Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Archeologists discover pre-Columbian statues




Archeologists discover pre-Columbian statues

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Experts work to uncover 20 wooden sculptures which were discovered at the ancient archaeological site of Chan Chan, in the outskirts of the northern city of Trujillo, in Peru, on Monday. CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP

Archeologists discover pre-Columbian statues

Archeologists in Peru have found 20 800-year-old wooden statues in the largest pre-Columbian site in the Americas, Culture Minister, Patricia Balbuena and researchers revealed on Monday.

The statues, all but one of which were in a good condition, were found in the Chan Chan archeological site.

It was a city that had been the capital of the Chimu Kingdom and pre-dated the Inca Empire.

Located close to the north Peruvian modern city of Trujillo, Chan Chan was comprised of 10 citadels, or walled palaces, in its 6 kilometre squared centre of a wider city that measured 20 sq km.

Each statue measures 70-centimetres in height and they were aligned in niches in the wall of a ceremonial corridor decorated with high mud reliefs in a thousand-year-old building.

The corridor where they were found, buried in earth, was only discovered in June in the Utzh An or Great Chimu palace.

“It’s an important discovery for its age and the quality of its decoration,” said Balbuena while visiting the site.

The statues, discovered in September, are black with beige clay masks and “would be the oldest sculptures known to date in Chan Chan,” said archeologist Arturo Paredes, who is leading the dig.

Each sculpture is standing with a circular object on its back, perhaps a shield.

The corridor is decorated with squares, like a chessboard, and waves in high relief, while there are also images of the “lunar animal,” a mythical symbol common in pre-Hispanic cultures along the north Peruvian coast, according to archeologist Henry Gayoso.

The Chimu culture flourished between 900 and 1450 AD on the northern coast of Peru and at its apogee, Chan Chan, which means resplendent sun, had 30,000 inhabitants.

Only 14 sq km of the original complex remains but even that is under threat from the climate, looting and residential encroachment.

It attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year.

Some 500 people, including 50 archeologists are working on investigative and preservation projects in Chan Chan, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986.

MOST VIEWED

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring