WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- An ancient ceremonial building with a mural of a spider deity wielding a knife was discovered in the northwest of La Libertad region in Peru.
- According to archeologist Régulo Franco Jordán, the monument can be traced as far as 3,200 years ago and believed to have ritual significance.
- Jordán asked help from authorities to secure the site for the time being amid the pandemic.
Built around three thousand years ago, an ancient ceremonial building located in Peru’s northwestern La Libertad region had a painting of a spider deity grabbing a knife.
The mural was discovered by archaeologists in November 2020, shortly after the expansion of sugar cane and avocado plantations, as local farmers were doing construction in the area.
In a report by La República, the Peruvian national daily newspaper, scientists have unearthed the painting when they inspected the “huaca” monument (the Indigenous Quechuan family of languages).
Speaking with the newspaper, archaeological investigation director Régulo Franco Jordán of the Augusto N. Wiese Foundation, a Peruvian cultural nonprofit group, said that the huaca was about 3,200 years of age and had a crucial part in civilization’s early customs.
The being in the mural was “a stylized zoomorphic being,” a hybrid human-animal god, visibly seen as a spider. Back in the pre-Columbian Cupisnique times, the spider was an important animal, according to Jordán.
Based on La República, the wall which holds the mural faces a river bisecting the Virú Valley, which meant that the deity had something to do with water. Per Jordán, the temple’s ceremonies would have possibly occurred during the rainy season (January to March), when the river had its highest water level.
According to the Larco Museum, a privately owned museum in Lima with pre-Columbian art, the Cupisnique culture thrived at the country’s northern coast from 1250 B.C. to A.D. 1. During that time, the Indigenous people built the first known temples. In a report by Peruvian national news outlet Andina, spider deities were typically displayed on pottery items, and were also linked to fertility.
Jordán told La República that the site “has been registered and the discovery will be covered up until the pandemic is over and it can be properly investigated.”
In order to preserve the site, Jordán reached out to the Peruvian Ministry of Culture’s decentralized office in La Libertad. He urged them to implement an “emergency intervention” to secure the site amid the pandemic and restrictions in place.