Chavin de Huantar
Picture from World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/330/)
Name: Chavin (named after culture period)
Country that it’s located today: Peru
Year it was added to the World Heritage List: 1985
Criteria that the site was nominated: (iii) To have an exceptional testimony of a civilization or cultural tradition that may be alive or has disappeared.
Total number of Cultural/Mixed Heritages Sites Located in the country: 9
Basic Archaeological Site Information
Size of site: Only size found is 12000 sq m (129,167 sq ft)
Time period represented: Between 1500 and 300 B.C.
Cultural Period the site if from: Chavin Horizon
Group associated with the site: Chavin Cult (pre-Inca civilization)
Threats: The only threats found were natural disasters (landslides and earthquakes)
Fun Fact from the website http://whc.unesco.org/archive/advisory_body_evaluation/330.pdf : Antonio Vasquez de Espinosa was quoted in 1616 saying, “Close by the village of Chavin there is a large building remarkably huge free stones. It was one of the most famous sanctuaries – having the same importance as Rome or Jerusalem for us – where Indians went to offer up their sacrifices.”
The Archaeological Site Chavin was once in the village of Chavin de Huantar. It is located in a valley in the Peruvian Andes at an altitude of 3,177 meters. The site is located near one of the best known pre-Columbian sites and Chavin de Huantar was used as a place of worship. Located between the sea, jungle, and mountains, the location of Chavin de Huantar influenced the economy and culture of the people in the village. This site was excavated in 1919 by Julio C. Tello, a Peruvian Archaeologist.
Buildings such as the “Lanzon temple”, made of granite, and the “Tello pyramid” were both important structures that were built on galleries. The art of the culture and the ceremonial characteristics have all been found during the excavation of this site. Sculptures of jaguars, snakes, and other animals are carved in columns and dress stones that surround the structures. The Chavin culture is known for is beautiful art and the excavation of this site has helped illustrate artifacts that add to the knowledge about this culture.
This site has gone through many natural hardships including floods, a landslide in 1945, and an earthquake in 1970. While nature has taken its toll on the site, many remains of sculptures carven into columns and buildings exist in their original place. Since 1980, the Federico Villareal University and the Volkswagen Foundation resumed the excavation of the site under a safe guard plan. In 1998, the Institute for Culture in Peru asked for assistance to help with the weather conditions that were destroying the site. Drains were added and the galleries were stabilized so the site is much more safer now then it was in previous years.
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