Archaeologists Uncover Spectacular Relief in 3,000-Year-Old Peruvian Temple
Researchers have discovered an enormous relief at the remains of a temple in northern Peru which depicts a man and bird of prey and dates back to about 1,000 BC. The finding suggests that the remains are a rare example of a temple with a huge frieze possibly surrounding the entire structure.
The 3 metre high by 2 metre wide relief shows a man that is depicted as a superhuman with feet made of monster faces and shin bones visible through the flesh. There is also an eagle-like bird of prey which was considered sacred in the ancient Andes.
The relic was unearthed by Koichiro Shibata, an associate professor who specializes in Andean archaeology, during an excavation conducted at the Huaca Partida ruins, which are located about 400 kilometres northwest of Lima. The site contains the remains of a palace and temple with chambers and three layers of bases.
The largest known relief dating from the ancient Andean civilization, which measured 3 metres high by 4 metres wide and featured a jaguar, was found at the same ruins in 2005. The reliefs found by Shibata relate to the east and south walls of a chamber on the top place. The latest discovery suggests that the north and west walls are also covered in a relief and further work will be undertaken to try to establish this.
“There must be more than 10 reliefs that we haven’t excavated yet,” said Shibata. “The discovery of reliefs on such a scale is unprecedented. It’s a big discovery.”