Chavín de Huántar, Peru


A Pre-Inca religious center

Expedition Overview
CyArk’s involvement with Chavín de Huántar began in 2005 when a research group from University of California, Berkeley traveled to Chavín to document the archaeological site with LiDAR. This expedition was meant to supplement research conducted under John Rick at Stanford University. The data produced in this expedition, currently hosted by CyArk, became a foundation for executing a conservation plan for the site. The venture was funded jointly by Stanford University and the Kacyra Family Foundation. With changing and more intensive El Niño weather patterns, Chavín has been under risk of flood erosion.  In 2017 CyArk returned to Chavín to document the site’s canals and the adjoining river bed to assist ongoing conservation efforts. LIDAR and photogrammetic documentation was completed over the principal structures.

Panoramic image from within Circular Plaza at Chavín de Huántar.

Introducing Chavín de Huántar 
Chavín de Huántar is a major pre-Inca ceremonial site in the Peruvian Andes. Its strategic position between the eastern and western Andean highlands on an access route to the amazonian jungle allowed the site to amass influence and it is believed to be the center of what archaeologists call the Chavin civilization. The site was first inhabited around 1500 BCE. It has massive temple structures with significant subterranean cave-like galleries, pyramidal platforms, courts, and sunken plazas. Recent research has shown that the subterranean galleries may have been used to project large sounds, like those that could be obtained from the numerous elaborately carved conch shells found onsite. The effect undoubtedly would have created a mystical experience for the pilgrims and travelers visiting the site. 
The Lanzón Gallery
The Lanzón Gallery, located in the center of Building B of the Old Temple, is a subterranean intersection of several galleries, which features a 15 foot notched wedge-shaped stele of white granite depicting the supernatural being of Lanzón. The Lanzón was the central cult object of the Old Temple at Chavin. Lanzón is also called the “smiling god” and has been associated with trade, fertility, dualism and humankind's interaction with nature. The carved stele depicts Lanzón as a standing human-feline hybrid figure with large eyes, a large mouth baring its teeth, and hands and feet with long claws. Snakes adorn its hair and eyebrows. Gazing upward, the figure has one raised hand and one extended down, as if connecting the heavens and earth.

Summary of Data Captured

This project resulted in the following data which is now freely available for non-commercial use.

Areas with LiDAR documentation are indicated in grey. Areas with photogrammetry are indicated in yellow.

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Credits: Story

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This project was made possible through the following partners:

Stanford University

University of California, Berkeley

Instituto Nacional de Cultura, Peru

Kacyra Family Foundation

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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