Tag Archives | Peru

Ancient Peruvian Pyramid’s Astronomical Alignment Uncovered

peruvian pyramidLive Science reports on ancient architecture and monoliths designed to merge with figures in the sky:

An ancient astronomical alignment in southern Peru has been discovered by researchers between a pyramid, two stone lines and the setting sun during the winter solstice.

The longest of the two stone lines, called geoglyphs, runs for nearly a mile. Interspersed with these lines, researchers have also found more than 200 cairns (rock piles). The stone lines and cairns appear to be connected with four nearby ancient settlements and their pyramids.

Using 3D modeling, the researchers determined that during the time of the winter solstice, “Someone viewing the sunset from these lines during the winter solstice would have seen the sun setting directly behind, or sinking into, the adobe pyramid…Thus the pyramid and the linear geoglyph constitute part of a single architectural complex, with potential cosmological significance, that ritualized the entire pampa landscape.”

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Secret Door Discovered At Center Of Machu Picchu

The secret portal has yet to be unsealed, but an electromagnetic survey suggests it houses treasure chambers filled with gold. Who’s going to try to get it and end up with an Incan curse? Heritage Daily reports:

This discovery was made possible thanks to a French engineer, David Crespy, who in 2010 noticed the presence of a strange “shelter” located in the heart of the city, at the bottom of one of the main buildings. For him, there was no doubt about it, he was looking at a “door”, an entrance sealed by the Incas.

It is indeed an entrance, blocked by the Incas at an undetermined moment of history. In April 2012, an electromagnetic survey not only confirmed the presence of an underground room, but several. Just behind the famous entrance, a staircase was also discovered. The two main paths seem to lead to specific chambers. [The electromagnetic survey also revealed] a large quantity of gold and silver.

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Giant Spiral Labyrinth Discovered Within The Peruvian Desert’s Ancient Nazca Lines

No one knows what its purpose was, but wandering a large maze hidden in the desert is not my idea of a good time. Via Discovery News:

A large labyrinth lies in the midst of Peru’s Nazca Lines, according to the most detailed study on the enigmatic desert etchings created between 2,100 and 1,300 years ago. Completely hidden in the flat and featureless landscape, the labyrinth was identified after a five-year investigation into the arid Peruvian coastal plain land, about 250 miles south of Lima, where the mysterious geoglyphs are located.

The 2.7-mile labyrinth features 15 corners that would bring the walker away from and towards a large hill before turning into a spiral passageway. Walking the entire path would have probably taken about an hour. The labyrinth’s well-preserved edges suggest it was walked by a few people in single line. Unfortunately, there is no way to know the meaning of the structure and how it was used.

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Peruvian Shamans Predict Obama Victory

Obama wins the most important of endorsements. This same association of shamans correctly prophesied his 2008 victory, it should be noted. Via Canada.com:

A group of Peruvian shamans are predicting the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama — and are trying to help it along.

The 12 medicine men and women in traditional Andean dress gathered Monday at the top of Lima’s San Cristobal hill, where they burned incense and rubbed a poster of Obama with flowers and the plant common rue, which is supposed to bring luck. Meanwhile, a poster of challenger Mitt Romney was assaulted with maracas and a sword as the shamans sang, whistled and danced in a circle for journalists, who came and went as the ceremony continued.

The group has staged similar rituals for the press ahead of major sports events and Peruvian elections.

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2,300-Year-Old Towers May Be The Peruvian Stonehenge

The Daily Grail on the meaning of a mysterious, ancient marvel sitting in the South American desert:

In the coastal desert of Peru lies a strange structure consisting of what appears to be a fort atop a hill, but with a vertebrae-like line of 13 towers constructed on a raised area to its south-east.

The fort is odd from a military point of view because it would have been almost impossible to defend: it has numerous entrances and no source of water inside. Then there are the towers, which are several hundred metres from the hilltop fort, lie in a straight line and serve no discernible defensive role.

So archaeologists put forward a new interpretation…the site may have been a place of worship and a solar observatory, like Stonehenge, rather than a fort. Their main evidence was that the towers line up with the sunrise on important dates such as summer and winter solstice.

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Nazca Lines May Be Erased By Pigs, Squatters

The Nazca Lines are one of Earth’s most enduring mysteries. They are apparently in danger, reports Reuters:

Squatters have started raising pigs on the site of Peru’s Nazca lines – the giant designs best seen from an airplane that were mysteriously etched into the desert more than 1,500 years ago.

