Spokesperson Interview: Dr. Walter Alva, Behind the Scenes of “Mochicas, Masters of the Desert”

What made Dr. Walter Alva decide at the age of 12 that he wanted to become an archeologist? “The stories of myths, legends and stories referring to antiquity that my maternal grandmother used to tell me, feeding my imagination during my childhood, [and] creating a great expectation to know these mysteries,” says the Peruvian archeologist, now aged 70.

Dr. Alva, who specializes in the study of the pre-Columbian Mochica culture, is world renowned for his finding of the Tomb of Sipán. We sat down with the archeologist to get his insights about the Lord of Sipán exhibition, which was held during Expo 2020.

Dr. Alva stressed the great effort and significance of this work carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism to present one of the important pages of Peru’s pre-Hispanic past to the world at Expo 2020 Dubai. The mystery, splendor and high development of the Mochicas is represented in the jewels and ornaments that accompanied the body of the Lord of Sipán. The information recovered through archeological pursuits on the social political organization, religious concepts, symbology and technology, provides proof that a high civilization can arise in the oases of the coastal desert – which the Mochicas knew how to convert into a highly productive territory. “I think this is the message to the world,” added Dr. Alva.

230,000 visitors enjoyed the “Mochicas, Masters of the Desert” exhibition when it was held from 15 December 2021 to 30 January 2022 at the Peru Pavilion. This high attendance brought Dr. Alva “the satisfaction of having contributed to our country for the sustenance of our identity and the worldwide dissemination of this Peruvian cultural heritage.”

When asked about other fascinating archeological findings in Peru’s history, Dr. Alva discussed many milestones, such as the discovery of Machu Picchu, the Monumental Temple of Chavín, the Sacred City of Caral – which marks the beginning of civilization in the Americas, investigations in the Huacas Moches, and the Lady of Cao, among others. While the “Mochicas, Masters of the Desert” exhibition may be over, Peru’s rich culture and history remains on display at the Expo 2020 Dubai at the Peru Pavilion. Discover more about the Lord of Sipán here https://peruexpodubai.com/lord-of-sipan