Only 6km from Huánuco along the La Unión road, the fascinating, though poorly maintained, TEMPLE OF KOTOSH lies in ruins on the banks of the Río Tingo. At more than 4000 years old, this site predates the Chavín era by more than a thousand years. A more or less permanent settlement existed here throughout the Chavín era (though without the monumental masonry and sculpture of that period) and Inca occupation, right up to the Conquest. The most remarkable feature of the Kotosh complex is the crossed-hands symbol carved prominently onto a stone – the gracefully executed insignia of a very early culture about which archeologists know next to nothing – which now lies in the Museo de Arqueología in Lima. The site today consists of three sacred stone-built enclosures in generally poor condition; but with a little imagination and/or a good local guide, it is both atmospheric and fascinating to explore one of the most ancient temple sites in Peru.

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