LIMA – A 3,800-year-old wall with reliefs was found at the Vichama archeological complex on Peru’s central Pacific coast, archeologist Ruth Shady, director of excavations, said on Thursday.
The reliefs show four human heads placed side by side with their eyes closed, as well as two serpents that surround them that lead to a fifth non-human head, which may represent an anthropomorphic seed.
The wall, constructed with adobe, is part of a building in Vichama, a fishing town belonging to Caral, the oldest known civilization in the Americas, which emerged some 5,000 years ago in the Supe Valley, some 180 kilometers (112 miles) north of Lima.
The wall is part of the entrance hall of a ceremony room, which was the main function of the building, oriented toward the agricultural fields of the Huaura Valley.
The construction occupied an area of 874 square meters (9,400 square feet) and was continuously remodeled by adding rooms with stepped windows as well as a circular sunken plaza.
The excavations in Vichama began in 2007 and are part of the Caral Archaeological Zone, where 22 buildings in a 25-hectare area (62 acres) were constructed from 1800-1500 BC.
The Caral civilization emerged in the valleys surrounding Lima at the same time as other ancient cultures in Mesopotamia, Egypt and China, and its discovery changed the way the development of the great civilizations of Ancient Peru are conceived.