Research Article

Chankillo: A 2300-Year-Old Solar Observatory in Coastal Peru

Science  02 Mar 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5816, pp. 1239-1243
DOI: 10.1126/science.1136415

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Abstract

The Thirteen Towers of Chankillo run north to south along a low ridge within a fourth-century B.C.E. ceremonial complex in north coastal Peru. From evident observing points within the adjacent buildings to the west and east, they formed an artificial toothed horizon that spanned—almost exactly—the annual rising and setting arcs of the Sun. The Chankillo towers thus provide evidence of early solar horizon observations and of the existence of sophisticated Sun cults, preceding the Sun pillars of Incaic Cusco by almost two millennia.

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