What was Chavin civilization known for?


The Chavin civilization was known for its numerous achievements in metallurgy and engineering. Their pieces of art and crafts are believed to be the first examples of works, which had specific features and could be easily recognized. The most remarkable architectural structures of the Chavin civilization include the unique temples and monuments.


The Chavin civilization has an essential place in ancient world history. It was located in the Mosna valley on the north of the Andes and existed between 900 and 250 BCE.

The principal settlement of the Chavin civilization was called Chavin de Huantar. In the center of it, there were two religious sites known as The Old Temple and The New Temple. The most distinctive feature of these temples is in the knowledge that ancient construction workers used to build them. They created a drainage system under the buildings so that they are safe during the rainy season.

The location of these religious structures right in the middle of the city represents the idea of gods’ power over citizens and political influence. The New Temple stays next to the Old one because it was not big enough for all the citizens who came there for rituals. The two temples were the sites for gatherings and religious events.

Inside the temples, there were various sculptures made of stone, which represented people and animals. These sculptures reflected the main religious concepts of the people in the Chavin civilization. Their beliefs show the idea of the transformation of Shamans between humans and animals. In the very center of the Old Temple, there was an enormous stone, which represented their God named Lanzón. The main monument of the New Temple is Tello Obelisk with carvings, which represent the story of the world creation. The Chavin people also depicted the scenes of rituals held in their temples.

The social structure of the Chavin people was unclear. The only thing known to scholars is that there were two social classes there. The highest one was the Shamans and the people closest to God. The lowest social one consisted of ordinary workers who helped to build the temples and other structures.

The art of the Chavin civilization is vital for researchers of ancient cultures. The Chavin people had no writing system, and their pieces of art are the only things, which represent their lifestyle. For example, the potteries and ceramics they made had some decorations of animals, such as snakes and felines, which could be found only in other regions. It proves the fact that they had relationships with other ancient tribes. The second biggest theme for their works was religion, which are the few sources of information about their beliefs. The other examples of the Chavin artworks are shells as an example of ancient jewelry, wooden bowls, and masks.

The main occupations of the Chavin citizens were metal works, pottery, and making beads. Other people could have helped to maintain the temples and implement their ideas on how to make them better and bigger. Being the first people along the coast to domesticate wild animals such as llama, they were good farmers as well.

The main economic activities of the Chavin people included goldwork, metalwork, and soldering. They also traded the meat and fur of domesticated animals and grew food crops of potatoes, quinoa, and maize.
The influence of the Chavin culture and their knowledge had spread to other ancient tribes of the Peruvian Andes.

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