In 2008 a letter was excavated during an archaeological dig
of a Peruvian colonial town abandoned for unknown reasons around the turn of the 18th Century. On the back of that letter were recorded several numbers and their names in a dead tongue, lost in the upheaval following the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Even though this may be the only remnant of an entire language, there is quite a bit that linguists can glean from these fragments. For a brief overview of the findings of research by a joint American-Peruvian research group, read here
. And here is the full journal article
, which places these numbers in their historical and linguistic context.
posted by Kattullus
on Sep 25, 2011 -
The Thirteen Towers of Chankillo
in Peru may be the Western Hemisphere's oldest known full-service
solar observatory, showing evidence of early, sophisticated Sun cults
, according to archaeoastronomy
professor Clive Ruggles
. The 2,300-year-old complex featured 13 towers running north to south along a ridge and spread across 980 feet to form a toothed horizon that spans the solar arc
. Last year, another ancient observatory was discovered in Peru by Robert Benfer
. The Temple of the Fox
is 4,200 years old, making it 1,900 years older
than the Chankillo site, but wasn't a complete calendar.
posted by homunculus
on Mar 3, 2007 -
The images on the ceramics
were thought to be mythical narratives
the priestly class
used to underscore
its coercive power. Without proper archaeological evidence, the representations were too horrific to take literally. They depicted gruesome scenes
: captives skinned alive, drained of blood (which was drunk by priests in front of them), throats slit, bodies decapitated and left to the vultures, bones meticulously defleshed and hung from ropes.
Unfortunately for the victims, these bloody rites actually happened
. They took place in an otherwise vibrant and highly advanced culture, a culture renowned for its artists
and builders. These were a people who developed advanced agricultural knowledge, extremely sophisticated metallurgy
, and built the largest pre-Columbian adobe structure in the Americas
. Because they had no written language, though, it is by their ceramics that we
know them best.
posted by crumbly
on Jan 25, 2006 -