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4.9: Chavin (900 BCE – 200 BCE)

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    Chavin culture developed during 900-200 BCE high in the northern Andes Mountains of Peru in the Mosna Valley. Settled by the Chavin, the highland plateau area is located 3150 meters above sea level, where the Mosna and Huachecsa rivers merge, forming a vibrant agricultural location. The natural resources allowed the Chavin to flourish, farming maize, potatoes, and quinoa as main staples, developing extensive irrigation canals on the steep hillsides to water the crops and allow for drainage when it rained, especially during the exceptionally wet rainy season.

    Figure 4.31 Chavin de Huantar

    In 900 BCE, the Chavin erected Chavin de Huantar (4.32), a religious and political center. Constructed from stone, the temple (4.33) boasted several terraces, central squares, and landscaped gardens. The temple was located above the heat of the jungle and below the snow of the mountains. The temple had the shape of a large pyramid with a flat top surrounded by lower terraces, used as a center for gathering and worship. Several figures and animals in low relief were carved into the stone. The interior of the temple had a multitude of tunnels and mazes connecting galleries in complete darkness due to a lack of windows. There were small tunnels allowing water or air movement creating an acoustical musical simulating the spoken words of the gods to the people in the audience sitting in the amphitheater.

    Figure 4.32 Temple pyramid

    4.9: Chavin (900 BCE – 200 BCE) is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Deborah Gustlin & Zoe Gustlin (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .

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