Archaeologists discover ancient religious complex in northern Peru


Lambayeque ruins show evidence of influence from the Chavin culture, experts say.Archaeologist Walter Alva, already well-known in the world of prehispanic archaeology for his 1987 discovery of the Lord of Sipan, has just added another major find to his list of greatest hits.

Alva and his team have dubbed the site the “Oracle of Congona.” The site, which contains an extensive complex of ruined structures including platforms and monoliths featuring carved feline and avian figures, was likely an important religious center. According to Agence France-Presse, archaeologists say the complex is of great historical significance because artifacts and structures at the site show clear influence from the Chavin culture. “This discovery proves that the Chavin culture expanded to distant zones,” Alva explained.

“We’ve discovered a ceremonial temple that is 3,000 years old that was used as a secret location where priests would have performed rites for their gods,” Alva told Agence France-Presse.

In an interview with EFE, Alva described the historical context of the find, saying “We’re thinking that it’s an oracle from the Chavin epoch, with subterranean structures, enclosures and spaces reserved for the Chavin priests.”

Speaking to Agence France-Presse, Alva said “It’s a sanctuary strategically located in the high part of an agricultural valley. We’re talking about very well-carved structures, where they foretold the destinies of the ancient residents.”

Excavations started at the Congona site in early September, after a long period of administrative delay. The temple at Chavin de Huantar in Ancash is the most well-known archaeological site of the Chavin culture, which developed in Peru between 900 and 200 BC.