident  there is a structure that once upon a time could have built  on the slope going down to Chira River, or maybe on a natural prominence, what we only could confirm if we make a field research because inclusive today  the existent vegetation does not allow me to get the certainty of the structure type, but it has all the characteristics of being archaeological," he added.

His hypotheses is La Capilla could be a Pre-Columbian citadel where there were differentiated spaces according to the communitarian actibities: religious, residential, funerarian, and military. The same distribution existed in other deposits as Tangarará, the same Chalacalá Baja, Tamarindo (Paita), or the former Garabato Estate (Marcavelica, Sullana).

"An indication of this sitte's importance is the existence of a creek or river with permanent or temporary flow, that justifies a human settlement," Dávila has pointed. And curiously, there is a dry creek going across La Capilla until leading into the Chira River, as locals could confirmm to Azabache.


This carve on the rock... is just 30 miles from the sea if gets an archaeological confirmmation!

A Petroglyph?
But what called the attention of Dávila pretty much was a photograph which a trace over rock is seen [above those lines], maybe representing a stylized human face that according to Azabache, is twice longer than an average human head.

Dávila wants to confirm first if there are similar traces in the whole La Capilla, and if those has some connection to others he knows very well - Malingas (Tambogrande) and Samanga (Ayabaca). Currently, those last two have a strong relationship to other registered and released by FACTORTIERRA.NET in Loma Alta and Tunal (Sapillica), and Palo Blanco (Chulucanas).

"Including what the people are presenting me from La Capilla, the only way to check out the information and having more certainty is by inspecting the places, reviewing and comparing to other already studied, for what it is necessary the community organizes with the authorities and promotes this kind of activities," Davila advised.

Nevertheless, he said once the studies conclude, the sites can be offered in value for eco-friendly activities as rural tourism, that can generate much income to the communities where it develops, if then they make in a responsible way.

And if somebody thought La Capilla reduces to banana fields and possible archaeological sites, could get wrong because we have to joing a lagoon located at the town's lowland and that could be part of a wetland used sometimes  for shamanism rituals.

"The people say the lagoon colorizess according to the time of the day or the season of the year," Ángelo Azabache tells. "We have to come back for recording it."

YOUTUBE: The Miracolous Lagoon Of La Capilla (in Spanish).

"If you live at a zone where there is a possible archaeological evidence, contact your local authorities or FACTORTIERRA.NET too, that already has experience about handling protocols of those spaces," Archaeologist Daniel Dávila has recommended.

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