Among the arresting findings: the practice of incorporating the dead into defensive walls.
Interior walls feature geometric friezes, sculptured serpents (the snake was a sacred symbol) and glaring stone faces -- eerie, unnerving visages from a lost era. The perpetual stares convey an enduring sense of reproach, as though disapproving of contemporary efforts to unearth the Chachapoya secrets.
Today, dozens of archaeologists and their assistants, armed with shovels, picks, brushes, pens and paper, endeavor to peel back the layers of dirt and debris and unlock the enigma. At roped-off digs, pieces of half-interred pottery and skeletal remains are clearly visible.
"We found these," said a grizzled, orange-helmeted Modesto Velazquez, a laborer who is part of the archaeological team, bearing several ancient deer antlers that served a decorative and possibly utilitarian purpose, an ancient version of coat hooks.
Cognito wrote:Please be more sensitive. These people weren't "dead" or "stiffs"; they had simply assumed room temperature and were breathing-challenged.
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