1,200-year-old telephone, amazing invention of the ancient Chimu civilization
The Chimu were the people of the Kingdom of Chimor, and their beautiful capital city was Chan Chan (translated as Sun Sun ), a sprawling mud brick complex —the largest such adobe in the world— and it was the largest city in Pre-Columbian South America. Chan Chan was almost 20 square kilometers (7.7 square miles), and with 100,000 residents during its height around 1200 AD. The entire city was made from shaped and sun-dried mud, and was elaborately decorated with sculptures, reliefs and wall carvings on almost every surface.
The amazing constructions of the Chimu capital city, Chan Chan. (Carlos Adampol Galindo, Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0)
Chimu culture arose about 900 AD, but was eventually conquered by the Inca around 1470 AD.
The Chimu telephone, and many other amazing ancient technologies, remind us that ancient cultures were capable of marvelous inventions, ideas, and creations long before our ‘sophisticated’ modern societies dreamed them up (sometimes for a second time).
Featured image: Chan Chan, Peru ( Wikimedia Commons ). Inset: The enigmatic ancient communication device. Credit: Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
By Liz Leafloor
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Baldwin, Neil. 2013. “There’s a 1,200-year-old Phone in the Smithsonian Collections”. Smithsonian. [Online] Available here.
Dhwty, 2014. “Chan Chan – The Largest Mud-Brick City in the World”. Ancient Origins [Online] Available here.
Smithsonian Institution. 2014. “Meeting of the Board of Regents” PDF [Online] Available here.