First, the good news: A major archeological find has been discovered in the north of Peru. A ceremonial mound or temple that's thought to date back some 3,200 years, the site also contains a mural with a vaguely visible image of a giant spider and, for reasons yet unknown, a spoon. Cool, right?

This is a story that comes, however, with a caveat, because unfortunately, the precious, pre-Hispanic structure is partially destroyed — and not just due to the passage of time.

The problem, it turns out, is that the find was first unearthed, inadvertently, by local laborers looking to extend the cropland where the ancient huaca (burial site) is located, smack dab in the middle of what's now an avocado grove, on one side, and a sugarcane field on the other, the Peruvian news agency Andina reports.

Archeologist Régulo Franco looking at the partially destroyed mural — Photo: Regulo Franco

Using heavy machinery, the workers caused extensive damage to the site before realizing, finally, that they'd stumbled across something really quite remarkable.

Better late than never, the discovery is now, finally, being protected. Archeologists attribute the remains to the early phases of the Cupisnique culture, which flourished between 1,500 and 500 BC, according to daily La República. The structure may have been a temple to local water deities.

The Cupisnique culture belonged to Peru's Initial or Formative Period (1,800 to 200 BC) with sites in Virú and the Lambayeque region. Feren Castillo, a lecturer at the Trujillo National University, cites this as one of 400 such sites that farmers or land grabbers have spoiled or vandalized.


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