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Mysterious ‘Temple Of The Crossed Hands’ Of Kotosh – One Of The Oldest Structures In Peru

A. Sutherland – – Temple of the Crossed Hands (Templo de Las Manos Cruzadas) in Kotosh, Peru, is taken into account one of many oldest temples in Peru and America and dates again 4000 years.

Kotosh represents a serious Pre Columbian ceremonial web site situated within the north-central highlands of Peru.

Terracota "Crossed arms" from Kotosh, 1800 BC

Terracota “Crossed arms” from Kotosh, 1800 BC. Image credit score: Simon charaCC BY-SA 4.0 

The first proof of large stone constructions from about 2000 BC means that sophisticated constructing work started centuries earlier than anyplace else on the American continent.

The tradition of Kotosh Waira-Jirca (1800-1300 BC) was concentrated within the Huánuco River basin, solely 6km from Huánuco alongside the La Unión highway.

More or much less everlasting settlement on the Kotosh historical web site predates the Chavín period by greater than a thousand years, then it continued all through the Inca occupation, proper as much as the Conquest.
Today, the greater than 4 thousand years previous ‘Temple of the Crossed Hands’ lies in ruins and is poorly maintained.

The web site was excavated by Japanese archaeologists someday between 1958 and 1962. In 1960, the archaeologist Seichi Izumi found the primary pair of crossed arms. Later, the second pair was present in 1963, supporting the speculation of the development of one other temple below the crossed arms. The discovery was adopted by many attention-grabbing buildings and among the oldest recognized sculptures within the Americas.

White Temple of Kotosh with the building of the Temple of the Hands

White Temple of Kotosh with the constructing of the Temple of the Hands. Image credit score: PitxiquinCC BY-SA 4.0

The finds helped researchers to shed extra mild on each technical and creative complexity of the finds.

At the positioning, there are ruins of the White Temple with the Temple of the Hands. In a sq. is a huanca, a ritual object thought-about right this moment a commemorative stone. The White Temple is so known as as a result of it had been plastered with white clay, giving the construction the looks of  being painted white.

The Temple of the Crossed Hands is sq.-formed,  roughly 9.3 to 9.5 meters on a facet and has a central fireplace pit with a air flow duct.

Inside the temple’s niches, achaeologists found skeletal stays of camelids and guinea pigs, so it’s believed that these niches had been used for choices. Ashes had been discovered within the central fireplace pit, likely used to burn the choices.

Interestingly, different Kotosh objects additionally included a bone stone, essential as a result of an identical items have been present in Caral.

Mysterious 'Temple Of The Crossed Hands' - One Of The Oldest Structures In Peru

The most original function of the Kotosh advanced is the crossed-arms image carved prominently in stone on the temple partitions. Compiled by

Three cultural phases which preceded the Chavin tradition (c. 900 – 200 BC) have been recognized on the Kotosh web site. However, some Kotosh components have traits related to the Chavin tradition. One of them is a practice of ornament through the use of black paint on crimson ceramics. Kotosh’s individuals produced black polished incised pottery resembling classical Chavin pottery.

This temple has a single entrance with a distinct segment on both sides dealing with inwards. Below every slot, modeled in mud plaster, is a pair of crossed human forearms, some bigger than the others suggesting a male/feminine duality. The discover might point out the illustration of the start of man and lady, symbolizing dualism.

Around the temple’s inside is a low stone bench; a firepit is within the heart of the ground.

The distinctive function of the Kotosh advanced is the crossed-arms image carved prominently in stone on the temple partitions and associated to a really early tradition about which archaeologists, sadly, know not a lot.

The Crossed Hands in the Temple of said name.

The Crossed Hands within the Temple of mentioned title.  Image credit score: PitxiquinCC BY-SA 4.0

The ‘crossed human forearms’ image additionally decorates Peru’s Nuevo Sol coin. The crossed-arm design is believed to be the earliest instance of “duality,” a central theme represented in Andean Ideology by means of the time of the Incas.

One set of arms has the left hand crossed over the precise, whereas the opposite pair on the alternative wall has the precise hand over the left. It has been recommended that one pair of arms might signify the female due to their smaller dimension, whereas the second pair represents the masculine.

Currently, the Temple of the Crossed Hands incorporates two replicas fabricated from fiberglass.

At the positioning of Kotosh, archaeological excavations revealed different even older buildings lately. However, this explicit advanced nonetheless stays one in every of Peru’s most essential archaeological websites.

Written by – A. Sutherland Staff Writer

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Expand for references


Kipfer Barbara Ann, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology 

Marco Gamarra Galindo, The thousand-12 months-previous Kotosh tradition (La milenaria cultura Kotosh)


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