Chavin – ancestors of the Inca (ca. 900-200 BC)

By: The Scribe on Saturday, March 31, 2007


Located 250 metres north of Lima, Peru, the magical and religious centre of Chavin de Huantar was built in two phases: the Old Temple (ca. 900-500 BC) and the New Temple (ca. 500-200 BC).

Constructed 3,185 metres above sea level, Chavin de Huantar was built of stone blocks, with odd pyramid-shaped structures that have resulted in debate over whether the complex was meant to be used as a temple or a fortress.

The inside of Chavin de Huantar features a labyrinthine network of passageways, lit by carved ‘skylight’ openings overhead. One of the rooms also contained a five-meter high stone carving called the ‘Lanzon’, depicting contorted images of sacred deities and monsters.

Contemporary to the Olmecs in Mexico, the Chavin culture achieved an extremely high level of technology and skill in agriculture, art, architecture, and social organization – thereby allowing them to dominate a large portion of north and central Peru.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Chavin is the amount of religious artifacts that have been uncovered: a number of small mortars, bone tubes, and spoons were found at the temple, which may have been used to grind vilca, a hallucinogenic snuff. In addition, there are several examples of artwork that show figures with mucus streaming from their nostrils – a known side effect of hallucinogenic use – and holding ‘San Pedro’, a variety of hallucinogenic cactus!

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Tomorrow: Midget worship in ancient Egypt!?


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