Archaeologists in Peru have discovered a temple in Lima that dates to 3000 B.C., potentially making it older than Stonehenge.
The building, discovered in the El Paraiso archaeological complex in northern Lima, is a stone rectangle that covers 517 square feet. It was plastered with a mud layer and decorated with red paint, according to the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.
The structure included features never before discovered in Peru. It could be defined as a temple, according to the ministry, and contained signs of fire that would have been tied to religious tradition.
Deputy minister Rafael male Gabai said the findings open avenues for further research and preservation in the area, which was originally explored in 1965 and slated for preservation in 2012.
According to archaeologists, the only access to the temple is a 48-inch-wide gap. Only one person can enter the temple’s center room, which was a flat, rectangular area in the center of which would have been a ceremonial fire used for burnt offerings.
“This discovery in El Paraiso is particularly important because it is the first of this type of structure that is located in the central coast, which confirms that the current Lima region was one of the centers of civilization in the Andean region, demonstrating its religious, economic and political (value) since time immemorial,” Gabai said.