A view of parts of the ancient mural. Image Credit: AFP.

Archaeologists Find “Exceptional” 30-Meter-Long Ancient Mural in Peru

The ancient mural is believed to date back around one thousand years. There is a section in which warriors form a procession near a deity with bird-like characteristics.


In northern Peru, archeologists rediscovered a prehistoric mural depicting mythological scenes that was only known from black-and-white pictures. Archeologists said the “rediscovery” was exceptional since it is very rare to find mural paintings with such high quality in pre-Columbian archaeology. Sam Ghavami, a Swiss archaeologist who led the discovery, revealed his excitement in an interview with. The ancient mural was found by Ghavami and his team this October. He and his colleagues have spent four years searching for the ancient mural painting, which likely dates back more than one thousand years. As revealed by the expert, the mural is unique and represents an important mark in pre-Hispanic history for a few reasons.

The temple of Guaca Pintada

The most important one, perhaps, is that the fresco is part of an ancient Temple called the Guaca Pintada. This ancient temple is believed to have belonged to the ancient Moche civilization. The Moche flourished in parts of present-day Peru between the first and eighth centuries. These people venerated the Moon, the rain, iguanas, and spiders. The mural is also anything but small. Measurements suggest it stretches approximately 30 meters in length and features many colors. Archeologists have found the colors blue, red, white, brown, and yellow. Despite their age, the paintings have been exceptionally well preserved. There is a section in which warriors form a procession near a deity with bird-like characteristics. Here is a video of the mural.


Sacred hierarchy

According to Ghavami, the mural’s message is inspired by the idea of a sacred hierarchy built around ancestor cults and their intimate connections to nature. Deciphering the exact message and meaning of the mural will take some time. There may be a metaphorical meaning to some parts of the mural regarding the ancient inhabitants of the region’s political and religious order. Additionally, the discovery demonstrates stylistic syncretism between two pre-Inca cultures: the Lambayeque, who developed on Peru’s north coast between 900 and 1350, and their Mochica ancestors, who occupied the area between 100 and 850. Hans Heinrich Brüning, a German ethnologist who lived in Peru for many years, was the first to take black and white photographs of the mural in 1916.

Unknown until 1978

When pre-Hispanic treasure hunters looted the site surrounded by dense foliage, they destroyed a wall due to a lack of heritage protection laws. Additionally, the photos Brüning took were unknown until 1978, when they were discovered. Huaca Pintada has been known to archaeologists since then, but the site has never been excavated because no one believed it could be discovered. Essentially, the ancient site is a forgotten archeological goldmine.


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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