4,000-year-old temple mural unearthed in northern Peru

Radiocarbon tests announced on Nov. 10 date a multicolored mural excavated in northern Peru to 4,000-years-old. This makes it the oldest mural in the Americas and part of the late preceramic period – 3500 to 1800 B.C. The mural depicts a deer trapped under a multicolored net. Deer hunting was an ancient ritual among the areas pre-Columbian people.

The mural is part of a temple that archaeologist Walter Alva began excavating on Aug. 2, 2007. The temple is 50 meters wide by 50 meters long and is located in the town of Ventarrón, in Lambayeque department. The temples construction is also significant because of the use of mud blocks rather than adobe or rock. ¨The construction is completely primitive, very early, very original… there isn’t another monument in northern Peru that has these construction characteristics,” Alva told the Andina news agency.

As part of the same project, investigators have excavated a 3,000-year-old temple that has walls decorated with typical figures from the Chavín culture, which developed in the area from 900-200 B.C.

Alva, who led the Lord of Sipan excavation in the 1980s – one of Peru’s most famous archaeological discoveries – said this latest find suggests the area was the cradle of northern Peruvian culture.

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