Skip to main content
×
Home

The social and ritual context of horizon astronomical observations at Chankillo

  • Iván Ghezzi (a1) and Clive L. N. Ruggles (a2)
Abstract
Abstract

The authors have shown previously that, as viewed from an evident observing point to the west, and a plausible observing point to the east, the Thirteen Towers of Chankillo formed an artificial ‘toothed’ horizon that spanned the annual rising and setting arcs of the sun and provided a means to identify each day in the seasonal year by observing the position of sunrise or sunset against them. The Thirteen Towers thus constitute a unique solar observation device that is still functioning, and a remarkable example of a native form of landscape timekeeping that preceded similar facilities in imperial Cusco by almost two millennia. Yet the social, political, and ritual contexts in which Chankillo's astronomical alignments operated deserve further exploration. In this paper, we present new archaeoastronomical evidence that not only clarifies some aspects of the solar observation device but suggests a wider range of alignments visible from more publicly accessible parts of the ceremonial complex, and also suggests a possible interest in marking lunar alignments as well as solar ones. We also bring together archaeological evidence to suggest that the society that built Chankillo was differentiated. The Thirteen Towers may have served to regulate the calendar, solar and ritual, while the solar cult centred on them may have lent legitimacy and authority to a rising warrior elite through ceremony in an impressive sacred setting that brought society together while reproducing its growing inequality.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The social and ritual context of horizon astronomical observations at Chankillo
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The social and ritual context of horizon astronomical observations at Chankillo
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The social and ritual context of horizon astronomical observations at Chankillo
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
References
Hide All
Aveni A. F. (ed.) 1992, The Sky in Mayan Literature, Oxford University Press, New York.
Bauer B. S. & Dearborn D. S. P. 1995, Astronomy and Empire in the Ancient Andes: the Cultural Origins of Inca Sky Watching, University of Texas Press, Austin.
Bray T. L. (ed.) 2003, The Archaeology and Politics of Food and Feasting in Early States and Empires, Kluwer Academic/Plenum, New York.
Burger R. L. 2008, Chavín de Huántar and its sphere of influence. In Silverman H. & Isbell W. H. (eds), The Handbook of South American Archaeology, Springer, New York, pp. 681703.
Ghezzi I. 2004, Proyecto Arqueologico Chankillo: Informe de la Temporada 2003, Instituto Nacional de Cultura, Lima.
Ghezzi I. 2006, Religious warfare at Chankillo. In Isbell W. H. & Silverman H. (eds), Andean Archaeology III, Springer, New York, pp. 6784.
Ghezzi I. 2007, La naturaleza de la guerra prehispánica temprana: la perspectiva desde Chankillo. Revista Andina 44, 199225.
Ghezzi I. 2008, Los primeros tambores de la guerra: combate y ritual en la costa norte después del ocaso de Chavín. In Makowski K. (ed.), Los Señorios del Reino de la Luna, Banco de Crédito del Perú, Lima, pp. 3953.
Ghezzi I. & Ruggles C. L. N. 2007, Chankillo: a 2300-year-old solar observatory in coastal Peru. Science 315, 12391243.
Ghezzi I. & Ruggles C. L. N. 2008, Las trece torres de Chankillo: arqueoastronomía y organización social en el primer observatorio solar de América. Boletín de Arqueología PUCP 10, 215236.
Hayden B. D. 2001, Richman, poorman, beggarman, chief: the dynamics of social inequality. In Feinman G. M. & Price T. D. (eds), Archaeology at the Millennium: a Sourcebook, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, pp. 231272.
Millones L. & Onuki Y. 1993, El Mundo Ceremonial Andino, Senri Ethnological Studies no. 37, Museo Nacional de Etnología, Osaka.
Ruggles C. L. N. 1997, Whose equinox? Archaeoastronomy no. 22 (suppl. to Journal for the History of Astronomy 28), S45S50.
Ruggles C. L. N. 2005, Ancient Astronomy: an Encyclopedia of Cosmologies and Myth, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara.
Topic J. R. & Topic T. L. 1997, Hacia una comprensión conceptual de la guerra andina. In Varon Gabai R. & Flores Espinoza J. (eds), Arqueología, Antropología e Historia en los Andes: Homenaje a María Rostworowski, transl. Flores Espinoza J., Historia Andina vol. 21, Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, Lima, pp. 567590.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
  • ISSN: 1743-9213
  • EISSN: 1743-9221
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-international-astronomical-union
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 102 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 148 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.