Archaeologists discovered a 1,400-year-old site in coastal Peru featuring two-faced men holding strange treasures, according to a March press release.
The murals were discovered as part of a multi-year excavation and research project in Panamarca, Peru, according to a press release from the team. Teams estimate that barely 10% of the site has been uncovered thus far. The discoveries are already fascinating, and hoped to reveal secrets from the ancient Moche civilization that flourished in the region.
The Moche, or Mochica, were an Andean civilization that is believed to have flourished between the 1st and 8th centuries, according to Britannica. The details in the mural seem to suggest sacrifice and “cosmic realms,” according to analysis from University of Toronto Archaeology Center director Edward Swenson, who spoke to LiveScience about the discovery.
Unearthing ancient Peruvian history: international, women-led team of archaeologists and conservators releases findings from excavations at Pañamarca.
Inbox me to interview one of the scientists. @peru @DenverMuseumNS @NatGeo_la @NatGeo @VisitPeru https://t.co/dN1kQ3Vx3c pic.twitter.com/CAPlvprqaQ
— Julio Poletti (@juliopoletti) March 14, 2023
Discovered on the same pillar within a ceremonial hall, the designs show one man with two faces, holding a feather fan and a goblet with four hummingbirds drinking from it in each hand, LiveScience noted. The other two-faced man was also holding a feather fan, but the rest of the piece is still open to some interpretation.
“There is nothing quite like this in South American archaeology,” one of the team leaders Lisa Trever stated. “The artists may have been experimenting with how to show movement, and two narrative moments at once.”
The hall where the murals were uncovered in 2022 is thought to have been a center of much importance for the Moche civilization. “I interpret the [hummingbirds] drinking from the cup as a powerful invocation of the centrality of sacrifice in Moche worldview,” Swenson told LiveScience. “Sacrifice served as a critical mechanism to ensure the circulation of life-giving fluids between beings and cosmic realms.”
Ancient trophy heads discovered in Peru, thought to have been created some time between 3500 BC and AD 476, showed victims consumed psychoactive cactus prior to death. Anyone who’s dabbled with psilocybin and other hallucinogens can probably relate to the more cosmic nature of artwork that stems from such recreational activities. (RELATED: Police Find Man’s Ancient Peruvian Mummy ‘Girlfriend’ In Delivery Bag)
Perhaps this is where the glorious artwork came from? Just an idea. Fieldwork is expected to continue through 2023. You can view the images here.