Researchers discover secret tunnels under 3,000-year-old pyramid temple in Peru

(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists report the discovery of an ancient tunnel and gallery under the Chavin de Huantar pyramid temple in Peru. Artifacts over 3,000 years old have been found in the secret tunnel and gallery.

A team of explorers have discovered a secret tunnel and gallery under an ancient pyramid temple in Peru called Chavin de Huantar, located in the province of Huari. According to initial data, the tunnel and gallery were built in the early period of the Chavin culture and are estimated to be over 3,000 years old.

The discovery was announced on Friday, May 20, and was made by a team from the Chavin de Huantar Archaeological Research and Conservation Program at Stanford University in the United States.

The find was confirmed by the Decentralized Office of Culture of Ancash State, which highlighted that two ceremonial vessels were found in the gallery, one with a realistic carving of a condor.

The team that made the archaeological find, led by Stanford University archaeologists John and Rosa Rick, said their path to the discovery dates back to 2018, when the gallery was discovered through a small hole located at the back of one of Chavin’s main buildings, called the building D.

Researchers discover secret tunnels under 3 000 year old pyramid temple in Peru

Thanks to the images from the robotic camera, the researchers were able to see a closed room with an unknown object in the center.

Due to the pandemic, archaeological research was suspended. Only recently, archaeologist John Rick, director of the research project, was able to enter through a narrow passage about 40 centimeters in diameter that led to a hidden gallery of passageways.

Once inside, the item seen in the pictures turned out to be a sculpted ceremonial stone bowl. In its upper part is a three-dimensional carving of the head of a condor. Wings are engraved on the sides, and on the opposite side of the head is a bird’s tail, intricately etched to resemble a condor.

Also found were the remains of a stone bowl or vessel with a delicate rim. The diameter of both objects is 30 by 25 centimeters.

The weight of the condor bowl is estimated at 17 kilograms.

It is assumed that they were placed as offerings at the closing of the gallery about 3,000 years ago. Thanks to the discovery of a bowl with the symbols of a condor, this complex was named the Condor Gallery.

With this find, Rick and his team can confirm that this monument has had galleries for over 3,000 years. This suggests that the one found is the oldest known to date.

In addition, the researchers assure that this environment is purely ceremonial and represents a transitional period between the late Karal pre-ceramic site and the middle and late formation periods.

The discovery was made thanks to the work of John Rick, an archaeologist at Stanford University in the US with over 50 years of experience. His wife, archaeologist Rosa Rick, the project coordinator, worked with a team of young archaeologists, mostly Peruvians, and local staff.

The opening was only possible through coordination with the Ancash Cultural Authority and financial support from Antamina.

“Antamina provides the necessary funds and has been our main support for the past 15 years. Funding allows us to put together a program that, year after year, gains confidence in the continuation of existence and research in Peru,” said John Reek.

For its part, Antamina noted that in an ongoing effort to re-evaluate the cultural richness of the region, it also carried out editorial work, works to protect monuments during the rainy seasons, and made possible the repair of the Tello obelisk.

Antamina is also funding a research project for Huarmey Castle, a conclave of the Huari culture on the Peruvian coast.

Archaeologists believe that the construction of Chavan de Huantar began before 1200 BC and was mostly completed by 750 BC.

The temple is a massive, flat-topped pyramid surrounded by lower platforms. In the center is a flooded round platform with a U-shaped parade ground. The “circular square” probably served as a sacred and ritually important open space within the ceremonial center.


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