Thirteen Towers.


Photo: Ivan Ghezzi

The mystery of the Thirteen Towers of Chankillo has been solved completely:

A line of 13 stone towers discovered on a hillside in Peru forms part of an ancient solar observatory that had a major role in society centuries before the Incas, scientists say.

The 2300-year-old site, the oldest in the Americas, points to a sophisticated culture that used the dramatic alignment of the Sun and the structures for political and ceremonial effects, the researchers write today in the journal Science.

The site, called the Thirteen Towers of Chankillo, precisely spans the annual rising and setting arcs of the Sun when viewed from two specially constructed observation points.

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