Buena Vista, Peru
Buena Vista is an 8 hectare (20 acre) archaeological site located in Peru about 25 miles inland in the Chillon River Valley and an hour's drive north of Lima. It is in the Santa Rosa de Quives District, Canta Province, in the foothills of the Andes. The site was first excavated by Frederic Engel (1987). He obtained radiocarbon dates of artifacts that pertained to the Early Preceramic Period (9700+/-200 uncalibrated radiocarbon years before present), and to the Early Intermediate Period (1960+/-80 uncalibrated radiocarbon years before present).
In 2006, archaeologist Robert Benfer and his team announced the discovery of a 4200-year-old observatory at Buena Vista. Named the "Temple of the Fox" by archaeologists, the observatory is located atop a 33 feet (10 m) high pyramid mound. The temple complex is about 55 feet (17 m) long.
Features of the temple's construction produce alignments that mark the summer and winter solstices. The observatory is further distinguished by its sophisticated carvings, and a three-dimensional life-size sculpture of a musician, unique for a period known for two-dimensional reliefs in that region.
Radiocarbon dating of organic materials recovered from sealed contexts within the temple resulted in an age of ca. 2200 B.C. This date makes the Temple of the Fox the oldest observatory presently known in the Americas. Its discovery has caused researchers to realize that a much older and more complex culture inhabited the area than they had realized. They believe that it is related to the development of a sedentary society that depended on agriculture, although Benfer thinks fishing was also critical to their community.
See also 
- Anne Bolen, "The New World's Oldest Calendar: Research at a 4,200-year-old temple in Peru yields clues to an ancient people who may have clocked the heavens", Smithsonian Magazine, May 2007, accessed 2 Nov 2010
- Benfer (2006)
- Benfer et al. (2006)
- Richard Lovett, "Oldest Observatory in Americas Discovered in Peru", National Geographic, May 2006, accessed 2 Nov 2010
- Maugh, Thomas H. (14 May 2006). "Celestial Find at Ancient Andes Site". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 Jun 2012.
- Benfer, R. A. (2006), "Were Constellation Alignments Used to Orient Early Peruvian Monumental Architecture?", 71st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology
- Benfer, R. A., Jr., Ojeda, B., Duncan, N. A., Ludeña, H., Vallejos, M., Adkins, L. R., Rojas, V., Ocas, A., Ventacilla, O., Villarreal, G. & Ramírez, M. (2006), "Los Alineamientos Astronómicos y esculturas más tempranos del Perú en el sitio de Buena Vista", V Simposio Internacional de Arqueología: Procesos y Expresiones de Poder, Identidad, y Orden Tempranos en Sudamérica
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