Archaeoastronomy in Peru
March 3, 2007 10:38 PM   Subscribe

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 (8 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Nice post homunculus.

The authors of the paper, who include Professor Ivan Ghezzi of the National Institute of Culture, Peru, believe the population was an ancient Sun cult and the observatory was used to mark special days in their solar calendar.

I am a bit dubious about the use of the word "cult" to describe ancient societies. "Cult" implies a religious practice. Obviously, these people were sophisticated and the sun was as important and as essential to them as our calendar is to us. For modern man, our world revolves around the keeping of time and dates. It is more a practical necessity than a religious practice. Why would it have been different then?
posted by three blind mice at 11:18 PM on March 3, 2007

Thanks for these links. I found this one particularly informative both historically and astronomically.
posted by inconsequentialist at 5:23 AM on March 4, 2007

another frakking reason to make me want to see Peru.
thanks, these are great.
posted by Busithoth at 8:19 AM on March 4, 2007

Thanks for the post!
posted by dhruva at 4:00 PM on March 4, 2007

APOD: analemmas.
posted by homunculus at 11:00 PM on March 4, 2007

Nice stuff, thanks homunculus!
posted by carter at 6:51 AM on March 5, 2007

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