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Kotosh is an archaeological site near Huánuco (Peru) containing a series of buildings with six periods of continuous occupation, dating from the Late Archaic to the Early Intermediate Period. The site gave name to the Kotosh Religious Tradition, which existed in Peru in 2300—1200 BCE, i.e. in the Late Archaic period. Kotosh people cultivated crops, used marine resources, built permanent settlements and multistoreyed ceremonial buildings.[1]

Kotosh also contains artifacts of later origin, mostly belonging to Chavín culture.[2]


Three cultural phases which preceded the Chavin culture were identified at Kotosh,

  1. Kotosh
  2. Wairajirca
  3. Mito[3]

Kotosh Period[edit]

The Kotosh Period culture stratum was situated directly beneath the Chavin culture stratum.

At this stage, maize cultivation has appeared.[4]

Some Kotosh elements show links with the Chavin culture, for example; stirrup spouts, plain rocker stampings, and curvilinear ceramic designs. There are also similarities in black paint on red ceramics. Kotosh Black Polished Incised pottery is similar to Classical Chavin pottery.[5]

Wairajirca Period[edit]

This is when the first pottery appeared. Wayrajirca pottery was originally found at its type site Wayrajirca, and it is also known from elsewhere in the northern highlands.

It is characterized by the polished brown and black styles decorated with incisions and post-firing paint, the designs are simple and geometric; anthropomorphic figures be added at later periods.

The Kotosh Period strongly maintained the traditions of the preceding Wairajirca Period, including the ceramic tradition.

Mito period[edit]

Terracota "Crossed arms" from Kotosh, 1800 BC

This was the earliest identified cultural period, which was preceramic, during this period, The Temple of the Crossed Hands was first built. The image of crossed arms is characteristic for the Kotosh temple iconography.[6][7]

Some Lauricocha culture stone tools were found in this period.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kotosh archaeology.about.com
  2. ^ Kotosh britannica.com
  3. ^ Seiichi IZUMI, Pedro J. CUCULIZA, Chiaki KANO, INTRODUCTION, Bulletin No.3: EXCAVATIONS AT SHILLACOTO, HUANUCO, PERU. Archived 2003-01-13 at the Wayback Machine. The University Museum, University of Tokyo, 1972
  4. ^ Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology: Kotosh Springer Science & Business Media, 2000 ISBN 1475751338
  5. ^ Izumi and Sono, 1963, p. 155
  6. ^ Templo de las Manos Cruzadas de Kotosh (Spanish)
  7. ^ Huanuco tourism (Spanish)


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 9°55′51″S 76°16′46″W / 9.93083°S 76.27944°W / -9.93083; -76.27944