4,200-year-old building in Ecuador

Archaeologists uncover 4,200-year-old building in Ecuador

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Archaeologists have discovered a building dating back to 2,200 BC at an archaeological site in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. It is the oldest ancient building ever to be found in the region and researchers are unsure about that culture that lived in the area during the Formative Period when the building was constructed.

The finding was made in the archaeological and ecological park, known as Rumbipapa, which lies at the foot of Pichincha Volcano (Guagua Pichincha).  “It is the most ancient archaeological find in Rumbipapa Park and in the city of Quito,” said park supervisor Bernarda Icaza. He added that the discovery has enormous historical importance because “it opens doors to further archaeological, historical and heritage research.”

The excavation was started two years ago by archaeologist Angelo Constantine. After digging down three meters, the flooring of a small dwelling was found. Carbon dating on human waste found within the dwelling was used to date the building back 4,200 years.

Traces of volcanic lava found next to the building suggest that the village that once stood on the site was destroyed by the eruption of the Pichincha Volcano.  The last major eruptions of the volcano occurred in 1553 and 1660, when about 30 centimetres of ash fell over Quito, but it is not known how many more major eruptions occurred thousands of years ago.

“What destroyed this village was the eruption of Guagua Pichincha, and later the eruptions of Pululahua finished it off for good,” said Park guide Danny Villacis.

Villacis added that the discovery is singularly important because it shows “we are practically in our infancy” when it comes to studying historical subjects, and there is “still a lot of research to be done,” since many people refer to the Incas as their ancestors despite the fact that thousands of years ago there were already other people living there.

By April Holloway

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