PanamaTimes

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024

Long-lost ancient mural rediscovered in northern Peru after more than a century

Long-lost ancient mural rediscovered in northern Peru after more than a century

Student archaeologists unearth Huaca Pintada, described as ‘the most exciting and important find of recent years’

A team of student archaeologists has rediscovered a 1,000-year-old multicoloured mural depicting a deity surrounded by warriors which was last seen a century ago in northern Peru.

Known as the Huaca Pintada, the 30-metre-long wall painted with fantastical images depicting mythical scenes was first found in 1916 by a band of treasure-hunting tomb raiders in Illimo near the city of Chiclayo.

The full splendour of the mural was captured in photographs taken at the time by Hans Heinrich Brüning, a German ethnographer whose work galvanised the archaeological study of the pre-Columbian ruins and relics in the region.

But then the grave robbers destroyed part of the wall after being forbidden from looting their find, and the site fell back into obscurity.

More than a century went by until a Swiss-Peruvian team led by Sâm Ghavami from the University of Fribourg decided to take on the mystery and rediscover the lost mural which had disappeared from view under carob trees and undergrowth.


Sâm Ghavami uses a brush to reveal the mural.

“When we got access to the site, it was a huge relief,” Ghavami, 33, told the Guardian by phone from northern Peru. One of the main challenges was accessing the site which is located on private land, he explained. It took two years to persuade the fiercely protective landowning family to allow them to excavate.

The Swiss archaeologist and some 18 Peruvian students began excavations in 2019, thanks to a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation. After a pause in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they were able to continue in 2021 completing the dig in November this year.
A detail from the mural.


“The first time we saw the huge wall, it was by just scratching the sand,” said Ghavami. “We could see the walls were unexcavated.” In the final two months of the dig, the team rediscovered the murals that had been lost during Brüning’s time, as well as new panels stretching some 11 to 12 metres that had not been uncovered by the looters.

“It was a lot of work,” said Ghavami. “No one could see its monumentality when it was covered by trees.

“When that was cleared away, people start to see it in a new way,” he added.

Archaeologists believe the mural dates back to the Lambayeque culture of the 9th century AD. It was buried in a pyramidal mound in La Leche valley near another site called Túcume, in the Lambayeque region.

“It’s the most exciting and important find of recent years,” said Luis Jaime Castillo, an archaeology professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. “The long-lost murals of Huaca Pintada have been recuperated after more than 100 years.”

The excavation site on private land near the city of Chiclayo.


“The depictions have a mixture of Mochica and Lambayeque iconography,” said Castillo. The Mochica civilization flourished in the region between AD100 and 700. “They show a transition, and maybe changes in the cosmologies.

“They give us a unique opportunity to contemplate the ancient societies of northern Peru, their deities and myths,” he added.

For now, the site has been covered up to preserve it but Ghavami – who is writing his doctoral thesis about the sociocultural changes that occurred in Lambayeque at the time when the mural was made – would like it to be restored to its former glory and, eventually, opened to the public.

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
Former Bolivian President Evo Morales Denied Eligibility for 2025 Re-Election
Venezuela's Maduro Condemns 'Provocation' as UK Sends Warship to Guyana Venezuela's President Maduro has condemned the UK's deployment of the warship HMS Trent to Guyana as a hostile act amid ongoing border tensions
Colombian Hometown Unveils Impressive Nearly 21ft Bronze Statue of Shakira
×