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Chavin de Huantar

15th July, 2023 History

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  • Archaeologists found a 3,000-year-old sealed corridor at Chavin de Huantar, a 900 BC UNESCO World Heritage site in Peru.
  • It was named as the condor's passageway.
    • The condor was considered the largest bird in the world.
    • In ancient Andean cultures this bird symbolized power and prosperity.

Other information

  • A hallway inside a southern portion of the temple would also be opened.
  • This hallway was sealed earlier citing the reasons of structural weakness.

Earlier exploration

  • In May 2022, a 17kg heavy ceramic piece is found in this passageway which is believed to depict condor's head and wings.
  • A ceramic bowl was also unearthed at the entrance of this passageway in the May 2022.
  • Earlier a team led by Rick, a Stanford University archaeologist, discovered entrance to the condor's passageway.

Chavin de Huantar

  • This pre-Columbian World heritage site is situated 306 km northeast of Lima in the Ancash Region.
  • It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1985.
  • This site is believed to be served as a ceremonial and pilgrimage centre for the Andean religion.
  • It was the most important center of ideological, cultural and religious convergence of ancient Chavin culture which flourished around 1,500-550 B.C.
  • A museum was opened near this site depicting Chavin culture ceramic pieces and rock sculptures by exhibiting ceramic pieces and rock sculptures.
  • The temple complex here features a network of passageways and terraces.

Features of Temple complex

  • It is a massive flat-topped pyramid situated between eastern and western ranges of the Andes.
  • It comprises of two building phases
    • U-shaped Old Temple – 900 B.C.
    • New Temple – 500 B.C.
  • Non-uniform sized stones are used for building walls and floors.
  • For carving purpose finer smoothed stones were preferred.
  • There exist many either separate or maze like tunnels/galleries inside the temple.

A model of the temple complex

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Significance of Discovery

  • The discovered passage will lead a way to other chambers situated in this site.
  • It will help in exploring massive temple complex and provide an understanding of the ancient Chavin culture.
  • It will provide a window to experience and understand the depictions of birds and felines; earliest days of Chavins, and the advanced art of this culture.
  • This discovery would be helpful in knowing more about the first sedentary farming communities in the highlands of Peruvian Andes.

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UNESCO World Heritage sites




Consider the following statements about Chavín de Huántar:

1. This archaeological site is declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.

2. It is believed to be the most important ceremonial and pilgrimage centre for the Andean religion.

Which of the statements given above is/are incorrect?

A. 1 only

B. 2 only

C. Both 1 and 2

D. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (D)