Museo Arqueológico Cassinelli

December 12th, 2007

What do you do if you own a successful gas station on the road out of town? Build your own collection of ancient artefacts, of course!

For over 40 years Señor José Cassinelli (sometimes incorrectly written as Casinelli) has been buying ceramics and other items from the illicit black market of huaqueros or tomb robbers. In the small basement of his office he preserves and displays as many as 2000 items, while storing 2000 more off-site due to lack of space. By turning his basement into a museum, his aim is to keep the items safe, seen, and to keep them in Peru.

Mr Cassinelli’s dream has always been to receive recognition from the Government and perhaps financial support. He hopes to one day operate a large museum to display all his collection, and in less cramped conditions. A museum that is also more secure, he has been robbed once before, losing 30 of the most valuable pieces. Now in his late 80’s, it seems he is unlikely to realise his dream.

The Cassinelli Archaeological Museum is an amazing site to behold. After paying the S/.7 fee, usually to the old man himself who sits behind his desk reading his newspaper, the door leading down to the basement is unlocked for you. As the lights flicker on you see shelves of artefacts stacked floor to roof.

Cassinelli’s collection spans from Chavin to Moche, to Chimú to Inca, that’s more than 2,500 years of Peruvian civilisation. Found just 10 minutes walk from the centre of Trujillo at Av. Nicolás de Piérola 607 (Mobil station), the Cassinelli museum is not to be missed.

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