LIMA – A team of Peruvian archaeologists have discovered two ceremonial temples more than 4,000 years old in Peru’s northern jungle, which makes them the most ancient in the country and identifies them with the Bracamoros culture, the daily El Comercio said on Saturday.
On both sites were found 14 burial vaults that typically contain the skeletons of newborns and adolescents placed there as offerings at different times in the course of the 800 years these buildings were in use, the newspaper said.
The Bracamoros culture occupied part of the current Ecuadorian province of Zamora Chinchipe and the Peruvian regions of Amazonas and Cajamarca, where the temples were found, the daily said.
It said that the place where the archaeological remains were uncovered was used as a rubbish dump by the inhabitants of Jaen, until a team of archaeologists led by Quirino Olivera decided to excavate the buildings, following the lead of fossil and ceramic evidence found in recent decades.
As the work was getting started in May, experts found large semicircular walls built with a mixture of mortar and stones weighing 200 kilos (440 pounds).
The perfectly aligned walls were built in eight phases of construction and were decorated with an early fresco technique, El Comercio said.
Olivera told the newspaper that “we are standing before one of the first civilizations of Peru.”
“If we keep digging, we could find vestiges preceding the Chavin (1,000 B.C.), Caral (3,000 B.C.) and Ventarron (4,000 B.C.) cultures, since neither in the Andes nor on the coast have temples been found that are this ancient or with these characteristics,” he said.
The archaeologist said that the temples located in the areas of Montegrande and San Isidro are the first to be found in a region where jungle meets mountains.