added by archaeologs Centred on the north coast of Peru, the Chimu kingdom was the largest of the independent states to appear in the Late Intermediate Period. Developing out of Moche, the kingdom at its zenith stretched from the borders of Ecuador to the Chilion Valley. The capital, Chanchan, was located in the Moche Valley and consisted of nucleated monumental architecture covering an area of over six square kilometres. The site is dominated by ten rectangular enclosures with walls from 200 to 600 metres long and up to 10 metres high. The nature of the complexes within these enclosures — large rooms, courtyards, sunken gardens, rich tombs — suggest that they were occupied by the ruling elite of Chimu society. (Although an alternative interpretation is that they were occupied by groups defined either by kinship or craft specialization.) A system of inter-valley highways (popularly supposed to be Inca) confirms the likelihood of a widespread trade network. Such roads, in company with garrisons and fortified posts, would also have been a factor in the maintenance of control by a strong central government. Canal irrigation on a grand scale was also practised. Mould-made, burnished black ware, decorated in low-relief, was the characteristic Chimu pottery, although polychromes displaying HUARi-inspired designs occurred in earlier contexts. The stirrup-spout and spout-and-bridge vessels are the most common forms. Although Chimu characteristics are still distinguishable as late as 1600, the culture was effectively absorbed into the Inca empire some time in the mid-15th century.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983