Peru: Study reveals Pachacamac idol belongs to Wari period

09:25 | Lima, Jan. 16.

A recent study reveals that the Pachacamac idol —one of the main attractions at Pachacamac Sanctuary and its on-site museum— belongs to Wari period.

Its risky discovery in the decade of 1930 —after centuries of being considered lost— resulted in debates among experts, which are still ongoing.

For instance, given its iconography, some specialists believe it belongs to the Wari culture, but many others doubt it.

Now, the joint work between Peruvian institutions and Paris-Sorbonne University has shown that the carved wood belongs to Wari's apogee stage. Carbon-14 dating indicated that it was from sometime between 760 and 876 A.D.

Denise Pozzi-Escot, director of the Pachacamac on-site museum, told Andina news agency that the Wari occupation is confirmed by other recent studies. For example, the ceramics of this culture found in Ayacucho region.

However, this is not the only interesting information revealed by the study. For decades, experts thought that the carving had not been painted and had been made from a log of lucuma tree. This last detail was based on the legends of Cavillaca and Cuniraya.

Nevertheless, scientific evidence tells a different story. The log was from a young carob tree. Likewise, it was discovered that, originally, the idol had up to three colors.

The lead archaeologist at Pachacamac Sanctuary, Rommel Angeles, stated that this implies a trade network that transcended the valley.

For example, cinnabar or mercury —probably found in Huancavelica region— were used as a red pigment. The other colors were white and yellow.

The study on the idol's age and polychromy has been disseminated to the scientific community this week by the scientific journal PLOS ONE.


Published: 1/16/2020
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