The squatters have destroyed a Nazca-era cemetery and the 50 shacks they have built border Nazca figures, said Blanca Alva, a director at Peru’s culture ministry.

She said the squatters, the latest in a succession of encroachments over the years into the protected Nazca area, invaded the site during the Easter holidays in April and that Peruvian laws designed to protect the poor and landless have thwarted efforts to remove them.

In Peru, squatters who occupy land for more than a day have the right to a judicial process before eviction, which Alva said can take two to three years.

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Mass Dolphin Deaths In Peru A Mystery

dolphinsEarth’s most intelligent species is dying off in droves. Report from the International Business Times:

Around 877 carcasses of dolphins and porpoises were found on Peruvian beaches in two and half months. Peruvian officials and environmentalists are trying to unravel the mystery behind the phenomenon.

No concrete reasons have been figured out yet but authorities believe that it could possibly be a viral infection that may have killed the dolphins in huge numbers. Environmental groups in the country blame the sound waves generated from oil exploration work carried out by Houston-based BPZ Energy Company between February 8 and April 8 off Northern Peru.

Mass dolphin deaths have been reported globally in recent years, raising concerns about the survival of the species.

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The New Cocaine Trade

Coca leaf in Bolivia. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr./ABr (CC)

Coca leaf in Bolivia. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr./ABr (CC)

John Lyons reports on some seismic shifts in where cocaine is produced, for the Wall Street Journal:

In the dusty town of Villa Tunari in Bolivia’s tropical coca-growing region, farmers used to barricade their roads against U.S.-backed drug police sent to prevent their leafy crop from becoming cocaine. These days, the police are gone, the coca is plentiful and locals close off roads for multiday block parties—not rumbles with law enforcement.

“Today, we don’t have these conflicts, not one death, not one wounded, not one jailed,” said Leonilda Zurita, a longtime coca-grower leader who is now a Bolivian senator, a day after a 13-piece Latin band wrapped up a boozy festival in town.

The cause for celebration is a fundamental shift in the cocaine trade that is complicating U.S. efforts to fight it. Once concentrated in Colombia, a close U.S. ally in combating drugs, the cocaine business is migrating to nations such as Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, where populist leaders are either ambivalent about cooperating with U.S.

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14 Shamans Murdered in Peru

Shaman

Photo: BDean (CC)

Nancy R writes on Care2:

Fourteen traditional healers have been brutally murdered in Peru in the past 20 months, allegedly at the urging of a local mayor. The Peruvian government has sent a team of investigators to look into the incidents. While 14 shaman have disappeared, the bodies of only seven have been retrieved so far; the indigenous healers were shot, stabbed or hacked to death by machete.

Protestant Sect Members Suspected: The prosecutor’s office of Alto Amazonas province stated that the alleged murders were carried out by a man known locally at the “witch hunter,” at the behest of his brother, the mayor of the town of Balsa Puerto. A Peruvian government adviser and expert on Amazon cultures alleges that both are members of a Protestant sect that claims shamans are possessed by demons and must be eliminated. The Peruvian Times reports that the shamans had been planning to form an association to share their knowledge.

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Cryptotourism: On The Trail Of A 40-Foot Anaconda

A common anaconda. Photo: he (CC)

A common (non-giant) anaconda. Photo: he (CC)

Joshua Foer of Slate.com reports:

PACAYA SAMIRIA, Peru—Of all the crazy mythical creatures that starry-eyed monster hunters have gone in search of—the Yeti, Sasquatch, Nessie, the chupacabra—South America’s giant anaconda would seem to be the least implausible. None of the Amazon’s early explorers dared emerge from the forest without a harrowing tale of a face-to-face encounter with a humongous snake. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was practically a requirement of the jungle adventure genre. English explorer Percy Fawcett (of Lost City of Z fame) reportedly shot a 62-foot anaconda in 1907 while on a surveying mission in western Brazil. Cândido Rondon, who led Teddy Roosevelt’s famous journey down the River of Doubt, claimed to have measured a 38-footer “in the flesh.” In 1933, a 100-foot serpent was said to have been machine-gunned by officials from the Brazil-Colombia Boundary Commission. According to witnesses, four men together couldn’t lift its head.

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