Kotosh, Peru

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A major ceremonial centre situated at 1950 m above sea level on the eastern slopes of the central Andes above modern Huanuco. Dating from the late Pre‐Ceramic period through to the early Horizon, roughly 3000–1000 bc, the site has four main phases. The earliest (Mito) phase is Pre‐Ceramic, but includes the Temple of the Crossed Hands. Square in plan, this temple has a single entrance with a niche on each side facing inwards. Below each niche, modelled in mud plaster, is a pair of crossed human forearms, some of which are larger than the others, suggesting perhaps a male/female duality. Around the interior of the temple is a low stone bench; there is a fire‐pit in the centre of the floor. The second phase (Waira‐Jirca) is associated with ceramics of the Zone Hachure Horizon Style and dates to c.1800–1150 bc. The third phase (Kotash) dates to c.1000–900 bc. During this time the temple was rebuilt following the demolition of its predecessor. New pottery forms are present, including stirrup‐spout vessels. Maize was probably being cultivated at this time. The fourth phase (Chavín) is again recognizable by new pottery styles.


S. Izumi and T. Sono, 1963, Andes 2: excavations at Kotosh, Peru, 1960. Tokyo: kand o kawa

Subjects: Archaeology.

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