Finally unearthed after 4000 years, the Peruvian fire temple

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Oldest Mural of Americas

A mural spreads across two walls of a recently discovered temple in northern Peru.
 

Oldest Temple, Mural in the Americas Found in Peru

November 12, 2007. Source: The Scotsman - International by Jeremy McDermott.

What may be the oldest documented mural in the Americas has been found inside a 4,000-year-old temple near the Peruvian coast, researchers reported yesterday.

The discovery, made by Peruvian archaeologist Walter Alva in a looted site known as Ventarrón, is located in Peru's Lambayeque valley, some 500 miles (804 kilometers) from the capital, Lima.

"We have found what we believe is the oldest mural in the Americas," Alva, director of the Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum, told National Geographic News in an interview.

At a Peruvian government conference this weekend, Alva announced that carbon dating conducted in the United States shows that the mural and temple are 4,000 years old. Indications are that the temple at Ventarron was dedicated to the worship of fire and making offerings to deities by the Caral culture, which dates back to 2,600BC, the oldest known American civilization. The construction of Ventarron itself appears to have taken place 600 years later, according to samples sent to the US for carbon dating.

Ventarrón is located 12 miles (20 kilometers) from Sipan, the religious and political heart of the ancient Moche people, who flourished near Peru's northern coastlands from around A.D. 1 to A.D. 700.
 

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Last updated: November 13, 2007