Skip to comments.Oldest Animal-Shaped Structures Discovered in Peru
Posted on 03/30/2012 1:02:21 AM PDT by Theoria
Manmade mounds shaped like orcas, condors and even a duck may be the oldest evidence of animal mounds outside of North America, according to former University of Missouri anthropologist.
Writing in the magazine Antiquity, Robert Benfer, a professor emeritus, describes a series of mounds, some more than 1,300 feet (400 meters) across, in coastal valleys in Peru. Archaeological evidence at the sites pegs some at more than 4,000 years old.
"It's going to shake everybody's views," Benfer told LiveScience. "The previous oldest animal figures were at Nazca and they're 2,000 years old."
The Nazca Lines are simple stone outlines of animals decorating the Nazca Desert in Peru. Like the newly discovered mounds, they may have had ritual significance. In addition, the shapes likely coincided with the constellations these ancient people saw in the Milky Way.
Benfer discovered the mounds while looking at satellite photos of a site about which he'd long held suspicions. The feature seemed shaped like a condor, he said, but archaeological wisdom suggested that animal effigy mounds were a North-America-only phenomenon, with few exceptions, such as one at a Central America site in Mexico.
The satellite photos revealed furrows that looked like teeth as well as a burned charcoal area perfectly positioned in the spot where the eye of the bird would be. Global positional system (GPS) information and an archaeological investigation of the site convinced Benfer that he was, in fact, looking at a condor-shaped mound, with the eye likely being a site where offerings were burned. The condor is oriented according to astronomical rules: It lines up with the most extreme orientation of the Milky Way as seen from the Chillón Valley where the mound is found.
(Excerpt) Read more at livescience.com ...
Looks like a cloud formation.
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