Peru: Second 4,500-year-old polychrome wall unearthed at Huaca Tomabal

Photo: Luis Puell Zapata.

Photo: Luis Puell Zapata.

08:13 | Trujillo (La Libertad region), Aug. 19.

A team of Peruvian archaeologists has unveiled a second polychrome wall, which was built around 4,500 years ago and is believed to belong to a character who has not yet been defined, on the north side of Huaca Tomabal, located in the heart of Viru Valley, in the district and province of the same name, in La Libertad region.

This new finding would confirm that Huaca Tomabal was finely decorated and might have been reserved for ceremonial uses of a temple.

Huaca Tomabal is a site of great importance for Peruvians at that time. It hosts the oldest polychrome murals that has so far been uncovered in La Libertad region, said Feren Castillo Lujan, the head of the Viru Valley Archaeological Project (PAVI), in statements to Andina news agency.

The discovery took place at Excavation Unit 1, in an area measuring just 5 x 9 meters but of great importance, as it has served to show that a large polychrome wall about 3 meters high lies within that side of the temple.

"The objective of this excavation unit was to define the northeast corner of the enclosure that had been destroyed, which in 2020 allowed me and archaeologist Regulo Franco to find a polychrome wall featuring an anthropomorphic character from the Cupisnique period, as we thought first, but it is much older," Castillo remarked.

"Indeed, we have confirmed that it (the enclosure) has a curved corner. Besides, the wall is polychrome. There is clear evidence that the wall continues down into the ground, since what we see is only a part of the mural," he added.

The researcher explained that, according to the building tradition —in which truncated adobe bricks and their variants stand out, as well as the absence of ceramics— it can be concluded that this is a temple dating to the Pre-ceramic or Late Archaic Period, which is believed to be the contemporary of La Galgada Archaeological Complex, in the highlands of Ancash; the Sechin hill, in Casma; or Huaca Ventarron.

"The tradition at that time was to build structures with curved corners and a central hearth, which surely this temple must include. However, said hearth or ventilation duct, which is very typical of the end of the Pre-ceramic Period, will have to be dug out in the future," he stated.


Published: 8/19/2023