cave robot

Remote control robots discover ancient tunnels in Peru

Image credit: PERUVIAN MINISTRY OF CULTURE

Robots equipped with cameras have helped archaeologists discover three underground passageways that contain ancient tools and human remains.

The archaeological site at the Chavin de Huantar temple in the region of Ancash contains ruins and artefacts whose construction predates 1200 BC and was occupied by later cultures until around 400-500 BC.

It was named after the Chavin people who grew crops in Peru’s central Andes more than 2,000 years ago.

Occupation at the site has been carbon dated to at least 3000 BC and it served as a gathering place for people of the region to come together and worship, giving historians clues about how ancient people lived.

The small, camera-carrying robots are remote-controlled all-terrain vehicles with lights and cameras.

They were designed by engineers at the University of Stanford and helped explore narrow passageways at the ancient site, the Peruvian culture ministry said.

One of the passageways contained the remains of three people, including one who appears to have been sacrificed, John Rick, an archaeologist with the University of Stanford, told journalists at Chavin de Huantar on Monday.

Chavin de Huantar was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. So far 35 interconnected underground passageways have been found at the site, Peru’s culture ministry said.

In 2013 archaeologists used drones to survey ancient Peruvian sites and create 3D maps. 

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