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Chavin Culture

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The Chavin culture, a South American civilization existing before written history, set up a trade system as well as developed an agrarian system.

Its most well-known archaeological site is Chavin de Huantar, a UNESCO world heritage site.

On this page:

  • Description
  • Chavin Art
  • Chavin Religious System

The Chavín era covered a period from 900 to 300 BCE (see Cultures of Peru and Timeline Chart).

Significant archaeologic objects have been discovered at a location referred to as Chavín in present day Peru at a height of 3,177 meters (10,423 feet).

The most well-known archaeological site belonging to the Chavín Civilization is Chavín de Huantar, in the Andean uplands north of Lima.

It is considered to have been constructed about 900 BC and was most likely the spiritual meeting place of the Chavín community.

It is now a UNESCO world heritage site. 

The temple is built of white granite and black limestone
, neither of which is found near the Chavin temple site. These kinds of materials would have to have been hauled from great distances instead of making use of nearby rock quarries.

The Chavín civilization was furthermore ahead of its time in various fields such as metal working, soldering, and even temperature regulation.

Chavín Art -

This interesting culture offers the earliest extensive, identifiable artistic style within the Andes Mountain region.

The Chavín artisans employed early innovative methods to create striking, imaginative gold articles.


Chavín artwork adorns the walls of the temple and features carvings and sculptures as well as pottery.


Indigenous artists portrayed uncommon objects like jaguars and birds of prey instead of regional plant life and wildlife.


The Chavín religious system featured human transformation assisted by the ingestion of hallucination-producing substances.

The Chavín style dominated Peruvian art and architecture for hundreds of years and influenced all that came after.
  • But what was the exact nature of this style?

  • How did Chavín civilization develop, and

  • Why did it eventually collapse?

New answers are emerging after discoveries made over the past two decades.

Articles are being updated and reports and books written about the amazing Chavin Civilization.

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