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Pre-Inca ceremonial pieces found in Bolivia's Tiwanaku

A group of 45 pre-Inca ceremonial objects have been discovered at the archaeological site of Tiwanaku, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in western Bolivia. 

Pre-Inca ceremonial pieces found in Bolivia's Tiwanaku
Selection of 15 pre-Inca objects found at Tiwanaku
[Credit: Jorge Bernal, AFP]

The objects include ceramic vessels and statuary, stone knives, bottles, a gold head with blue stone eyes and lips and the remains of animals including fish, llamas and birds. 

Fifteen of the pieces, believed to date to the 4th century AD, were unveiled at an official ceremony event on Tuesday.

Pre-Inca ceremonial pieces found in Bolivia's Tiwanaku
Tiwanaku ceramic vessel [Credit: Jorge Bernal, AFP]

The Ministry of Culture, organizer of the event, specified in a technical report that the find is “made up of many components or ceremonial supplies” and that “it will allow to establish the ritual and ceremonial system that was deployed during the beginnings of Tiwanaku.”

Pre-Inca ceremonial pieces found in Bolivia's Tiwanaku
Ceramic vessel with face decoration
[Credit: Jorge Bernal, AFP]

The archaeological pieces “tell us that we are here in Tiwanaku, sitting in a gold mine of knowledge and information, not only important for us, but for the whole world,” declared Bolivian President Luis Arce, invited to the event.

Pre-Inca ceremonial pieces found in Bolivia's Tiwanaku
Gold head with blue stone eyes and lips
[Credit: Jorge Bernal, AFP]

The artefacts were discovered during an excavation last year in the Temple of Kalasasaya, built by the Tiwanakota culture in what is known as the Tiwanaku III Phase (375-750 AD).

Julio Condori, director of the Tiwanaku Center for Archaeological, Anthropological and Administration Research (CIAAT), the office in charge of the find, told AFP that the discovery "is a significant contribution" to studying the religious custom of Tiwanaku. "It is a contribution to the scientific world, considering that these pieces are unique," he said.

Located 71 kilometers west of La Paz near the southern bank of Lake Titicaca, Tiwanaku was the cradle of one of the longest-lived lithic cultures in the world, spanning some 15 centuries, from 400 BC to 1172 AD. The reasons for the collapse of Tiwanaku society are still unknown.

Tiwanaku was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000. It contains the Temples of Kalasasaya and Puma Punku, the Puerta de Sol, the Pyramid of Akapana and a series of gigantic monoliths.

Source: AFP [January 12, 2021]

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